10 Alternatives to Exchanging Gifts at Work

gift exchange

It’s time for Secret Santas all across the country. You’ll draw someone’s name, get them exactly what they ask for, and that someone will get someone else exactly what they ask for and you will eventually get what you asked for. So goes the long-lived tradition. This year, instead of the same old boring ritual of, in a round-about way, buying yourself what you want, skip the Secret Santa drawing. Here are ten other ideas for spending your own and your co-workers’ cash this holiday season.

Everyone chip in to buy the workplace a coffee machine, microwave, water cooler or whatever the office needs. I’m sure you and your co-workers know what your break room needs.

Make a mix tape. Okay, so burn a cd, but in any case, if everyone brings some music they like, you don’t have to listen to the satellite feed loop all the time. Can you stay sane when a song is played thirty times in one eight-hour shift repeated four days a week?

Organize an office poker game. Maybe, instead of poker, meet to learn a new card game, like whist, so no one has an unfair advantage. The experience will be worth the money you lose.

Turn out the lights and open the blinds. It costs 714 lbs of coal to run a 100 watt bulb for a year straight. The gift of not spending money on the electric bill is greater for your boss than spending money on a tie you’ll never see him wear. It’s good for morale, bringing the outside in, and knowing you’re putting less coal-burning byproducts into the air. Additions to this is to keep printers and faxes and other occasional use machines off except when used.

Perform a service. If you bring a few cans of spray-air and hose out everyone’s keyboards, someone else can fix all the broken staplers, someone can replace the horrid curtains, another can reduce the length of wire under each desk, the tech geek can run a defrag on all the computerr. Draw tasks out of a hat instead of drawing names. Your workplace will be a happier one for the entire year, not just for the Christmas party. Call it the “Love the Skin You Work In” campaign.

Bring greeting cards with 10 money-saving ideas everyone should know, but might not.

Give particular aid to a person in need. Pay someone’s gas bill for a month, load up a grocery card, chip in for a washer and dryer. Improving one person’s quality of life improves all of ours.

Start a recycling program or charity drive. Recycle your electronics, batteries, packing peanuts, motor oil, or do some research for your area. Do something that could use it but isn’t always done. For charity, think pennies, aluminum can tabs, Yoplait tops, BoxTops, Campbell’s labels, canned food, clothing, toys, toner and cartridges, or again, do some research. Pick something your team would be passionate about. Make the December drop-off or donation the first of many to come.

Put together care packages for co-workers’ family members or friends overseas. Show support for your troops and help make the holiday less difficult for those at home.

Do the coupon thing. Time is money. Offer each teammate an un-work-related service, like edit a story for the writer-dreamer, help someone take out that dead tree, teach the newbie how to change a tire. If you’ve got that close-knit employee family, you probably know everyone pretty well and can personalize each coupon. If not, choose what you’re good at or like to do, such as clothing alteration or auto problem diagnosis.

Image courtesy of SpacePotato

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2 Responses to 10 Alternatives to Exchanging Gifts at Work

  1. Misty Jones says:

    A great gift idea for exchanging gifts is a gift card.

  2. Gersemi says:

    Not exactly my “deal”… but very good ways to lose those seasonal blues and bring back that holiday spirit! Thanks Mrs. H!

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