One thing I’ve always half-lamented, though lamented more in the past when my funds were a bit tighter, is the office holiday gift exchange. I’ve participated in everything from the Secret Santa to the grab bag to the system in which you can ruthlessly steal the gifts selected by your coworkers (up to three times). In
2008 and the few years prior, my team of ten coworkers generally held two gift exchanges each year, as a summer event tends to lift the spirits around here. In some years, there were as many as three gift exchanges occurring at the same time, each with a larger set of coworkers. But in 2009, we had no summer gift exchange and there is currently no discussion of one in December, either.
I am not going to bring it up.
I participate in events like these to be social, but I’ve never received a gift in which I was interested nor given a gift that the recipient could connect with. That’s a foregone conclusion with the steal-your-selection gift exchange anyway. Most gifts tend to be generic, even if you include “suggestions” for the Secret Santa who selects your name. The most popular items, besides alcohol, are gift cards for fast food chains in the area like Wendy’s and Dunkin’ Donuts.
Everyone in my office has been silent about the possibility of a gift exchange this December when normally these are major events planned well in advance. Perhaps it is a sign of the economy.
Are you curtailing gift exchanges at home or in the office this year?