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6 Gift Exchange Alternatives For Your Office Holiday Party

Yet another holiday season has rolled around, which undoubtedly means the annual office Christmas gift exchange is upon us. 

Every year it’s the same old, same old. You score this really amazing gift you’ve been coveting on Amazon, then out of the blue, your co-worker snatches it from you without a glimmer of guilt in their eye and you end up with a plastic Christmas cup filled with Dollar Store candy.

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Or, you spend all this money on a really cool video iPod and somehow you end up with a rinky-dink homemade oven mitt...

Rather than ending up like Michael Scott, brainstorm with your coworkers and come up with a better way to spend your hard-earned cash this Christmas. No gift exchange is worth plotting the death of your office mate.

Here are 6 office Christmas exchange alternatives that will certainly spread some holiday cheer.



1. Tech Gift Exchange

If you consider your office a bit on the geeky side, consider doing a gift exchange of tech gifts or even just handy office gadgets.

We love these geeky gift ideas from Popsugar and these picks from Marie Claire are on point. Um, who doesn't love a cat charger?

2. Truck Stop Christmas

We know this sounds a bit odd, but this Christmas exchange is ROI tested and approved. Draw names, set a price limit and venture to one of your town’s truck stops (there is no shortage of these in Amarillo), and pick out the most egregious or comical gift you can find.

A Truck Stop Christmas is not only super fun and amusing, but it also takes the pressure off finding the “perfect” gift. Plus, who doesn't love a Bubba Keg?

3. Gift Auction

Again, set a price limit and have people bring a nice gift. You don’t have to keep anyone in mind when buying it, which is great — just choose something you like or that’s trendy. Have someone lay out all the gifts and number them. Hand out auction paddles and ‘Santa Bucks.’ Base the amount of bucks on how many items are available. If you really want to go the extra mile, have a mystery gift people can bid on.

gilmore-girls-coffee-mug.png4. Coffee Mug Exchange

It’s hard to go wrong with a coffee mug exchange. Most of us drink coffee or tea at work; if someone doesn’t, they can always use the mug for pencils or other doodads. Set a price limit and draw names.

There's a mug for every kind of coffee lover on this list from Real Simple. We're pretty sure this Gilmore Girls mug from Cafe Press will be a hit this year!

For a festive flair, fill mugs with edible treats like candy, hot chocolate and a tasty coffee or tea packet. 

5. Cajun Christmas

In my neck of the woods, this is everyone's favorite Christmas exchange. You may have also heard it called Yankee Swap, Dirty Santa or White Elephant. Personally, I think Cajun Christmas has the best ring to it. 

Rather than sticking to buying traditional, boring gifts like candles and scented soaps, amp up the fun by putting a new spin on this traditional holiday game. For example, do a "tasty" gift exchange and require everyone to bring their favorite Christmas treat (homemade or storebought).

Or, throw some gag gifts into the mix. Depending on your office culture, you may want to try to keep the NSFW ones to a minimum!

santa-claus-donation-charity-comp6. Charity

It is the season of giving after all, so why not think of someone outside of your office? You have a few options here.

Have everybody jot down their charity of choice and their name, place the pieces of paper in a hat and have everyone draw. People can then make a small donation to the chosen charity in the selected person’s name.

Another option, which we opted for at ROI, is to find someone in need during the holidays. Rather than spending a certain amount on gifts for each other, we put that money toward buying gifts for a family.

Ask the family what their necessities are, but also what they want. Get the necessities first (e.g. clothes, toiletries), then with the leftover funds, purchase the ‘wants’ the family requested, like toys.

What is your office planning to do this Christmas? We’d love to hear your ideas!

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