The holiday gift exchange is as much a part of the season as homemade pumpkin pie and gingerbread men, but doing the same old thing year after year can get pretty boring. If you are tired of drawing names out of a hat and buying gifts for coworkers you barely know, it may be time to shake things up.
The traditional gift exchange is one way to shower your coworkers with presents, but it is not the only way. Here are six smart and fun alternatives to the same old boring office gift exchange.
#1. The Secret Santa
The Secret Santa idea is a unique twist on the traditional gift exchange, and a welcome departure. Instead of picking names and buying a single gift, the whole office gathers to choose a Secret Santa partner for the holiday season.
Every week, the chosen Santa surprises their special person with a small gift, like a plate of home booked cookies or a small box of chocolates. When the office Christmas party rolls around, the Secret Santas exchange a larger gift, and reveal their identities to their coworkers.
#2. The White Elephant
If the workers in your office have a hearty sense of humor, a white elephant gift exchange can be a fun alternative to the traditional way of doing things. Everyone at the office picks one or two gag gifts, disguises them with wrapping paper and places them in a central location.
When the big day arrives, everyone at the office takes their turn choosing a present. Whoever goes first takes a look at their gift, and the person who follows can either steal it away or choose their own. The fun continues until everyone at the office is laughing and having fun.
#3. Guess the Gift
It is always fun to play a guessing game, and the Guess the Gift idea is a new twist on the old gift exchange tradition. In this unique gift exchange, everyone at the office buys a gift and carefully wraps it to hide its contents.
On the day of the office holiday party, a gift is selected from the display and everyone takes turns guessing what is inside. The person who brought the gift stands by, and the first person to guess correctly gets to take the item home.
#4. The Holiday Library
If the workers in your office are avid readers, a holiday book exchange is a wonderful, and literate, alternative to the traditional gift exchange. Everyone brings a special book to the office holiday party – a new book by their favorite author, a favorite book from a great series or just a fun beach read.
The exchange can proceed in a couple of different ways. In one version of the holiday library, coworkers simply pick the book they want from an attractive display. In another version, each book is numbered and everyone draws numbers from a hat. No matter which way it goes down, everyone leaves with a new book to read over the holiday break.
#5. Grab Bags
Everyone loves a surprise, and the grab bag gift exchange is sure to become an annual tradition. In this twist on the usual gift exchange, everyone brings a small gift to the office, fully wrapped and in disguise.
Each small gift is numbered or otherwise identified as it goes on the table, and coworkers draw numbers from a hat to decide which item they get. Part of the fun of this idea is the post-drawing horse trading as everyone compares gifts.
#6. Charity Toy and Food Drive
Sometimes the best way to give is to give back. A charity drive in which coworkers raise money and donate items to local food banks and worthy organizations is a wonderful alternative to the traditional gift exchange.
Whether you team up with the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots or a local charity, collecting cash and gifts for those less fortunate just feels good, especially this time of year. You can use a sign-up sheet and let everyone choose their own recipient or draw names from a hat to decide who everyone will be buying gifts for.
Office holiday parties are a lot of fun, and leaving work with a brand new gift is a wonderful part of the season. If you are tired of the same old gift exchange, you might want to incorporate one of the ideas listed below in the leadup to the holiday season.