Help with etiquette of office gift swaps

On Tuesday we are going to have a gift swap. You know the kind: draw a name, give that person a gift, $10 maximum cost.

Even though the draw was a couple weeks ago, I haven’t bought the gift. Mainly because I had no idea what to get. I barely recognize the person I drew by name as being an employee, we’ve never interacted in any way, and I have zero idea of what he might like. Assuming I’m picturing the right person, he’s 30ish, and I think he’s single, though I’m not sure why I think that.

Anyway, I’m terrible at finding interesting gifts. Mostly because I keep thinking that if there were anything out there that would bring happiness into your life that only cost ten bucks – wouldn’t you already have one or more of it? Which leaves the stupid novelty gifts, candy, knick knacks…and, really how many novelty mugs does any one person need???

Okay, so I kept putting off looking for a gift. And now it is blizzarding. :frowning: The idea of shoveling out and heading to a mall just appalls me.

OTOH, I have spent all of yesterday and so far half of today baking cookies. TONS of cookies. GOOD cookies, if I say so myself. I have cardamon/nutmeg flavored sugar cookies, I have raspberry thumbprints, I have apricot bars, I have chocolate angels (hey, who says angels have to be white?), I have shortbread, I have date nut pinwheels, I have chocolate crinkles, I have… Well, enough cookies to put half the diabetics in American into sugar shock.
Soooo — would it be ‘acceptible’ to use an assortment of cookies as a gift exchange present? I mean, if you got a box like that in a gift exchange, would your first reaction be:

a) Cookies! Yummy!


b) Cookies?? What, the cheap bastard couldn’t even go out and spend ten lousy bucks?
Be honest, please. If I have to, I will put on my big girl panties and brave the stores tomorrow after work.

I’d go with the cookies. Every 30-something single guy I know would appreciate some homemade goodies at Christmas. Put em in a fancy tin and you’re good to go.

I’d be happy with cookies. I love cookies. It’s also not some useless ten-dollar thing I’ll have to find a use for, or a candle or body wash I hate the smell of, etc. Gift exchanges sort of suck when you don’t know the people well enough to choose something other than a generic “hope she won’t hate it” sort of gift.

HOMEMADE cookies. Even if he’s not single, or even if he’s quite an accomplished baker himself, he will probably love the cookies. You put a little of yourself into the gift, you didn’t just go out and buy some useless knickknack.

I hate workplace gift exchanges, but getting homemade cookies would be great.

Go with the cookies.

You could top the gift with a cheapy ornament, preferably a re-gifted one you don’t like, and then there’s a store-bought thing to satisfy any perceived requirement.

I’ve been stuck where you are several times. A crappy feeling to be sure.

Give cookies. When I’ve done that or similar it’s worked well. Although home-baked cookies has more novelty value coming from a guy, so that may have contributed to the good outcomes.

I’d love getting cookies. Make sure you add a tag or something that says they’re home made and when they were made. And wrap them up so they stay fresh.

I’m sure he’ll be disappointed it wasn’t a tie.:wink:

Okay! Since it was nearly unanimous (a $10 tie?) I’m going with the cookies. I already have tins and other wrappings (we have a tradition of giving cookies to certain neighbors and elderly shutins, the main reason we have to many cookies to begin with) so I’m all set. Yay!
And, hey, if he doesn’t like cookies, I’ll offer to swap with whatever I get given. :cool:

Single 30-something year old guy here. Go with the cookies. I would love to get a tin of homemade cookies in a Secret Santa/Gift Swap. Way better than anything $10 could buy.

I say LUCKY YOU that you couldn’t think of a $10 crap gift AND you have a ton of homemade cookies sitting around. You and the gift-getter both win! :slight_smile:

Just to be somewhat cautious, make sure he knows which cookies have nuts in them (if any) in case he has a nut allergy or someone he might share them with has a nut allergy.

Another single, 30-something guy here and I’d absolutely love to get homemade cookies.

I thought I was being nice to someone that didn’t bake by giving them some rosettes. I left them with a note. I soon had a giant box of many different cookies delivered in person. It worked out well that year because the next thing I tried to make after the rosettes deeply sliced my finger open. I couldn’t do dishes for a few weeks so no cookie baking. We used to shovel out the parking area together too. She was a very good next door apartment dweller.

Last winter somebody lost a small garbage bag of ugly ties along the road that the snow plow then hit. There had to be about 30 of them scattered.

Another single guy, another vote for cookies. But if you want to buy something instead, beer, a half-pint of booze, or a gift card work, too.

Cookies? Hell, yeah! :smiley:

I’d actually be a bit worried your officemates are going to think you showed them up! :cool:

But, yeah, Cookies are a better gift than almost anything you could get for $10, especially for someone you don’t know very well.

What is your office’s culture regarding holiday food? Around my office, people bring in cookies, cake, or some other treats on offer nearly every day in December. If yours is like that, it could look like you’re cheaping out – making a gift out of something that people are giving away free every day. If cookies, etc., are a rarity, however, then that’s not a worry.

If you decide against baking something, your best bet gift-wise would probably be a gift card to someplace general, like Macy’s, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

My horror tale of Office Gift Swaps happened the first year at my new job. Drawing my giftee, and only allowed back then to spend 5.00 per pressie, I toddled down to the El Cheapo Crappe Shoppe and bought a table-top **Christmas Tree** fashioned out of lovely silver wire and stuff.

She opened her gift at the Xmas Party, and was aghast at what she saw. Well, how the FUCK was I meant to know she was Jewish?? :smiley:

Anyway, cookies sound grand. I always love getting homemade gifts, especially of the edible variety. Biscuits, shortbreads, vinegars and home-made pickles are wonderful gifts, and nobody would be disappointed with such a lovely present!


I wish you had drawn my name; I’d love cookies and I’m sure your recipient will as well.

But what if he’s married, and his wife’s also a great cook, and makes lots of cookies each year? Someone like me? Oh yeah, I’d still want the cookies!