You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not shout. I'm telling you why: Secret Santas have come to town.
And Santees beware, for some Secret Santas refuse to settle for mundane gifts such as chocolate, alcohol or flowers. Not content with an under-the-door present, creative St. Nicks go for the public approach.
Melissa Glen '88 was eating dinner in Winthrop House on Saturday night when the male cast of Grease came over and picked up her chair. They carried her to the front of the dining hall, where someone dressed in a Victorian coat sang, "Melissa Ma Belle". The lead singer gave her a carnation, while the other guys kissed her.
"I've never turned that red in my life," says Glen.
The Winthrop dining house was also the scene for Matthew J. Kaufhold '86's present. Two women dressed in black sunglasses and short skirts placed a sign on Kaufhold that read "Sean Penn" to the tunes of Madonna.
On the more romantic side, Kristin K. Williams '89 received a red rose and a kiss from a "cute guy in a tux." Luke J. Fleckenstein '87 had dinner in Adams House with "the woman of [his] dreams." His Secret Santa also supplied a waiter, music by a live soprano in black dress and boa, and flaming liquor that Fleckenstein was forced to drink blindfolded.
For a more classical Secret Santa present, Janet Korins '88 was led to the Lowell House high table one night where she was fed grapes by a togaed elf. "I was embarrassed, but I though it was a riot," she says, adding that friends were snapping pictures.
They Know When You Are Sleeping
Quincy House's Jordan Fieldman '87 says that he might have missed out on one of his best presents. His roommate told him that a beautiful woman in a short red dress came to his door to give him a backrub. Fieldman was asleep, so his roommate didn't wake him. "I was made about that," he says.
But Fieldman says he felt better when his Secret Santa called "all the women in Lowell House and asked them to give me a big kiss." He says, "That's when I started to love Secret Santa."
"Mr. Funny," hot chocolate, and a reader appeared at Matthew Hong '86's South House room one night. Eleanor D. Clark '89 woke up one morning to find a baguette, pear and brie on her desk.
In Penny packer, Nancy M. Lutz '89 woke one morning to find her door wrapped in red paper, "the official one-of-a-kind Pennypacker door."
They Know When You're Awake
Lutz also received pennies taped together into the shape of a cane. "My Secret Santa called it the first penny pack from Pennypacker," she says.
Just in case one student in Evolutionary Biology had a tendency to drop off, his Secret Santa ascertained that for at least one lecture, be would be awake. She slipped a frame which read "Merry Christmas, Lewellyn" onto the projector and the whole class saw the result, according to Maizie Chan '88.
Lindsay Burns '87 of Eliot House had to think to find her Secret Santa present. Her Santa left her a note that told her to go to Widener and look up a book entitled "The Land of People of Hungary." Inside she found gift certificates for Haagen Dazs and David's Cookies.
In a move worthy of the most secretive Santa, Angela LaRosa '88 was kidnapped by two guys who came into her room one night and told her that some friends of hers bad been arrested by the police. When she went outside, they threw a pillow over her head, brought her to a car, and drove in a circle back to Kirkland House where they took her to "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." "I don't know what's going on," she says.
They Know When You've Been Bad
But not everywhere is Santa so well-intentioned. Wigglesworth G and H decided to hold The Most Tasteless Secret Santa contest. "Think gutter and phallic and you'll have the right idea," says David B. Bahr '89. "There were supposed to be prizes for the contest winners, but everyone was so good and so tasteless that I don't think any were given out."
As for the prizes, they gave--suffice it to say there were plenty of magazines and contraceptives, just the sort of thing a lecherous Santa would love.
"I'm going to kill my Secret Santa because he's incredibly rude and perverted," says Lori B. Rutter '89 of Lionel. Rutter received a "really sick book...that double entendre deal with complete with illustrations."
Over in Straus, two women received "some really wild lingerie," says Shawn B. Becker '89. "There were things that nobody knew how to wear."
As for one South House woman who badn't received any gifts from her real Secret Santa, St. Nick was watching out for her. Peter Seanlon '87 and Dennis Lewis '87 heard of her plight and decided to do something nice for her.
They got together a group to sing a song to her at the South House holiday dinner, and as they sang they acted the song out. As a final momento, they gave her a teddy bear.
However, they didn't bear her the bear. Karen Petrone '87 came into the Admas House Secret-Santa-revealing party and saw someone fall onto the floor, writhing and groaning. One of his friends dropped to the floor and assisted him in his "labor." Since Petrone was the husband, Douglas Fitch '82, an Adams House tutor and her Secret Santa, started blaming her for the pain.
When Fitch's labor was through, he had delivered a bouncing baby teddy. "I'm trying to decide if I should name it after his mother," says Petrone, experimenting with "Dougy Bear."
Karen L. Bell '87 found her Secret Santa to be the quintessential date. Although he did not take her to the Lowell House ball, he provided Bell--who had gone stag--with endless dance partners.
"About a quarter to eleven people started coming up to me and giving me tickets," says Bell. "There must have been 20 to 25 people." The tickets, which were each good for one dance with Bell, had been made on a Mac. "I wasn't planning on going to the unveiling party," says Bell.
Allison L. Jernow contributed to the reporting of this article.