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Old 12-14-2015, 02:00 PM   #21
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I second the suggestions of wine (can buy some very good vino for less than $15, and it will probably get stolen several times) and re-gifting (got rid of a hideous gift that way; for some reason, the person who got the re-gift thought it was wonderful). Me, I always went for the bath/toiletry sets that others brought. I love bath products, and fortunately am not allergic to scented products.

From the broader perspective, "holiday" parties are a love/hate thing with almost every work group I've been part of, and that's a large number. I don't have to attend them now that I'm just a part-time consultant While working, I always dreaded them, until about halfway through...when I realized that I was having a pretty good time just being silly with other silly people.

The ones at restaurants were the worst (invariably, terrible crowd food) while the potlucks in the actual office, where we all brought our favorite things to eat, were the best.

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So my work is having our group's Christmas party potluck and has a $15 white elephant gift exchange. OK, I am good with that, but what just sits wrong with my FIRE attitude is why spend money (or regift) on some stupid crap item nobody would want? I can understand the gift exchange, we do the draw numbers and then you can pick unwrapped or steal process, can be some fun. I can't understand spending money on something a person will not like and get stuck with? Many co-workers do try and have a good gift item, but several make an effort to have something ridiculous.

To me giving some useless junk that is just a waste of money defeats the purpose of a gift exchange. Can someone help me improve my attitude about this? Right now my only consolation is this is the last time I put up with this. My DW said to just put up with it and try to have fun, but I am forbidden from throwing away my gift at work if I do not like it.
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:10 PM   #22
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I always hated these stupid gifts that nobody wants, also.
I love those! I call them "targets".

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It doesn't with me. I don't drink alcoholic beverages of any kind, and neither does F. A gift like that would end up in a dumpster before I even got home, if I received it, and I would be a little cranky about it. And no, I wouldn't re-gift it.
Don't you even cook with wine? I don't drink it (not that I don't drink, but I don't like wine), but I use it to cook with a lot. Makes great sauces, and after cooking there's no alcohol remaining. Don't consider it a beverage, consider it a condiment.
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:30 PM   #23
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This is the perfect opportunity to "re-gift" something that you have on a shelf from the last time you went to one of these...
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Old 12-14-2015, 02:46 PM   #24
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There are a lot of decent bottles of wine for $15. Buy two and enjoy one yourself while you're at it.


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Old 12-14-2015, 03:32 PM   #25
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This kind of stuff reminds me of the upsurge in the "ugly sweater" Christmas party. What's the point of buying an ugly sweater?

I think the OP isn't objecting to the 15 bucks.. it's the white elephant part he doesn't like and I agree I don't want to buy something worthless and then take another something worthless home. Having said that, our local Menards had the perfect white elephant gift on sale for under 15 dollars, it was a plastic R2D2 Starwars showerhead!
You got my point, it is not the money, it is wasting the money on some crap item. I have no problem getting something good to bring to the exchange. $15 is not going to affect my retirement plans.

We can't bring alcohol into work, even unopened; I guess I could just put a picture and swap in parking lot, but it supposed to be somewhat anonymous. The gift card is a good idea, and Starbucks seems to be a very popular one that most anyone would appreciate. Might just do a gift card.

