Office gift giving is hard, and finding work-appropriate grab bag gifts is practically impossible. For one thing, you can’t please everyone. For another, it’s so easy for a joke gift to be taken the wrong way, it’s almost not worth trying. But how many generic coffee cups does anyone really need?
Every year, my department does a White Elephant gift exchange. For the exchange, you’re supposed to bring in a wrapped gift which cost $20 or less. But because everyone is so busy, it usually ends up being a steady stream of gift cards and hand cream. So I thought I’d go hunting for some gifts that could shake things up. Because my department is 90% women, the gifts people bring tend to be lady-centric, but I have tried to keep my suggestions fairly gender neutral, out of sympathy for our two male colleagues.
By the way, the grab bag thing is infinitely more fun if some of the items are joke gifts, since it seems like the more ridiculous they are (context is everything), the more likely they are to be fought over. If you’re going to spend $20 anyway, it may as well be on something unexpected and awesome. There are a few tame suggestions below, as well, but I hope you’ll consider going bold.
Bath crayons (because why should toddlers have all the fun?)