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Holiday gift exchange ideas even The Grinch will love

Friday, December 20th, 2013
Issue 51, Volume 17.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY – Holiday gift giving in a small company can be fraught with uncomfortable situations. Should you purchase a gift for everyone? How about your boss? How much will all of this cost you? And what if you really canít stand one of your coworkers – should you leave him out or will this make working together even more uncomfortable than before?

A simple office gift exchange can help you dodge potential gift-giving blunders, and itís easier on your wallet since youíll only need to buy one present. With the average shopper expected to spend approximately $700 on gifts during the holiday season, according to a National Retail Federation survey, having to buy fewer presents during this time is a welcome prospect.

If your office hasnít already decided to do an exchange, you may want to suggest one during your next meeting. Here are a few tips to pull it off successfully.

General rules for all exchanges

Participation in gift exchanges should not be mandatory. Some people may not be able to afford to participate, while others may beg off for personal reasons. Forcing people to participate can make them resentful, so emphasize that participation is completely optional.

Set reasonable dollar amounts for the gifts. Ask your coworkers what amount theyíre comfortable spending, and set the spending rule as a range, such as $15-$20.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals advises that you check with your companyís human resources department to make sure that gift exchanges are allowed in your office. Make sure to also find out if there are any types of presents that would be frowned upon by your company.

Types of exchanges

Secret Santa:†A Secret Santa is an exchange that can be Advertisement
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lots of fun and very entertaining. If you are the coordinator, start by sending an email out to your coworkers with the rules of the exchange, such as the dollar limit for gifts, and ask those wanting to participate to let you know by a certain date. Once you have a list of participants, put their names on slips of paper and place them in a container. Have participants pick out the person theyíll be shopping for. Gift exchange participants will then purchase a present and leave it secretly for their person.

(Variation: Some offices ask participants to buy several gifts to hand out over a period of days for the Secret Santa exchange. Participants then leave presents and a clue to their identity on the recipientís desk.)

Part of the fun is guessing oneís Secret Santa. And although it can get tricky in a small, open office where everyone can see each other, make the suggestion to have gifts delivered. For example, order chocolate covered strawberries for your recipient and write the clue on the enclosed gift card.

White Elephant exchange: With a White Elephant exchange, you can either ask participants in this exchange to bring an unused item that they have lying around their house – such as a gift they received in the past but didnít like – or to purchase something inexpensive between $10 and $15. Then ask participants to wrap their gifts. At the exchange, each participant will, one by one, pick out and open a gift. If a participant wants to "steal" someone elseís opened gift rather than open a new one herself, she can do so. Each gift may only "stolen" up to two times.



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