Maybe I should buy some lotto scratchoff tickets, that would be be potentially be more effective for some coworker's retirement
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Old 12-14-2015, 04:14 PM   #26
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Maybe I should buy some lotto scratchoff tickets, that would be be potentially be more effective for some coworker's retirement
Way back when my family (brothers and sisters) exchanged gifts, I drew my older sisters name and that is what I did. Where she lived didn't have the lottery at the time, so I got her some lottery tickets and a bottle of wine and a card saying use the wine to celebrate if you win, and/or drown your sorrows if you don't. Needless to say she didn't win!
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Old 12-14-2015, 04:20 PM   #27
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We didn't have those parties at work, but a relative did for a while. I always bought a bottle of wine or a gift card to a local grocery store. Everybody buys stuff at a grocery store. I figured everybody either drank wine or knew someone who did, but apparently I was mistaken.
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Old 12-14-2015, 10:34 PM   #28
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This is a pet peeve of mine. To most people "white elephant" means anything laying around the house. The solution is if you are going to have a party either make it a "white elephant" party and no dollar figure even mentioned OR just call it a gift exchange with a $15 gift value. It helps to greatly reduce the confusion.
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Old 12-15-2015, 12:11 AM   #29
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The ones at restaurants were the worst (invariably, terrible crowd food) while the potlucks in the actual office, where we all brought our favorite things to eat, were the best.
I attended a (non-w*rk) potluck today. The organizers assigned everyone to bring either entrees, desserts or beverages, but there were three different types of meatballs, two salmon dishes, and no green veggies, so it was not a balanced meal. But we had a good time anyhow!
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Old 12-15-2015, 01:10 AM   #30
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John Oliver has a few suggestions:


1 day ago - Uploaded by LastWeekTonight
You will receive at least one horrible gift this month. John Oliver has some tips for getting rid of it ...
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Old 12-15-2015, 03:14 AM   #31
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We have a white elephant gift exchange at work and a couple organizations that I belong to. I find some ugly thing (search friends and family house there's always some piece of junk) that blends in with all the other ugly things being offered up. I then hide/attach a gift card that goes with whatever group party I'm attending: garden club gets a gift card to local garden center, work people get a gift card to wine store, car club gets a gift card to auto supply store. I just can't give someone a piece of junk. I let the person know that there's a gift card attached so they don't throw it out. The piece of junk that I receive is given to someone else at the party that really likes it "cause I already have one" or it goes in the trash. I usually take special care when I wrap my gifts but not for the white elephant exchange cause people would recognize my package. I do the worst wrapping job I can manage. I make sure that no one sees me drop off my gift. Most people in these organization know by now that there's a "real" gift in with the junk and other people have started doing this. People are now trying to keep the junky gift that they picked cause it might have a gift card attached. This year I taped a Starbucks gift card to the bottom of a can of cookies that I stole from my girlfriend, no one looks at the bottom of the can. I also stole a 4 pack of toilet paper from a sister's house, slit the plastic wrapping and inserted a gift card inside. So have some fun with the gift exchange.
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Old 12-15-2015, 03:56 AM   #32
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Our community band has a potluck Christmas party each year. The White Elephant gift exchange is part of it, and it can be quite fun. This year DH and DS are going, so we have 3 gifts. Two will be used, but nice, (an extra mini crock pot and a ceramic Dickens house) and the third will be a food item, which is always a hit amongst the guys in the group. Gift cards are excellent, especially for things like Starbucks or gas. It was fun to watch the food items get reclaimed by people while the gag gifts were great for laughs.

As band president I'm in charge this year. It's so nice not to be w***ing, I can go early to set up! It is usually a fun evening.


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Old 12-15-2015, 05:34 AM   #33
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There never are any green vegetables, except for sliced-veg trays. But I am not looking for balanced, I'm looking for "Oh, that looks fun to try!"

Anyway, why am I even prattling on...I don't go to these anymore! 34 years of them was quite enough :-)

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I attended a (non-w*rk) potluck today. The organizers assigned everyone to bring either entrees, desserts or beverages, but there were three different types of meatballs, two salmon dishes, and no green veggies, so it was not a balanced meal. But we had a good time anyhow!
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Old 12-15-2015, 09:24 AM   #34
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I attended a (non-w*rk) potluck today. The organizers assigned everyone to bring either entrees, desserts or beverages, but there were three different types of meatballs, two salmon dishes, and no green veggies, so it was not a balanced meal. But we had a good time anyhow!
Wine is a vegetable...
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Old 12-15-2015, 09:58 AM   #35
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For a fact, wine is a fruit! Healthy either way

That doesn't change the fact that DoD rules prevented us from ever opening the gift bottles on-site. Then again, probably just as well. I cannot drink so much as a drop and still drive, so I would've had to crash in the office overnight.

