Christmas Right Left Gift Exchange: Picnic Panic


For our Holiday parties at PADT, we generally have over 50 employees, so a traditional Secret Santa gift exchange takes too long. At some point, we downloaded a right-left gift exchange story from the internet, and it was a big hit. When we ran out of stories on the internet, we started writing our own, usually in some sort of over-the-top style that fits the theme of our holiday party.

How Does The Gift Exchange Work?

Everyone gets the gift they brought and forms a big circle in the middle of the room.  Someone with a strong voice (or a microphone) reads the story, and every time the word LEFT is read, everyone passes the package they have to the left. Every time the word RIGHT is read, everyone passes the package they have to their right.  You should pause a bit at each LEFT/RIGHT to give people a chance to pass. Once the story is over, you end up with the gift you are holding.

You Can Find Previous Gift Exchange Stories Here:

These stories are for everyone’s use, free, and with no strings attached. So please copy and paste the text into your word processor and enjoy. And if it all goes well, please share a picture with us at

After missing two years for COVID-19, we opted for a family picnic for PADT’s 2022 Holiday party. So, this year’s story is about a story I once heard while at a convention about a picnic that almost went very wrong.

Picnic Panic

Gather around people, and let me tell you a story about the holiday spirit. Now I don’t know if this is true, and if you LEFT me to think about it a while, I might find a hole or two in what I was told. But RIGHT now, let’s assume it happened.

I was told this story at an Aerospace convention in the bar. This guy sat down on the stool to the RIGHT of me and said, “How has the convention been for you? Oh, and I’m Roger RIGHTingford, by the way.”

I turned my head… to… look at him and could not stop staring RIGHT into his face. He had a giant red scar that ran down the LEFT side of his face, RIGHT across his LEFT eye, which was milky white.

I stammered out, “Good so far. My presentation on advanced face scars was well attended… I mean, my talk on advanced analysis methods. Sorry.”

He laughed and patted me on my RIGHT shoulder. “It’s OK. Everyone is a bit shocked by the mark that Santa LEFT on my face.”

“Santa?” I asked.

Yes, the jolly old man himself LEFT this scar, but before you jump to the wrong conclusion, he did the RIGHT thing.”

He leaned forward on his RIGHT elbow, and started to tell his story.

So, you see, I went on a picnic with my wife on Christmas eve day. Up in the mountains RIGHT on the east side of Phoenix. The Estrella Mountains. We LEFT our car in the parking lot and walked about two miles up a trial. My wife, LEFTetia… yes, her name is LEFTicia RIGHTingford… was with me. We made it to this ridge and sat RIGHT on top of a big rock. To the RIGHT of us were the White Tank mountains, and to… the other side, was the rest of the Estrellas and the open desert.

Well, we sat RIGHT there on that rock and pulled out our picnic. I spread a blanket, and she sat on the LEFT side, which of course, LEFT me the … other… side to sit on. We had sandwiches and wine and some LEFTover cookies for dessert. When there was no food LEFT, we laid down and took a nap.

I don’t know how long we slept, but I tell you, when we heard that sound, it woke us both, and we sat bolt upRIGHT in a second. It was the sound of a big cat. A roar (make a roaring sound). Slowly, I turned my head to the RIGHT where the noise came from, and there, on a boulder RIGHT above us, was a huge mountain lion. And the way it looked at us, it LEFT no doubt in my mind that it was hungry.

I don’t know if you have been in a situation like that before, but I was LEFT speechless, and it LEFT me paralyzed. RIGHT then and there I thought I was going to die, RIGHT next to my wife. The mountain lion moved it’s RIGHT paw forward, then its LEFT. It crept forward until it was RIGHT on the edge of the boulder. 

The beast let out a huge roar (make a roaring sound), and we both thought we were done. But RIGHT when it leaned back on its haunches to jump, I heard the sound of sleigh bells. And then I heard “Ho Ho Ho!” and when I turned to look, there was no doubt LEFT in my mind, it was Santa Clause and all his reindeer. And he was coming RIGHT at us at full speed. Now, if I had been sensible, I would have ducked, but I was so shocked I was LEFT with no common sense. So I just sat there and watched as the reindeer pulled up, RIGHT over my head, and slingshot the side of Santa’s sleigh RIGHT into that mountain lion. The sled skids hit it RIGHT in the head and sent it RIGHT off that boulder and RIGHT down the side of the mountain.

The problem was that because I didn’t duck, that same skid, which I found out the hard way, is razor sharp, cut RIGHT across my face, and LEFT this scar.

Santa didn’t come back or say a word. He just looked over his LEFT shoulder and waved with his RIGHT hand, and declared, “What a naughty Mountain Lion. Merry Christmas!”

So on that day, maybe twenty years ago, Santa LEFT us on that boulder, and he LEFT me bleeding all over my shirt and pants from the scar he LEFT me. But he also LEFT us with an important lesson. That he is always watching, always there to help. So even when we are not RIGHT in the middle of the holiday season, I’m reminded of what Santa can do.

And with that, he paid for his drink and LEFT the bar. But at the exit, he turned back to me, and I swear to this day I heard sleigh bells RIGHT then,  and he winked with that wonky LEFT eye and said Merry Christmas to You and a Happy New Year.


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