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Office Gifts: From Weird to Wonderful

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in HR Soapbox

Santa’s not the only one delivering presents this holiday season. Nearly eight out of 10 (79%) executives say some form of gift giving occurs in their offices, according to a recent survey. But it’s not all bottles of wine and Target gift cards out there.

When asked to name the most unusual or unique gifts exchanged in the office, responses ranged from a fully stocked 125-pound aquarium to the same fruitcake that went around the office two years in a row.

In a survey by staffing firm The Creative Group, executives were asked, “During the holiday season, which of the following types of gifts, if any, are typically given in your office?” Their responses:

51% .... Gifts from managers to staff members

51% .... Gifts from staff members to each other

43% .... Gifts from coworkers based on names dropped in a hat

39% .... Gifts from staff to their managers

19% .... None/no gifts given

Asked about some of the more … er … unique gifts they’d received or heard of, executives offered the following gems:

  • “Someone gave a coworker a voodoo doll of the boss. The boss found out and wasn’t very happy about it.”
  • “One employee liked to give out portraits of himself. I’m glad I never received one.”
  • “My staff gave me an industrial-size can of chicken loaf. I never ate it.”
  • “Someone gave his assistant a case of tuna. It was really strange.”
  • “One person received a plastic pizza with a face on it. She thought it was frightening.”

But others raved about thoughtful, memorable and personal gifts:

  • “My favorite and most memorable gift was a membership to a local art gallery.”
  • “Someone gave his co-worker a ride on a parade float with Santa.”
  • “We got Ohio State football helmets because we are all Ohio State football fans.”
  • “Each employee received a bobblehead that was a replica of him- or herself.”
  • “My staff gave me two pounds of stone crab last year. They were delicious.”
How about you? What are some of the wild and wonderful gifts that have been given in your workplace? (comment below)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan December 6, 2011 at 10:27 am

One year at our Secret Santa office gift exchange (price limit $10) the most popular gift was $10 worth of Lottery tickets from 7-11.


Louis December 2, 2011 at 7:34 am

Mosy unusual gift i’ve ever had was a theorem!


Angel M December 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I got a Magic 8-ball for a gift exchange. Apparently the secret santa thought that was a good way to make my hiring decisions.


Ronda December 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm

My husband got duct tape and WD-40 one Christmas from a co-worker. He loved it because it was something useful.


Victoria December 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm

A couple Christmases ago, one of the VPs thought it would cute to get a hampster for the team to care for. I’m not sure what he was thinking. I think he saw it as a team-building opportunity. Anyway, the hampster stunk because nobody wanted to clean the cage and it died after six months. I guess that doesn’t say much about the team.


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