Each year, Calgary Public Library employees round up their white elephants and hold a silent auction whose proceeds are donated to charity. In fact, there’s more to bid on than just white elephants. There are Christmas crafts, hand-knit scarves, baked goods, electronics, and a variety of other items. This year, we collectively raised and donated over $3000 to Calgary's Inn from the Cold.
In a similar vein, the staff in Central Library’s Business, Sciences and Social Sciences department holds an annual white elephant lottery. Staff purchase tickets and place them in envelopes assigned to each elephant. The more tickets you buy, the better your chances of winning the item – but it’s still a draw, so things are tense! As a department, we raised $200 and donated that to Inn from the Cold, too.
Prior to the lottery, as I rooted through my home, searching for perfectly good but unused items, I found myself thinking Who’s going to want my set of only 3, slightly inelegant wineglasses? But sure enough, someone did. And as I lugged my own not-quite-new treasure home, I thought Who would ever part with a totally wicked turtle lamp (with glowing shell!)?
If you don’t use it, need it or love it, then give someone else the chance. White elephant sales are a festive and fun way to support a cause or charity of your choice. They’re also an opportunity to reuse and reduce, and to avoid the chaos of holiday-season shopping malls.
Hope you had a great Christmas holiday!