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Thread: Holiday "gift" exchanges (business and/or organization)

  1. #1
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    Holiday "gift" exchanges (business and/or organization)

    Is there a way to make them "fun" and "fair"?

    If I had my preferences, they would be completely banned - and some other activities could replace the "gift" part of the celebration. That would/could depend on the organization - what they have available for funding, philosophical/religious aims, etc.

    If people want to donate to some particular organization or individual, I think that should be a private matter - because selecting which organization to contribute to could be divisive/disruptive.

    I do feel that "sharing the wealth" is a good thing - but I prefer to do it on my own terms.

  2. #2
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I belong to a few groups that do gift exchanges, but they make it clear that they are voluntary. If you don't wish to participate, you don't. I usually don't, but I enjoy seeing other people who do enjoy that activity.

    One of the neighborhood ladies has regular bunco parties. I don't care for bunco, but I do enjoy the company of the other ladies who come to the parties, so I always try to attend. Some of the prizes are little trinkets/knick knacks that the hostess picks up here and there (maybe through gift exchanges with other groups???). When I win one I have to pretend to be pleased, but in reality I'm trying to figure out what to do with the object when I get home. Most go to Goodwill, or into the trash can. I don't need more junk! That's the main reason I don't usually participate in gift exchanges.

  3. #3
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    Our group stopped the gift exchange several years ago and now try to do something for others instead. We have collected items for a men's shelter, Baby items for a pregnancy center and items for those struggling. It works out better and no pressure to give if you can't or have other priorities.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I think all gift giving should be banned from the work place. That was always a nightmare when I worked. A good food table is plenty for the office. One time a co worker made a donation for everyone in our office as her gift. Several employees got very upset their name was on the list of donors to an organization they did not want to support even though it was a well known charity.

    My small sew group exchanges gifts but it's not expected. Some give gifts one year and may not the next. We go out to eat, go to quilt shops and have a great day out.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  5. #5
    Super Member sewingsuz's Avatar
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    Our gift exchange at the guild was 15 dollars and you did not have to participate if you did not want to. How ever this year they changed it to exchange of one yard of quality fabric. Well this is not fun! I will keep mine and you keep yours. I did not say anything but it is just not the same. You wrap the gif and then go and pick one when they call on you or your table.
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  6. #6
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    The only gift giving I like is when the business gives out gifts. I don't like "gift exchanges" with other employees or club members. I feel like it's a waste of money.
    Lori

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  7. #7
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    I've never had gift giving anywhere I worked. I used to be part of a small American Sewing Guild group that did a Christmas exchange. After a few years, I quit taking part. I would wrap up some nice useable fabric, but there was one woman who would just toss some scraps in a box and give them. After the first couple years, she figured out who would give the best fabrics and then go after their boxes. I got tired of donating a nice couple yards of fabric and leaving with a bag of useless scraps. Why is it there always seems to be one person who doesn't play nice?
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  8. #8
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    I like the idea of donating to a charity or some place where it's really needed. Most of us have way too much as it is and I don't usually like what I'm gifted. Donating to a worthy cause is so much better for me.

  9. #9
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    As a retail store manager, my staff varied in size from 10-15 women over the years. Each year I gave "my girls" gifts. Each year the wrapping was different, as in a stocking, photo box, or tote bag. I filled it with a personalized ornament, and all sorts of goodies and trinkets. They did Secret Santa, and Starting Dec. 1st, each week they left a gift for their person. We truly had a lot of fun and laughter over the gifts and trying to figure out who had who. In addition, we also picked one item every year to collect and donate. Gloves, mittens, hats, personal care products, scarves, men's socks...over the years it was so much fun! I think it depends on the staff, and the friendships that are made. They were much more that just my staff/team. I've been retired for almost 10 years, but my closest group of friends, my posse, my gal pals, travel buddies are 6 of those women. We still group text almost daily, and see each other monthly. Every Christmas I still put together a goodie bag for them. So far they've received mug rugs, table runners, wine cozies, star ornaments, boxy bags, and wall hangings. (This year I'm making tote bags.) I think it depends on your organization, and the people that are involved how fun/fair it is.

  10. #10
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    I vote “no”. Speaking for myself, I have enough family to shop for and maybe participate in a “giving” tree which helps someone less fortunate. I give cash to the mailman, trash man, church janitor, beauty operator, etc. co-workers are special but a good food table at work (as mentioned here) is my choice.

  11. #11
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SusieQOH View Post
    I like the idea of donating to a charity or some place where it's really needed. Most of us have way too much as it is and I don't usually like what I'm gifted. Donating to a worthy cause is so much better for me.

    Agree...food drives, Toys for Tots etc. I don’t “work” to add gift giving to co-workers to my list of things to do. Be the one who has the nerve to speak up. I recall some do-gooder Running around the office collecting $$$ for the bosses’ gift of Waterford crystal. I declined and mentioned that I did not own Waterford much less collect it. No, I was not fired over it either.
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  12. #12
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cashs_mom View Post
    I've never had gift giving anywhere I worked. I used to be part of a small American Sewing Guild group that did a Christmas exchange. After a few years, I quit taking part. I would wrap up some nice useable fabric, but there was one woman who would just toss some scraps in a box and give them. After the first couple years, she figured out who would give the best fabrics and then go after their boxes. I got tired of donating a nice couple yards of fabric and leaving with a bag of useless scraps. Why is it there always seems to be one person who doesn't play nice?

