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Your Guide to Office Gift-Giving

gift givingIt’s that time of year again! If you’re like most adults, you’re too busy shopping for items on others’ wish lists to create one for yourself. In fact, you’ve probably already given out your annual standard response more than once: “I already have too much stuff.” But what about holidays at the office? This year, try something fun and different!

Recipe jars

Whether you choose to fill your jar with dry soup, cookie mix, hot cocoa, or other ingredients, recipe jars can be easy and fun! And, for those whose co-workers have special dietary needs, just ask all participants to avoid the inclusion of pertinent allergens or ingredients. mason jar giftOn the day you designate for your company holiday celebration, ask all participants to bring their filled jars — wrapped or unwrapped — to a central location. How you’ll gift the jars is up to you; whether you affix numbers to the jars and have employees choose corresponding digits from a hat, allow them to choose their favorites, or divvy up the goodies another way, everyone can try something familiar — or completely new!

Coffee cups

Who at your office doesn’t like coffee or tea? If their cups are starting to chip and crack, a coffee cup gift exchange can help freshen up their drinkware. Participants simply purchase a coffee cup to gift, fill it with a few samples of their favorite coffees, teas, or other treats, and wrap it all up. Assign a number to each and let employees draw numbers to discover their gifts! They can even swap mugs, coffees, or candies after opening to trade for their favorites.

Saran wrap

saran ball gameHow is saran wrap a game? Request each employee bring in a small item or two. You may choose to sweeten the pot a bit by purchasing a gift card for the ultimate winner. Starting with the gift card or other “main” prize in the middle, use saran wrap to cover the object and create a treat-filled sphere, adding the small items as your saran wrap ball grows larger. When you’re ready to have some fun, get everyone together in a circle. The first player wears mittens or oven mitts, you say “go,” and he or she gets a set amount of time to try to tear through the saran wrap to get the gifts! When the clock runs out, the next person’s time begins instantly, so the previous player must remove the mitts and pass the ball — and the game goes on!

Gift games

Aside from Secret Santa and White Elephant, there are a number of other fun alternatives, ranging from guessing games to grab bags and book swaps. If a guessing game sounds fun, here’s how it’s done: Have each employee purchase and wrap an unidentifiable gift and invite the crew to guess what it is. The first person to guess correctly wins the gift! If a grab bag sounds more your style, ask participants to purchase one small wrapped gift each. Have employees draw numbers from a hat, and let each person choose his or her gift one at a time by number. If you’ve got a crew of bookworms, a book swap can be especially exciting. Request each participant bring a wrapped, fresh copy of his or her favorite book and write a note inside about why it’s a favorite. Assign each book a number, and allow employees to select their literary gifts based on what digit they pull.

Charitable donation

donateYes, you can make this one into a game, too! Invite employees to purchase a ticket — or multiples — for a set amount each. They can then use those tickets to vote on their charity of choice from a predetermined and verified organization list. The charity with the most votes wins the prize, and all participants receive the honor of a donation they helped fund in the company’s name. No matter which way you choose to celebrate this holiday season, keep it festive and fun — even if you’re stuck at the office!

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