Flickr Photo by: Thirteen of Clubs

Headed to a holiday party for work? The dreaded white elephant gift exchange is the bane of many holiday parties. Almost everyone has a story about the worst or most ridiculous gift they were given the year before at a gift swap. (Just checkout #whiteelephantgift on Instagram.)

Call it a Secret Santa or holiday gift exchange, it doesn’t really matter, they all are pretty much the same.

Typically most offices set a reasonable limit around $20 for the white elephant gift. Pick a number and let the stealing begin (if it’s allowed.)

So unless you want to be labeled …

 Photo by: shoptheredroan

Here are seven tips to avoid potential gift exchange problems at your next white elephant gift exchange.

1. Don’t bring junk.
While it may be tempting to unload the closets and dump something you haven’t used. Even if you are regifting, which many people consider a big “don’t.”

Please, for the love of God, leave the Topsy Turvy Upside Down tomato planter at home.

Photo by: Evan Roberts

If you need to, sell your old junk on eBay and use the cash to buy something new.

2. Don’t bring an ordinary object that most people already have.
For example, leave the coffeemaker. Yep, we’ve heard of it happening. For the record, your co-workers probably already have a coffeemaker they love and don’t really care if you bought a new one.

Flickr Photo by: Fabricio Zuard

3. Leave the I-might-be-a-serial-killer-and/or-weirdo items at home.
This can range from a small box of fireworks to anything sexual in nature. We don’t need to go all human resources on you to tell you it’s not appropriate. Don’t do it!

 

 And yes, giving a Snuggie does fit into this category. 

 Flickr photo by: Megan Frost

4. Be age appropriate.
Unless you’re working a college-aged office, it might be best to leave that lava lamp at home unless you are supposed to get a gag gift.

Flickr photo by: Dean Hochman

5. Ask yourself, would I be excited if I received this gift?
If there answer is no….you know your answer.

6. Don’t go totally crazy. Keep a budget.
It’s easy to want to have the most amazing $100 gift, but really this isn’t about out doing your fellow co-workers. It’s about being creative and appropriate. (See tip No. 4.)

7. Instead, find something that is amazing, unique and an instant classic.
Like a one-size-fits-all, versatile SHOLDIT Scarf that’s a purse

Photo by: Dawn Reiss

 

 

 

 

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