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Old 12-15-2015, 10:29 AM   #36
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Yes, you should just embrace it as $15 spent on entertainment. Our party often sees several of the same gifts re-distributed year after year - it's kind of an in-joke at this point. But it's funny to see what people want to steal - especially if some of the silly items would be good for kids....it's the holidays - don't be a Scrooge!
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:44 AM   #37
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Our holiday gift exchange was pretty fun. But the things that moved were very specific:

- booze (wine/beer/hard stuff)
- gift cards to home depot or best buy or starbucks
- tool sets
- chocolate
- booze.

We did the game where you could steal a previously unwrapped gift - so the non-drinkers didn't have to worry about getting stuck with booze. The booze was ALWAYS stolen the max number of times.

I used to joke it should be called the booze exchange.

Gifts that didn't go ever well
- nads (a hair removal product)
- protein powder supplement
- various decorative items/scented candles.
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:43 PM   #38
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So I decided to just get the lotto tickets, $10 and $5 scratch-offs that are both Christmas holiday themed, nothing against work rules for this type gambling

I will update this after the potluck and gift exchange to let you all know how it went. I do have a cheesy hash brown casserole dish I am bringing that seems to be a favorite of my co-workers, no worries about any leftovers! So I already know that the food part will go over well. Have to get up extra early to put it in oven to bake though
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Old 12-16-2015, 12:39 AM   #39
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We have a white elephant gift exchange at work and a couple organizations that I belong to. I find some ugly thing (search friends and family house there's always some piece of junk) that blends in with all the other ugly things being offered up. I then hide/attach a gift card that goes with whatever group party I'm attending: garden club gets a gift card to local garden center, work people get a gift card to wine store, car club gets a gift card to auto supply store. I just can't give someone a piece of junk. I let the person know that there's a gift card attached so they don't throw it out. The piece of junk that I receive is given to someone else at the party that really likes it "cause I already have one" or it goes in the trash. I usually take special care when I wrap my gifts but not for the white elephant exchange cause people would recognize my package. I do the worst wrapping job I can manage. I make sure that no one sees me drop off my gift. Most people in these organization know by now that there's a "real" gift in with the junk and other people have started doing this. People are now trying to keep the junky gift that they picked cause it might have a gift card attached. This year I taped a Starbucks gift card to the bottom of a can of cookies that I stole from my girlfriend, no one looks at the bottom of the can. I also stole a 4 pack of toilet paper from a sister's house, slit the plastic wrapping and inserted a gift card inside. So have some fun with the gift exchange.
That is the spirit, having fun making up the gift.

Best one I ever did was I got wooden wine crates from the wine store (for free). It held 4 or 5 bottles, so I bought cheap wine (there is some for $3 that you can drink) and put it into the crate.

Folks were blown away by the sight of it, as it looked like a really expensive gift and was still useful for drinking/cooking.

The fun I had coming up with the idea, then wrapping it and sneaking it into work so few witnesses was worth it.
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Old 12-16-2015, 04:24 PM   #40
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That is the spirit, having fun making up the gift.

Best one I ever did was I got wooden wine crates from the wine store (for free). It held 4 or 5 bottles, so I bought cheap wine (there is some for $3 that you can drink) and put it into the crate.

Folks were blown away by the sight of it, as it looked like a really expensive gift and was still useful for drinking/cooking.

The fun I had coming up with the idea, then wrapping it and sneaking it into work so few witnesses was worth it.
I really enjoy fun gifts. A friend stopped over to show me the white elephant gift that she got at her party yesterday. It was a can of paint from the leftovers at Home Depot. Really ugly color and no one tried to steal it from her. There was a $50 gift card taped to the bottom. She was blown away because their gifts were suppose to be $15. She did try to find out who did the gift in case they made a mistake with the 50 card but no one owned up to it.
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