19th Dec 2016 / Demiurge Studios Team 23

Yes, however much we may fight it, the holidays are here again, and with them, the time-honored traditions of barbecue, silly hats, and the ruthless theft of those randomly chosen gifts we hold most dear.

For the 13th year (number made up) of Demiurge's holiday BBQ lunch and Yankee Swap, the usual suspects made their appearance: delicious cornbread, cheap-ass presents, and a metric whacke of leftover salad.

The food, from Blue Ribbon Barbecue, was excellent as always, and there was more of it than we could possibly fit into our faces. And the game room was more full this year than it ever has been, as our numbers tipped the scales (and our allotment of office chairs) at 46 people. We couldn't fit everyone into one photograph. Also, we needed to barricade certain doors in order to maintain crowd control for the lunch line.

This year, thankfully, we were spared the Great Pickle Ornament fiasco, and, perhaps purely through pre-Swap snarky email discussion, managed also to evade the dreaded Screaming Slingshot Monkey. However, we did manage some pickle-flavored candy canes, and while Chewbacca isn't exactly a monkey, the super-soft pillow-friend version of him was quite the hot item, changing hands only slightly less frequently than the coveted Art of Atari book.

Of course not everyone was thrilled...the exclamation that accompanied this moment, once Kevin had finally freed the thing from its particularly stubborn and environmentally friendly wrapping, was, and I quote: "Augh, it's a book!" 

All was well, however. After all, there were definitely worse gifts. You too can throw a Dr. Strange-themed dinner party! (Also pictured, right: giant bag of gummy bears, which, arguably, better gift, guys.)

And the Lego (ahem excuse me coughno) Skeletor...thingy, which cared enough to pay the licensing to Masters of the Universe, but not to Lego. So, not Lego. Definitely not Lego. (Chris' skeptical face kind of says it all. Well, everything that the crappy Skeletor face isn't saying.)

Predictably, Bart used his unerring sense for these things to zero in on the present that was clearly intended for him; it seemed nearly to leap from its wrapping in anticipation. (Pictured: Bart, approximately 7.3 seconds before someone stole this.)

As is also tradition among us, at the end of the Swap, anyone who had gotten stuck with a particularly crappy gift can make a pitch to pick a new one. There were several of these, but no gift had quite the level of craptitude than the one Kabir ended up with: the Inflatable Turkey! Also, secretly: this was kind of the best gift, too. (Kabir's pitch to get out of it: "...I'm vegan?!")

Makes a beautiful holiday centerpiece.

All in all, though...a good time, and a good haul. It's amazing what you can find for $11 (adjusted for inflation). Here's hoping you and yours get as much joy out of your holidays, whatever they may be, as Jimmy got out of this T-Rex. I mean, just look at 'im.



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