Larceny at the Christmas Party

Larceny at the Christmas Party
So then…she offers me a tray of hors d’oeuvres – little warm puff pastries of cheesy-mushroom goodness. I pop a puff and say, “Wow – what a great Christmas party, Angie. Your home is so beautifully decorated — and the food is delicious!”

It’s a genuine “grown-up” holiday party with Christmas carols playing in the background while we enjoy a dinner buffet, eggnog, and decorated Christmas cookies.

(I’m in my 20’s — so most of the parties I attend are just booze-soaked excuses for people to hook up – the biggest nod to the Christmas spirit might be stacking the red Solo cups next to the green Heineken bottles.)

Angie smiles and says, “Thank you. I’m so glad you guys could make it! I’ve heard a lot about you from Matt.”

She points to her husband Matt who’s at the bar with my boyfriend, so we wave.

Then Carla and Ed, the couple who drove with us to the party, join us in the living room.

Angie juggles her tray to give them a one-armed hug since they’ve known each other from back in New York.

Carla says, “Angie, the decorations are great! And this tree is amazing!”

We turn to gaze at the beautiful Christmas ornaments tucked into the branches amongst the twinkly lights. It really is gorgeous.

We all chat a bit, then Angie says she needs to return to the kitchen for more appetizers.

As soon as her back is turned, Ed plucks a snowman ornament from the tree and slips it in his pocket!

Just then Angie turns back around to ask if we want more wine. I’m so surprised, I can’t speak but Ed casually says, “No thanks, we’re good.”

When Angie turns her back again, Ed pulls out the snowman and tosses it to Carla who scoops it up and slips it into her purse!

I look to the left and look to the right – but the other partygoers haven’t seen the ornament hurtling through the air, so they just keep right on talking, laughing, and drinking.

I don’t know Carla and Ed very well, but I’m the only witness, so I feel compelled to hiss, “What the hell?”

Ed says nonchalantly, “Oh, it’s a tradition.”

Carla nods.

I say, “What’s a tradition? Stealing an ornament is a tradition?”

Carla says, “Yeah. We do it at every Christmas party we attend.”

I furrow my brow. “Are you serious? You steal ornaments at every Christmas party you attend?”

Ed says, “Just one ornament.”

Carla shoots Ed a look like I’m the crazy one. “Yeah, just one ornament per party. Jeesh, Darcy.”

I sputter, “But, but, but…isn’t that wrong?”

My Catholic school-trained brain is about to overload. A) This is stealing. And B) This is stealing a decoration celebrating Jesus’ birthday! And C) THIS IS STEALING!

Carla waves her hand dismissively. “Oh, they’ll never miss it. Look how many ornaments they have! It’s just one little one.”

Oh My God, I’m pretty sure this is the same rationalization for heinous crimes perpetrated against humanity the world over.

“But what if it’s a special one – or they realize it’s missing?” I ask.

Ed says, “By the time people put their decorations away, they can’t remember every ornament.”

Carla concurs. “And besides, we never take a special one – like something personalized – like Baby’s First Christmas with the date on it — or like a touristy one from a vacation spot or something.”

Ed chimes in, “And we don’t take ones that look antique. We just take normal stuff like elves, Santas, angels, candy canes, penguins—”

Carla laughs, “Penguins! Oh my God, we have tons of penguins!”

Ed nods, sips his beer, and chuckles – “Tons of penguins!”

“What do you do with the ornaments?” I ask.

“Oh, we take them home and put them on our tree. We have quite a collection. Some really cool stuff. We’ve been doing this for years,” he says.

“Yeah,” says Carla, looking at Ed fondly. “Ever since we started dating.”

He smiles back at her. In their minds, this is simply a sweet little holiday tradition that they share.

To me, it borders on sacrilege! Their Christmas tree is laden with the profit of their sins! They’ve plundered the goodwill of their friends and neighbors to beautify their own home!

I ask, “But what happens when some of those people come to your house for a Christmas party? Won’t they see their ornaments on your tree and recognize them?!”

They look at me with bewilderment.

“Oh, we’d never have a party at our house,” says Carla.

“Yeah,” says Ed. “Someone might steal something.”

