If your office party includes a “Chinese” auction gift exchange (no Chinese people are actually auctioned or otherwise harmed in this process), I have the perfect recommendation.

I know how these things go, having participated in a “Chinese” auction or two (where I learned about the Chinese-people-not-up-for-bid thing). Some people bring the gag gifts. Some people bring things they would like, but you wouldn’t be caught dead using/wearing/owning. And some people get in on some awesome sale, like 90 percent off at the local Herberger’s store, and give a gift that makes everyone who doesn’t get the chance to steal it envious and everyone who brought a traditional tacky gift feel like a heel. Ah, Christmas.

I am not a smart shopper, and I’m morally against paying money for cheesy crap.

So that left me, about four hours before the party (my version of planning ahead), sitting in the car with John waiting for a burger in the drive-through line wondering what to bring to the party that would be fun and not contribute to the piles of useless, lame regiftables in anyone’s home.

Since our next stop was the local custom smoked-meats shop, it occurred to us that we should get some of their premium bacon for a gift. Yes, bacon.

And some of you might be wondering why I didn’t at least get some thuringer or summer sausage that people could serve at a holiday party with cheese and crackers. And you’re right, that’s a grand idea. Practical, with a touch of elegance (in a hick-relevant kind of way, y’know).

My only argument is this: If you picture yourself in a room full of your colleagues (in their various states of polite discomfort and deteriorating sobriety), unwrapping a package and then holding in your hand a lovely tube of thuringer for the holidays — then you picture the same scene (complete with several layers of ice cream bag “wrapping paper”) and wind up with a slab of bacon in your hands, which one is going to make you laugh?

I rest my case.

And the post-party consensus: Well played, funny girl, well played. Of course, it certainly helped that the boss, transplanted here in Hicksville from an alternate socio-economic universe in the SoCal vector, wound up choosing said bacon. Some moments make the pain of social interaction worthwhile, priceless even.

Bacon, it’s what’s for Christmas at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com