Does anyone else find gift exchanges overkill?

  1. At the risk of drawing lots of "Bah, Humbug" references, I really have to say that I don't get the need for all these gift exchanges. I would much prefer to confine my gift giving to my immediate family and a few close friends, but oh, no. I edit a newsletter for a local family support program, and they have a longstanding tradition of not just drawing names for a $20 exchange, but of everyone exchanging tchtokes with one another, too. There are 9 other people in this group! I used to make chocolate covered pretzels for this, but last year, I found some cute lipstick holders for $1 a piece at Pier 1, so bought those instead. This year, I bought a bunch of those cute single photo holders on sale at Kohl's. Then, at my job, there are 2 gift exchanges. The program management team has always done some kind of exchange, either drawing names or giving something to everyone one. That's 9 of us. And then the line staff has a party and gift exchange, to which they've always invited the PMT. I always have opted out, just because it seems wrong to me to crash their Christmas party when I never, and I do mean never, attend staff meetings or participate in other activities, unless the job requires it. This year, they just put my name in their exchange and pulled one for me when I was out of the office a few weeks ago. So that's another $15. I don't like having to pick gifts for people I barely know, I don't like accumulating more stuff that I don't need and I just don't like the excess of it all.
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   canoehead
    Take the crappy stuff you get each year and put it in a box. Then when the gift exchanges come around each year you have ready made crappy presents that are perfectly appropriate. I would not advise humbugging about gift exchanges as they are "team building". In fact I brought a booby prize (Kraft Dinner) to a yankee swap last year and got fired within the next year... so don't knock it.
  4. by   weetziebat
    I realize management thinks it is a lovely gesture to have these gift giving events, but I am in total agreement with you. Last year at work we picked a name (someone I hadn't even met) and then had to give them a surprise gift (like sneaking it into the office late at night, sending it through inter-office mail or putting it on the person's home doorstep etc. every week for 6 weeks. Ye gads! just what we all needed - 6 things that we didn't need and usually didn't want either. More stuff. I know its the thought that counts, and you can give it to the Salvation Army etc. but the cash starts to add up when you have a bunch of these events.

    If anyone figures out a polite way to let folks know that this is not a good idea, I'm all ears.
  5. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from weetziebat
    I realize management thinks it is a lovely gesture to have these gift giving events, but I am in total agreement with you. Last year at work we picked a name (someone I hadn't even met) and then had to give them a surprise gift (like sneaking it into the office late at night, sending it through inter-office mail or putting it on the person's home doorstep etc. every week for 6 weeks. Ye gads! just what we all needed - 6 things that we didn't need and usually didn't want either. More stuff. I know its the thought that counts, and you can give it to the Salvation Army etc. but the cash starts to add up when you have a bunch of these events.

    If anyone figures out a polite way to let folks know that this is not a good idea, I'm all ears.
    Oh great, I'd just love to have to spend all that time and money shopping, wrapping and secretly delivering SIX gifts! I wasn't willing to make a stink about being involved in this year's exchange at work against my own choice, but I think I would object to that nonsense!
  6. by   Tweety
    Weetzie, our management doesn't get involved in gift exchanges, it's up to us. A gift a week definately is overkill.

    I personally don't get involved in gift exchanges. But I do participate if we have covered dish parties. We're already talking about bringing food in on Christmas Day.
  7. by   Jessy_RN
    Personally, I dislike gift exchanges with people who are not my immediate family or at times even friends. Anyhow, I have had the bad experience that I either get nothing or get something so terrible it is hard to mask my unexcited face j/k

    It ticks me off especially when I take the time and effort to pick out something nice and worthy :chuckle

    Last year at work I just bought a gift card. I did not break my head for that person and I did not go over budget. A 20 buck card will do. This is going to be my mentality from now on too.
  8. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    While I worked at the high school, I did get involved in the gift exchange.

    Each person who chose to participate had a "Secret Santa". This went on the whole week before Christmas vacation.

    There was a limit of a couple of dollars per day, and a limit of $10 for the big gift.


    You filled out a form noting what you liked, books, candles, candy, plants, etc.

    That way what you received was from your list, or at least chances were that it would be from your list.

    I still have a Christmas Cactus that I received 4 years ago, and I love it! (It's hard to kill.)
  9. by   mercyteapot
    I used to push for a $5 lmit on the PMT exchange, because then I feel like the emphasis would be on creativity, which to me, would make it more fun. That idea got shot down fast. Every time I plunk down another $20 for a gift exchange, I can't help but think about what I could buy my own kid with that $.
  10. by   Blackcat99
    I don't like to do x-mas gift exchanges period. It's a total waste of time and money!!!:angryfire :angryfire :angryfire
  11. by   llg
    I am in TOTAL agreement here. I am in one of those jobs in which I work with several different departments, committees, etc. It's a real burden that takes a lot of joy out of the holiday season -- and I certainly have no need for a bunch of cheap crappy junk that people bought to exchange!

    Why can't we just have informal little "get togethers" at work and enjoy each other's company?

    Here are a couple of things some of the more sensible people have done where I work to ease this problem a bit.

    One group has their "holiday gift exchange" in January -- and turn it in to a "re-gifting party." We all bring the stuff we got that we don't want to keep and put it in the middle of the table. People are then free to take anything that they might actually like and/or use. That way, the gifts find a good home and we get rid of the stuff we don't want.

    One group (the Staff Development Dept.) had an "office products" theme to the gifts. We exchanged things like colored paper clips, fancy paper, colored markers, etc. that we might actually use at work -- but a little fancier than the generic kind supplied by our employer.

    One group exchanged holiday socks, figuring that most people would be able to wear them at some point. I took the socks I received to the re-gifting party in January -- but I thought it was a reasonable idea.

    Another group simply went out to dinner together in January with a strictly "no gifts allowed" policy.

    llg
  12. by   nursemary9
    Hi

    I agree with you all!! 100% !!

    People are talking about it & have been for several weeks. No one has made any decisions yet & I personally suggested we do nothing except bring in various dishes over Chrstmas.

    We usually do a grab bag with $20.00 limit. HOWEVER, there is a lot of bad feeling on my floor this year & so we may end up doing nothing except the potluck--- who knows, we may even end up not doing that!!
  13. by   llg
    I'd even vote against the pot luck. Not everyone is a great cook.

    llg
  14. by   mercyteapot
    You know what's funny about potlucks where I live? Hardly anyone cooks for them! When I was growing up, (and Tweety, even though I'm from- insert dramatic music here- the North- end dramatic music- we always called them covered dish dinners, too) you actually made something from scratch to share at these functions. It isn't just where I work, either, ever since I moved here almost 20 years ago, it has surprised me that people bring stuff like deli chicken and potato salad, cupcakes from a supermarket bakery, fruit salad that's sold in a tub, delivery pizza, etc to these affairs. So, it doesn't matter if you're a great cook or not, but it also takes some of the fun out of doing this in the first place. The one type of exchange that I used to enjoy was a cookie exchange, until people started showing up with crap from Von's... it kind of defeats the purpose!

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