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Eight Awesome Gift Ideas for the Office Holiday Gift Exchange

by Lou-Ann Jordan Dec 4, 2023

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We can expect a few fun workplace traditions to occur with the holidays descending upon us. There’s the customary office Christmas party, which can be a blast. Typically, it’s a beautiful opportunity to relieve the year’s stress and indulge in some downtime with colleagues. There’s also the very entertaining office white elephant, gift exchange, or Secret Santa activity.

Gift exchanges are an excellent team-building and morale-boosting exercise for the workplace. It allows team members to learn more about each other as they attempt to give a gift that holds some appeal to the receiver. As the giver, ensuring the latter can be perplexing, but it also adds to the fun. An equally challenging element is that there’s often a cap on the cost of the token.

While the budget helps guarantee some equity—it prevents over or under-spending, matching the amount to what the person likes (after having stealthily investigated the matter) can be problematic. Also, let’s not forget groups can thicken the plot by exchanging more than one gift. At some offices, Secret Santa games are conducted for an extended period, sometimes a week, meaning several presents are exchanged. In such situations, though, the cost of the gifts must total an agreed-upon budget.

These activities are a simple way to build rapport and excite staff. Most people love the suspense and being on the receiving end. If your office has plans to engage in a gift exchange, there’s no reason for you not to participate. We will equip you to be an excellent Secret Santa, white elephant, or gift exchange partner.

We know the most trying part of these games is deciding what to give. However, having a list of gift ideas is an excellent starting point, as it gives you something with which to work. So, here’s our list of gift ideas you can use to determine what to buy. You’re guaranteed to find something on it that interests your ‘partner’.

Eight Awesome Gift Ideas for the Office Holiday Gift Exchange

Wireless Charger – Relieve the person of the stress of trying to find their plug-in charger with the correct port. Get them a seemingly techy but super easy-to-use and convenient wireless charger. They’re less costly than you may think.

Water bottle with time/volume markers – It’s super practical and handy. Most of us don’t drink as much water as we should. You can help your colleague stay hydrated by gifting them a trendy water bottle.

Scented candles – Did you know Perry Ellis produces a line of aromatic candles with fragrances to die for? The trickiest part of a gift like this is deciding which scent to choose because you’re likely to fall in love with all of them. Making a gift of scented candles works because finding a brand within your budget is easy, not excluding the Perry Ellis line.

Wine – How convenient is this idea? Grab a bottle of wine on your next visit to the supermarket. We’re sure you’ll find one that’s tasty and affordable. Of course, you’ll need to determine their wine preference: red or white, sweet or dry. But once you’ve acquired that information, it’s smooth sailing. Also, to help you along, some of the best budget wine brands are Yellow Tail®, OBiKWA®, Carlo Rossi®, Josh®, Franzia®, Alamos® and Dark Horse®.

Gift card – It can appear impersonal, but it’s still a fantastic gift idea as it allows the person to get something they would actually use. Also, often, when we think of giving a gift card, it’s for an online store. We understand the appeal as an Amazon or Shein gift card offers variety. However, remember, buying local is an option, too. Check if your partner’s favourite local store provides this purchasing option over the holidays.

Voucher – We mentioned a gift card, but there’s no reason to restrict it to such. Other voucher options include a spa, mani, pedi, massage or osteopathic treatments. Many spas and alternative treatment clinics offer holiday deals and specials from which you can benefit. Also, we’ve probably all seen the memes and laughed, but a grocery voucher is an option that’s equally appreciated. Any of these would be suitable, and not to mention timely. We can’t guarantee it, but we would like to think such a gift will be received with great joy!

Tumbler/Flask– A tumbler or flask is a nifty gift for anyone with an early start and a busy schedule. Many people are on the road early to avoid traffic as they drop their children at school and head to work. Then there are those without such responsibilities but for whom time also does not permit a cup of coffee or tea before leaving home. With your present, your colleague can have a hot beverage on the go. It can also keep cold drinks chilled or function as a ‘water bottle’. As far as brands go, Contigo® has grown in popularity in recent times.

Cologne/Perfume – This one can be tricky, but it’s still an excellent idea. It will require you to pay attention to your colleague and skilfully learn what fragrances they like. Still, that’s what makes this activity exciting. Of course, the first thing to note is if they like or use cologne or perfume. Next, causally initiate a discussion on favourite or least favourite fragrances. Here’s an idea: don’t ask them directly. Instead, have the conversation in their vicinity and off-handedly draw them into it. Ladies, if you feel somewhat clueless about choosing a fragrance for a man, click here. You can also visit Fragrantica for a comprehensive list of perfumes and colognes and detailed information.

Have fun with your office’s White Elephant, Secret Santa, or Gift Exchange this Christmas. Don’t feel stressed by what to get. We’ve done the tricky part. Now, all you need to do is review our list of ideas and select the one you’re sure your partner will like.

Sources: Delish, Esquire and Glamour.