Guest Author - Dianne Walker
Does your office have a gift giving ceremony during the holidays every year? Some offices may call it Secret Santa; others may just call it a ďgift exchange.Ē Whatever the name, it often brings stress to those who participate and those who choose to opt out. There are ways to make the moment less stressful and less expensive.
Itís fine to opt out of the gift exchange. Many co-workers feel like they are obligated to participate in the gift exchange whether they want to or not. If you donít have the money, you donít have the money. Donít go around the office, however, bashing the event trying to cover up the fact you simply cannot afford it this year. There is also no need to tell your co-workers your financial situation. When the name jar is passed around, simply decline. Know that you are not alone; many workers decline to participate for a variety of reasons.
Letís say you decided to participate but are stumped on what to buy. Here are some options to consider:
What should you get for your boss? Donít think you will impress your boss by exceeding the dollar limit. You might spend $100 to buy them a fancy bottle of wine, only to find out they donít drink. Stay within the limits and keep it nice, simple and impersonal; however, save the socks and ties for family. Aim for desk accessories they can use such as a nice pen set (who doesnít love a good pen), a tray to catch their mail or a nice picture frame. It helps to keep in mind that your gift, while appreciated, will not be the highlight of the season for them and itís not meant to be. It really is a small token of your appreciation for their leadership.
What should you get your co-workers? You may be on a more personal level with your co-workers, but remember that unless youíre friends out of the office, here to, the gift is a small token. You may even find that some co-workers will even re-gift whatever gift you give them, so stay within the limits. The same thought process works here as well. Do they have a favorite candy? A favorite brand of writing instruments? Gift cards to their favorite store or fast food restaurant always work. If you feel the gift card is not enough, buy a cute mug at the dollar store, fill it with candy, put the card on top and decorate nicely.
Other ideas? Buy a basket from the dollar store and fill it with pretty paper shavings or tissue and put the following on top:
- Buy small scented soap.
- Have a chocoholic? Buy a number of candy bars.
- A crafter? Fill the basket with sewing supplies.
- A new mom? Try the latest parent magazine, some chocolate or small baby items.
- A sports addict? Shred paper using their favorite team colors and fill with trinkets with their team logo, such as key chains, mugs or shot glasses.