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Ten Commandments of the Office Gift Exchange

In many offices and work-places, there is often a little holiday get-together that may include a gift exchange. Whether it is a Secret Santa or simply a fun Gift Swap game, it is important that no one scoffs at or appears too good, or too important to support the social committee in its endeavours to make a fun-filled event. A gift exchange is about creating a feeling of community and those few “stick in the muds” that don’t partake often put a damper on the office cheer.

So here are Ten Commandments for the Office Gift Exchange:

1. Thou shalt not opt-out. Consider it to be “Taking one for the team”. These holiday get togethers are to be community building events. No one likes a scrooge. Don’t want to spend the money? There is never a gift exchange that requires someone to give Baccarat Crystal.

2. Though shalt not go over or under the limit. Just because you can afford something over the limit price does not give you license to do so. Making others uncomfortable by your ‘generosity’ can be defeating the good feel of the exchange. This goes for giving something that is obviously well under the suggested limit. Thou shalt stay within a few dollars of the suggested price limits.

3. Thou shalt not re-gift something you received at last year’s gift swap. It’s just plain wrong!

4. Thou shalt not bring something that has been sitting on your mantle for the last year.

5. Thou shalt not complain when you get “stuck” with a gift that you do not want. If you really don’t want it, don’t say anything negative and consider stopping at the Good Will Donation Depot on your way home.

6. Thou shalt not give a gift with faith connotations. If you are in an office with co-workers that are from various faiths, give a gift that is faith neutral—even staying away from any Santa Claus gifts is a safe bet.

7. Thou shalt not give a gift that is insulting. No T-shirts about overweight people, self-help books, nose-hair clippers etc.

8. Thou shalt give a gift that is interest neutral. Not everyone loves sports or wine.

9. Thou shalt consider the following suggestions for a happy and rewarding holiday event:

· A travel mug for a morning commute, with some gourmet coffee or tea

· A gift card for two admissions to the movies, and a bag of licorice

· A scarf or umbrella

· A jar of nutsy, seeds, or specialty candy for their desk,

· Creative desk supplies

· An insulated lunch carrier

· An I Tunes gift Card

10. Thou shalt attend, enjoy the festivities and the camaraderie of your co-workers.



Jeannie Vaage, Etiquette Consultant, VIP Protocol
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