It’s almost December, and you may already have an unexplained, uneasy feeling in your chest. It’s coming, and whether you realize it or not, it can be very stressful for everyone at your company.
As temperatures fall, and retailers gear up for the coming holidays, it’s time to start thinking about all those people we need to buy gifts for. And in many workplaces, this includes making one of the trickiest purchases of them all — a gift for The Office Holiday Gift Exchange.
The whole thing is a potential disaster.
What if there’s someone new to your organization — how will they buy a gift for someone they don’t really know yet?
What if one of your junior executives (near the bottom of the pay scale) draws the name of your top salesperson (near the top of the pay scale) — how can they afford something that will measure up?
What if there’s someone in your company who objects to the entire season (for religious, philosophical or cultural reasons) — can you say politically incorrect?
And imagine the ultimate holiday horror — drawing the boss’s name! Has anyone ever ascended the corporate ladder after giving their boss a Chia Pet?
Don't get me wrong — I like giving and receiving gifts as much as anybody, but I really don’t need another crystal paperweight. Why not get into the true spirit of the season — and lighten things up at the same time?
Let me suggest The Office Holiday Toy Exchange.
It’s easy, fun, it supports a good cause, and it’s safe.
Have everyone secretly draw the name of someone else at the company. Set a price limit (say, $25), and have everyone buy a toy that represents their person.
Everyone should wrap the toys and bring them to a company get-together just before Christmas.
Now, the pressure’s off. If the new employee draws the bookkeeper, he can buy a toy cash register. If the junior exec draws the sales king, she can buy a toy boat. Let’s say your receptionist is the “conscientious objector” — then a toy telephone is OK.
Whoever draws the boss can buy something hobby-related (and less careerthreatening) like a set of toy golf clubs. And just watch how much fun your longstanding employees have poking a little good-natured fun at each other.
The point is, everyone will have a good time. And they’ll feel good about what they’ve done for some needy kids in our area. Take the unwrapped toys and donate them to the charitable organizations of your choice.
When I remember the Christmases of my childhood, the Mader Family Christmas Tree always had plenty of gifts under it.
Thanks to my hard-working parents, and the grace of God, my sister and I always had gifts to open.
I know there are a lot of you with similar memories.
So, let’s have toy exchanges this year. We can even things up on that big scoreboard in the sky — and help some kids, too. Merry Christmas!