    She probably did not tip either. Do not go to a restaurant with that person either. Lol!
    Sandygirl

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  13. #13
    Super Member Nanny's dollface's Avatar
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    Christmas and holiday time can be stressful without adding additional obligations of buying gifts for office staff especially if there are 20+ in various levels of the company. Rather than wait for someone to suggest a secret Santa or some other gift buying event, I suggested to do a “worst gift” yankee swap. Some call the yankee swap a white elephant . In any event, one can not buy a gift but bring in a wrapped RE- gift. The only restriction was that it could not be an “adult toy” or something that might cause harassment. . We all had a blast. There were nightcrackers that had seen better days, a 2 Foot martini glass, 5 year old fruit cake that had been kept in a freezer, a leopard scarf, etc.
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  14. #14
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    I am with you Sandygirl! If you don’t tip the wait staff, stay home. I have stopped participating in gift exchanges And also gifts from friends who are far away. Since we haven’t seen each other in years those gifts became much harder to find, purchase and mail. Our family gives to favorite charities for Christmas though we still give gifts to the children. We enjoy our time together so much more than when we came with a car loaded with packages that likely ended up at The local thrift store. In the past we have adopted families and that was really a great experience.

  15. #15
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    At my age I have pretty much everything I need... which is why I don't do the Secret Santa swap. Most of it would end up donated.

    Food tables can be a source of inequality and stress, too. The last time I worked for David's Bridal (alterations), we would be required to bring food for whatever "party" the boss deemed necessary (including her birthday.) A couple of greedy people would be filling up plates to take home, before everyone else had even gotten anything to eat. I guess it all depends on what kind of people you work with.
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  16. #16
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    Hated those work gift exchanges. I love the idea of having a food or toy drive and everyone forming a collective gift. That's a great suggestion. My Bee does a gift exchange for those who want to participate. Limit is $20, doesn't need to be quilted or handmade. When it comes to exchanging, we do that story where everyone sits in a circle and the story tells you to pass left and pass right, so no one has any idea who will end up with who's gift. I think that is pretty fair.

  17. #17
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    I don't like them because I think it puts extra pressure on people. If you don't participate for whatever reason, most likely you will be considered a kill-joy. And for some people even a 5 Secret Santa gift exchange is too much for their budget.

    HettyB

  18. #18
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    I completely understand what you are saying. And, it is difficult to say anything without seeming like an ogre. I work with several organizations and donate to several causes, but, I do not like feeling like I am being 'forced' to contribute. One of the groups I belong to has solved this with putting out a donation box. They have put up a sign with what the cause is and a suggestion of items to put in. Then anyone can donate. We actually have 2 boxes - one is for small toys for children and the other is for the shelter so it requests toiletries, socks, gloves, scarves, etc. Then no one feels that others are 'judging' them.

  19. #19
    Super Member osewme's Avatar
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    The gals in the office exchanged gifts at my former place of work & it got to be to expensive for me. Even though we limited our gifts to $10 per person by the time I bought the 7 gifts & gave a little something to President & Vice President & made goodies for the kitchen, I found myself spending more on them at work than on my own family. I'm not there anymore but hope that tradition has changed since I've left.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by osewme View Post
    The gals in the office exchanged gifts at my former place of work & it got to be to expensive for me. Even though we limited our gifts to $10 per person by the time I bought the 7 gifts & gave a little something to President & Vice President & made goodies for the kitchen, I found myself spending more on them at work than on my own family. I'm not there anymore but hope that tradition has changed since I've left.
    Staff shouldn't really give gifts to C Suite execs. Just "Ask a Manager".

  21. #21
    Super Member Nanny's dollface's Avatar
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    I’m in the C-Suite and I don’t expect anything... nor do I expect anything from my direct reports. Although, I do give a small gift such as a book or take them out for lunch out of my own pocket, I am very grateful for all their hard work.
    "I may not believe in what you say but will defend your right to say it"- Voltaire

  22. #22
    Senior Member Fizzle's Avatar
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    I work in a smaller, family run office. 12 women this year in the office. How do you end the exchange? I like the food theme. Maybe I encourage we all do food for a lunch instead of gifts and enjoy our time together??

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fizzle View Post
    I work in a smaller, family run office. 12 women this year in the office. How do you end the exchange? I like the food theme. Maybe I encourage we all do food for a lunch instead of gifts and enjoy our time together??
    Start talking about it early.

    Print out this thread and ask them for comments?

    Ask if they would prefer to do something else?

    Are you "management" or "not management"?

  24. #24
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    A lot of people are resistant to/afraid of change.

    Even if they aren't fond of the current situation, they don't want to rock the boat - or appear to be Grinchy or Scroogey.

  25. #25
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    Isn’t it strange that so many members DON’T like these gift exchanges - I don’t either!

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