You weren’t supposed to say that getting presents was the best part of Christmas, but like, it wasn’t not the best part of Christmas. And if RMI was having an event that involved presents, Elliot was sure as shit signing up.
And participating in Secret Santa, as the name implied, was kind of like being a secret agent. You had to try and figure out what your person would want without anyone figuring out that that was the reason you needed to know. Elliot had taken his detective work very seriously, and after some thought had picked out an awesome present from one of the shops on Pearl Street. According to the rumor mill, some people were DIYing their gifts, but Elliot was very familiar with his own crafting skills (the Phippens kept their Floo powder in a lopsided ceramic bowl he’d made in elementary school and it was a tragedy in clay) and he didn’t want to give his Secret Santa recipient something crappy. How mortifying it would be to have to watch them open a paper mache mask you’d struggled to make? No thanks.
He was on his way to deliver the gift and debating saying “Ho ho ho” when he got there (it was Santa-y but some of the kids at RMI were not great at English, like Joey, and there might be some confusion that he was calling them a ho) when Darlene Knight, the ridiculously gorgeous sixth year, approached him.
The gift she handed him was perfectly wrapped, which was only a little alarming. Elliot didn’t have “wrapping paper” because he was fourteen, and he didn’t want to buy wrapping paper or a fancy bag or a bow with his own money (he was saving up for new PlayStation releases) and he’d already blown the two Galleon budget on the gift. So he’d wrapped his present in old Rocky Voices issues, which unfortunately meant that Jarrett and Joey’s dumb humor column ended up on top of the gift. Hopefully the recipient wouldn’t be too fussed about how the present was wrapped.
Relatedly, someone needed to invent a spell for present-wrapping, because Elliot’s looked like it had been wrapped by a blind gnome with a hook for a hand. He swore the box inside was rectangular, but the end product was decidedly lumpy and ball-like. Looking at the meticulously, glossily-wrapped package in Darlene Knight’s hands, he couldn’t help feeling ashamed of it.
“Thanks,” he said, tucking the shame lump under his elbow so he could accept the gift. He really wanted to know what was inside. “This is too pretty. Are you gonna be sad if I tear all the paper off like an animal?”