HR Strange But True!
December 16, 2010

This holiday season will be more present in the workplace, according to a recent survey. A quarter of workers are planning to buy holiday gifts for co-workers this year, which will undoubtedly lead to some unusual, and sometimes inappropriate, gifts.

According to the CareerBuilder survey, more employees are planning on giving colleagues gifts (25%) than giving bosses gifts (22%). Most of those who partake in exchanging gifts plan to spend $25 or less for each present they buy for the office.

While there may seem to be plenty of suitable options that fall within the $25 range, here are some strange—and some inappropriate—presents workers have received in past years:

  • A bag of ice
  • A bra
  • A CD and employee recorded of himself singing (badly)
  • A coupon to a strip club
  • A pack of toilet paper (20 rolls)

To help you with your last minute holiday shopping, here are a few gifting tips from Nancy Soriano, a lifestyle expert and a spokeswoman for Office Depot:

Office gifts to avoid:

  • Perfume or cologne
  • Clothing
  • Gag gifts
  • Anything overtly religious

In general, avoid gifts that may be too sensitive in nature, too personal, too expensive, or offensive.

Some appropriate gift ideas:

  • Headphones
  • Desk organizers
  • Personalized items (mugs, USB drives, e.g.)
  • Group gifts, such as a coffeemaker

In general, try to find functional, practical presents.

Have you heard about—or received—a strange gift from a colleague. Submit your story to HR Strange but True!



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