Thanksgiving is behind us, it's time to prepare for the workplace holiday gift swap. Did I hear a deep sigh? It seems people either look forward to exchanging gifts, or consider it just more annoying thing to do. Plus you have to do it on your time--jeeze!
A workplace holiday gift swap can be fun, but it can also cause some problems. Be aware that not everyone wants to be part of the swap. Saying he or she, must take part in this exchange may create ill feelings that may last long after the holidays are over. So, I guess I should say workplace gift swaps can be fun if approached with the right attitude, and some rules in place.
There is always one story of what went wrong last year, many times you will hear, "the gift was much cheaper or more expensive than the cost guidelines" or "what was he or she thinking? It just is not me." To prevent a situation where your co-worker may be scratching her head as to the reason of a particular gift, give some thought to the kind of swap your workplace will have. Will gag gifts or useful gifts be swapped? If this is not clear, someone may end up with a cute tiny doggie that moves its head when touched. Now they are cute, but not everyone appreciates them. Also, it is safer to buy something useful that can be used by men or women. Be thoughtful and give some real thought to what you buy.
A few tips to make gift swapping easier
First and foremost, follow the spending guidelines. You will make others uncomfortable if you go over the spending limit. You may cause anger or embarrassment with a gift that is obviously under the guidelines.
If buying for a specific person in a name-drawing swap, find out something about that person and try to buy something he or she will appreciate. If you know the person is a big movie buff, a gift card to a theater might be just the, well, ticket. If you are participating in an anonymous gift exchange, you will be safer buying a gift card to a type of store that is universally enjoyed, rather than a specialty store.
If you receive something terrible, just say thank you and move on. This is a small thing after all. And, there is always next year!