– Darcy Perdu



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(Unlike Carla and Ed’s sacrilegious thievery — MY holiday traditions include cookies and milk for Santa who writes only in BLOCK letters and opening one gift on Christmas Eve. What are some of YOUR Christmas traditions or funny holiday memories? Ever witnessed any larceny or questionable behavior around the holidays?  Share them in the Comments Section!)
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18 replies on “Larceny at the Christmas Party

  1. Ingrid said:

    Holiday Traditions — A young friend in Texas mentioned that as an adult she missed her parents shaking jingle bells as they clomped across the roof to announce the arrival Santa and his reindeer. When I grew up, on Christmas morning there were snow foot prints (made by my Dad with flour on his garden boots) on our dark green carpet leading from the fireplace to a little table that held an empty milk glass and cookie crumbs. I only realized recently that it didn’t snow where I lived – I always thought snow just came with Christmas, where ever you lived.

  2. secret said:

    My main Christmas tradition is stopping my (adult!) sister – and thus all her children – from opening their presents on Christmas Eve!

    • ha! Growing up, we loved going to Midnight Mass so that we could open our gifts as soon as we got home instead of waiting til Christmas morning!

  3. Alison said:

    This isn’t a funny holiday memory, but it’s a funny memory that’s actually very similar to your story. I was on a bus tour of Scotland several years ago. Two of the women in the tour group were friends in their maybe late 40s-early 50s who traveled together quite often. I was having dinner with them one night in our hotel (it was a tour where everyone ate together at breakfast and dinner and the price of the meals was included in the tour price) and when one of the ladies got up to go to the restroom or something, her friend took a silver teaspoon (actually used for tea!) from one of the place settings, handed it to me, and said “Quick, put this in your purse before she comes back!” I was taken aback and asked her what she was talking about. It turned out that Friend A had decided to give Friend B a gift when they got home, to remember the tour. The gift was–wait for it–a teaspoon from every hotel we stayed in (and every other restaurant they ate in.) I did the same thing you did–looked shocked and said it was stealing, at which point the woman said, “Oh, they take into account the fact that people are going to take the silverware when they set the prices for the meals.” Wow. Like, wow. And the thing was, I had a purse with me that evening and she didn’t, I guess, and the other woman was coming back from the bathroom, and I was so stunned that I stuck the thing in my purse! As soon as I could (like two minutes later), I gave it back to the woman, with a disapproving look.

    I hope I haven’t just implicated myself in some international conspiracy!

    • Thanks for the great story, Alison — I’m glad you share my shock at such blatant thievery. I was only a witness, but it sounds like maybe you were…an accomplice! I hope Interpol isn’t trolling this website for accidental confessions of Grand Larceny, Scotland-Style!

  4. Judy said:

    I had to laugh that Ed and Carla wouldn’t invite people over because someone might steal something. I was at a party like the ones you used to go with the festive green bottles and red cups — where the knobs off the oven were stolen, which caused a ruckus for a few minutes and then it was back to partying. Later it was discovered that some prankster had been taking things and hiding them all night. The hiding places included girls’ purses and guys’ jackets, as well as just putting things in odd places. The missing oven knobs is what I remember most about that party. That and checking my purse later to see what objects I may have unknowingly taken home with me.

  5. Kristin the farmer said:

    Haha! I once stole a salt and pepper shaker,steak knives,and small bowls from Texas Roadhouse. Not all at once though! My purse wasn’t big enough! Best knives I ever had!

    • Girl, get yourself a bigger purse! You’ll need a set of plates too! Ha!

  6. My husband and my favorite ornaments are simple, wooden ones from our childhoods. They don’t look like “special” ones, but I would crack skulls if a guest stole one. Those two are on the naughty list for sure!

    • I agree! Take my cash before you take my ornaments!!

  7. “Tons of penguins!”
    I read this post this morning and I keep laughing about it! What a fun (and naughty) inside joke!! Love it!

  8. Good Lord, that’s all people do around Christmas time is steal! What’s up with that? We get a lot of calls to grocery stores for people trying to steal liquor. “I spent all my money on gifts, officer so I gots to steals to gets drunk!” Oh, well that makes sense I guess. Geez! You’re in your 20’s by the way? Unrelated, I hate you a little bit. Lol.
    donofalltrades recently posted..Christmas lies just around the bend…My Profile

  9. HOLY CRAP! They stole. They stole on Jesus’s birthday. That is just wrong on so many levels. Don’t they know they just got the fast pass to hell, forgoing purgatory.

    And you thought grown up parties were boring.
    Kerri @ Undiagnosed but Okay recently posted..I hate the ElfMy Profile

    • And I love your reference to purgatory, the “waiting room” where we atone for our sins before admittance to heaven! These people won’t even be allowed in purgatory!! :o)