Holiday Gift Giving in the Office

A few suggestions for giving holiday gifts in the office…

If you collectively agree to do a gift exchange, organize a White Elephant swap or Secret Santa event because buying a gift for everyone in the office is unrealistic and expensive.

White Elephant swap – set a dollar amount (we did $10) and have everyone bring in a WRAPPED gift for that amount. Put all of the gifts in the center of the room, and have all participants draw a number 1 through how ever many people brought gifts. The person with number one goes first, and selects any gift that he wants from the pile. He then opens the gift, and sets it in front of him. Then the person with number two can either choose a gift from the center pile, or “steal” the gift from person #1. Gifts can only be stolen three times before they are “dead,” and stuck with whoever has them at that point. If the gift was stolen from person #1, he would choose a new gift from the center, unwrap it, and place it in front of him, just as before. Person #1 could not immediately steal his original gift back from person #2, but if a steal occurs later in the game, the person from whom the gift was stolen would have the option to select a new gift from the center or steal from another person (again, cannot steal his original gift back). The cycle continues until all presents have been unwrapped. White Elephant swaps are a fun, easy, and affordable way to get everyone involved. If you have questions about the rules, leave us a comment at the bottom 🙂

Secret Santa – Set a dollar and time limit (last year we did $5 per day for 4 days). Have all participants fill out a form that lists their general likes/dislikes, candy/food preferences, interests, favorite coffee places, and any other information you think would be beneficial. Then fold up the forms, put them in a bowl, and have each person draw one (make sure you don’t draw your own name!). Designate a spot in the office as a “gift drop-off” – can be cubbies, lockers, last year we set up stockings to really get in the holiday spirit J Then you read over the form of the person you selected, and buy them a little happy for each day of Secret Santa. Sometimes it helps to have themed days – spa day (loofa and fun-smelling soap), movie day (funny movie from the $5 bin & popcorn), candy day (all their favorite candies). Have fun with it, be creative and make your own rules/modifications! The goal is to not let anyone know who you have for Secret Santa, and to figure out who has you. On the last day, have everyone come together and reveal who they had.

The key to office gift giving is to not make anyone feel pressured to participate. If it is all in good fun, then there should not be any issues. At Conexess, we love getting into the holiday spirit and have done both Secret Santa and a White Elephant Exchange. For our office, it seems to be easier to do a White Elephant Exchange because it is not as big of a time commitment. Every office environment is different, so do whatever works best for you and enjoy the holiday season!

^^Our successful White Elephant gift exchange^^

Surviving the Holiday Party Cycle

November 1st through January 2nd is a crazy time for everyone. It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t celebrate, that 2 month stretch is the busiest time of the social calendar year. A holiday cocktail party followed by a gingerbread house building competition, followed by an ugly sweater party, followed by a tree lighting ceremony, holiday parade, office party, dinner with friends, the list goes on and on. ‘Tis the season to be jolly…However, the endless barrage of events can be exhausting, expensive, time-consuming, and have the potential to turn you into a grinch. Let’s avoid that, shall we? Here’s how:

  • Don’t overcommit – You will undoubtedly receive invitations to parties/events that are on the same night. When that happens, PICK ONE! There is no need to be a crazy person and try to run around town to make appearances at multiple places in one evening. This tactic will keep you sane, and help you to be present at the party you choose to attend, rather than glancing at your watch every 5 minutes to make sure you’re on schedule.
  • Watch your <spiked> eggnog intake… – Holiday parties are fun on their own. The tacky sweaters, the gingerbread, the white elephant gift exchanges, the music, all combine to create a Winter Wonderland. While alcohol can definitely enhance an event, you absolutely do not want to be the employee who has one too many and tries to kiss your boss’ wife under the mistletoe. Enjoy, but keep it under control- you should know your limits by now.
  • “The Holiday 15” – Did you know that the average American gains between 10 and 15 pounds from October to January?? YIKES. Drinking wintery beverages and eating heavy food is to blame. And the fact that it gets dark at 5:00 does nothing for evening workout motivation. The weight gain can be avoided by consciously looking for healthy options at parties you attend. Eat the veggies and hummus instead of the double chocolate oreo truffles. OR go big and eat the truffles, just make sure you get to the gym the next day. Life is about moderation, people.
  • Budget, budget, budget – Post holiday credit card statements can cause shock induced panic, and reactions like “there is no WAY I spent that much.” The solution? Create a holiday budget well in advance, and stick to it! Buying gifts adds up quickly, and once you include the dinners, cocktail parties, and travel expenses, you might feel like you need to pull a Thelma & Louise just to breakeven. If you give yourself a budget with a little wiggle room, you’ll be able to avoid robbing a bank…otherwise known as being a responsible adult.
  • Keep it all in perspective – “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”…..right?? It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season; make sure to take the time to step back, take a deep breath, look around, and appreciate who you’re with. The most important part of the holiday season is spending time with loved ones, don’t let that be overshadowed by the busyness that goes hand-in-hand with this time of year.

This season, don’t let yourself be sucked into stress traps. Take our advice, and enjoy your time at holiday parties with friends and family 🙂 What are some of the ways that you avoid turning into Scrooge around the holidays? Tell us in the comments section below!