For our Christmas 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. This year’s theme was “Vegas, Baby.” So our story is a never-before-revealed true story (not) of how the Rat Back kept Santa from losing it all.
Here is how it works:
Everyone gets their gift and forms a big circle in the middle of the room. Someone with a strong voice reads the story, and every time the word LEFT is read, everyone passes the package they have to the left. Every time the world 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.
You can find previous years stories here
– Vegas Christmas (2019)
– Hollywood Golden Age Christmas (2018)
– Elf Family Christmas (2017)
– Western Christmas (2016)
– Star Wars Christmas (2015)
– Fairy Tale Christmas (2014)
– Science Fiction Christmas (2013)
– Romance Christmas (2012)
– Film Noir Christmas (2011)
How the Chairman of the Board Saved Christmas
Let me tell you, young people, a story. I got lots of stories. But RIGHT now, I want to tell a story about the night in Vegas when Frank Sinatra saved Christmas.
I was RIGHT there. 1958. Working as a dealer in the casino at the Sands. Back then, the Sands was RIGHT in the middle of everything. It’s where the high-roller came, and the best entertainers in the world performed RIGHT there on the stage in the showroom.
That night, morning really, most everyone had LEFT. The Rat Pack, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Junior, and Frank Sinatra had performed a great show. I caught it from the service door LEFT of the stage. But RIGHT after it finished, most people LEFT, going to other casinos or back to their hotels. After grabbing drinks and some steaks in the restaurant, Sammy, Dean, and Frank decided to gamble. And that is when it happened.
My poker table was on the RIGHT side of the room. I was LEFT speechless when all three of my idols walked in, looked RIGHT, looked LEFT, and then sat… down at my table. After a few seconds, Dean asked, “You all RIGHT, kid? You look kind of pale, like you seen a ghost or some’ting.” Frank added, “Yah kid, your jaw is hanging down RIGHT on the table. Pull it closed and deal us a hand.”
And with that, I starting dealing the most exciting evening of poker in my life.
The three icons, sitting RIGHT in front of me, played for about an hour. A small crowd started gathering, and soon there was no room LEFT around my table. It was magical. I tell you, those guys sure could sing. But they were also funny as hell. The way they ribbed each other. It LEFT me in tears.
About an hour in, things went from strange to surreal. A large tall man was pushing people to the LEFT and to the RIGHT as he made his way to the table. He had long white hair and a long white beard that covered his ample belly. He came up and sat RIGHT next to Sammy, on his LEFT. Sammy looked at his cards and then to his LEFT and said. “Hey, you. I promise I’ve been nice this year. These other two, there is no nice LEFT in them. Definitely need to be on your naughty list.”
The old man laughed and winked at all three men. I heard Dean say, as he sipped from his whiskey glass, “Santa, how’s tricks. Don’t you have any gift wrapping LEFT to do? ”
It was Santa Clause. At my table, from LEFT to RIGHT, I had Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Junior, and RIGHT at the end, Santa Clause. Only in Vegas.
I won’t bore you with details. I’ll just jump RIGHT to the end. They played poker for ninety-minute or so, and Santa was losing badly. When he had no chips LEFT, he bet the gold watch he kept in his RIGHT hip pocket. When he lost that he reached into the inside RIGHT pocket of jacket and put a piece of paper on the table, saying, “This is all I got LEFT, boys.”
Across the top of the paper, I could read “Deed, North Pole Christmas Factory.”
Sammy blinked and said, “Man, Santa, Man, that ain’t so cool. If one of us wins RIGHT now, what are we gonna do with the north pole? Dean here is too fat to fit in a chimney, and Frank is too stingy to hand out gifts. Man, take it RIGHT back.”
Santa shook his head. “No boys, I’m betting the figurative farm. My hand is that good. I’m LEFT with no choice.”
Dean and Sammy folded, but Frank stayed in. Pushing his chips RIGHT into the middle of the table. “One card LEFT Santa.” Frank said, “And the fate of Christmas is decided. You win, you have enough money to buy a new, bigger sled for that fat ass of yours to fit into. You lose, and RIGHT here, RIGHT now, I become the big guy, and I run Christmas.”
I dealt the last cards.
Frank looked at his and winked RIGHT at me. I still remember that wink and his blue-blue eyes. He muttered a cuss word, hit Sammy in the back of the head, and tossed his cards in. “I fold.” He said.
Santa took the chips and the deed and LEFT without a word. No ho ho ho. No jolly. He just LEFT. So did the Rat pack, slapping each other on the back and headed to their next adventure. Frank must have LEFT forty thousand dollars in chips in that pot. What a guy.
When they were all gone, you know what I did? I flipped those cards RIGHT over. First Santa, on my RIGHT. Three duces and to the RIGHT of those an Ace and a King. Frank’s hand? Your RIGHT to ask me what is in Frank’s hand. RIGHT there in front of his chair, I saw all hearts, Ten- Jack-Queen-King and yes, Ace. He had folded with a royal flush and LEFT his money for Santa to take.
That night in Vegas, RIGHT there at the Sands Hotel. Frank Sinatra sang, he drank, he played poker, and he paid forty-thousand dollars to save Christmas. There are not a lot of people LEFT like Frank. Guys that have the world RIGHT there in their hands. And when they are LEFT with making a call about giving something up and doing what is RIGHT. They decide to do what is RIGHT.
Thanks, Frank. Thank you for doing it your way.