7 Alternatives to Traditional Gift Exchanges in the Office – #1 Don’t Do it

“Christmas means carnage,” Ferdinand, the duck in the movie, Babe: Pig in the City. A feast for one is tragedy for another.

I hope you put an end to traditional gift exchanges in your office.


7 alternatives to gift exchanges in the office:

  1. Don’t have gift exchanges. Don’t force people to give gifts to colleagues and co-workers.
  2. Have lunch or dinner together, rather than exchanging gifts.
  3. Gag gifts can be a fun alternative to traditional gift exchanges in the office.
  4. Organize a White Elephant Gift Exchange. I’ve done this several times. It’s hilarious.
  5. Encourage those who want to exchange gifts with coworkers do it outside the office.
  6. If you have an exchange, set a very low dollar limit, after all, it’s the thought that counts.
  7. Strengthen internal connection by focusing generosity on outsiders.
    • Adopt a needy family.
    • Participate in a community project.
    • Visit a nursing home.
    • Give blood.


All rules have exceptions. Perhaps you’re in a small tight knit office. Maybe it’s a family business where traditional gift exchanges make sense.

Even in these situations, you might consider turning toward outsiders, when celebrating the holidays together.

What alternative to traditional gift exchanges might better serve the spirit of Christmas?