You already know office parties are tricky as it is, so, let’s just nix the whole Secret Santa thing. But then someone says “oh let’s bring white elephant gifts.” That sounds doable. The whole premise to white elephant gifts is number one they are more of a gag gift, they are to be wrapped, and are supposed to cost under ten dollars, and you definitely do not want to be attached to them, because someone is going to get the opportunity to steal whatever gift you end up with anyway. Here’s hoping you don’t end up with your own.
So what is appropriate for the office? Appropriate is a key word here. Key your white elephant gift tasteful and unoffensive. A good start is to consider the industry you work in. Let’s say you work in aviation. A couple of great ideas are the little kids plastic airplanes, the flat wooden model you can purchase in a craft shop and put together. A t-shirt with an airplane, or other aviation themed graphic, or a mug with an airplane on it is also a good idea. I personally like the little cheezy metal air planes that wind up, make nose, and roll across the floor with the propellars moving. But for a few bucks you can get a fiarly decent model airplane at a hobby shop that the recipient will take pride in taking home. You can also find pilot and flight attendant dolls in the toy store that make for a great white elephant gift.
If you have someone that is a teacher or in the education field, you can get really creative with your white elephant gift. I have seen the stack of wooden books (of course they are not real and won’t separate) that makes for a great gift. You can alsi purchase a miniature blackboard with a package of chalk from a local toy store. Another great idea is a wooden apple and a package of rubber worms as a side dish. A package of pens with crazy toppers is also a good idea, again keep it tasteful as hopefully the person will be able to use these in the classroom.
If you know work in the medical field, what better than a play doctor or nurse kit from the toy store? If you want to get creative with it, buy a pair of scrubs, which are now dirt cheap and personalize with for the profession with a unique or catchy saying or graphic of some sort. If you want to have the top gift for the season, stop at the toy store and pick up the game “Operation.” This white elephant gift will get stolen the maximum amount of times. Again, consider the field and keep it tasteful.
If you work in a law office, a good White Elephant gift is a rubber or plastic shark which you should be able to find at a toy store. If you are creative and know how to paint or draw, paint a picture of sharks at the bottom of the ocean with their brief cases on the way to court.
If you have friends that are musicians you can always buy toy instruments as a white elephant gift. Also musical mugs and t-shits make good gifts. At least those are useable gift items. Another great gift idea for musicians are CD’s or rare (not expensive) but rare LP’s that are of the same type of music they play. This is a gift they will not only enjoy but appreciate – barring they get to keep it that is.
If you have friends that work in the acting field, are pursuing drama, or theater degrees, or they are aspiring actors, pick up a pair of dark shades and a throw away camera. Put them in a bag as a “Papparazzi Defense Package.” They do after all want to be a star one day, so they may as well prepare to deal with the drama that comes with it. And if that is not enough, go to the craft store and get the material to make a star, put a picture of them in the center and dub them “A Star.”