No holiday season would be complete without the obligatory office party. Depending on your workplace and the rapport you have with coworkers, you may be looking forward to it, or you’ll be clenching your teeth. Either way, it’s likely you’ll be expected to bring a gift for the white elephant gift exchange. Like the party itself, the gift exchange can either be a ton of fun or a whole lot of awkward. To avoid the latter, at least from the standpoint of a gift giver (we can’t guarantee Jill from accounting won’t end up giving you her late mother’s foot massager), read on for some affordable failsafe gift ideas.
1) My Lil’ Pie Maker Set
Everyone likes pie, and everyone loves things in miniatures. Teacup pigs, miniature cupcakes, personal pizzas. The My Lil’ Pie Maker Set (just $9.99 on Amazon) allows you to create a tiny, personal-size pie within minutes. You know you want it. And it’s a safe bet most people on your holiday gift list would appreciate it too. They may even be willing to share a slice in gratitude!
2) Ugly Christmas Sweater Kit
The ugly Christmas sweater is always in style, at least during the month of December. Even Whoopi Goldberg has gotten in on it, donning her own designs! You could buy an ugly Christmas sweater from a thrift store for about $5-10, or you can stoke the flames of fun and creativity by gifting an ugly Christmas sweater-making kit, like this one available from Amazon. Prices range depending on the selection, but most varieties are priced under $30.
Candles are a pretty traditional Christmas gift, which makes them a safe choice for even the most conservative group. Some folks go a little nuts over the things (we get it—the struggle to not smell every candle in the aisle is very real). Others’ feelings are a bit more tepid. But everyone can find a use for it, whether in their own home or as a stocking stuffer for someone else. When it comes to candles, the best type to gift is the three-wick type, which is generally easier to light and burns more evenly for longer use. Seasonal scents are particularly great for holiday get-togethers, like this Champagne Toast scent from Bath and Body Works, which also comes in varieties like Black Tie and Holiday Sparkle.
What would the holidays be without candy? As with pie, it’s a safe bet that at least 90 percent of folks can’t resist a piece of candy here and there. For an easy yet creative gift, veer away from the generic grocery aisle varieties and make a stop by your local import store, or shop online for some old-fashioned or international treats like this old-time selection from Nuts.com or these Dutch licorice cats from World Market.
5) Gift Cards
Sure, gift cards may not be the most original gift idea, but they are definitely a hit in most circles. If you’re looking for something to give a coworker or boss, try giving a gift card for a local coffee shop near the office. If you happen to know a bit more about the recipient (perhaps they’re a bookworm, or they always eat at the same lunch spot on Fridays), you can buy a gift card more specific to the individual.
6) Awkward Family Photos
Serve up some laughs with this collection of awkward family photos available for about $11 at Amazon, or in local book stores. It’s bound to strike up some joyful noise at the party, and will make a great coffee table addition afterward. Just be sure to save this one for those you know to have a healthy sense of humor, and avoid giving it to anyone whose desk is proudly adorned with an awkward family photo of their own.
7) Perfect Bacon Bowl
Bacon was the food of the year in 2016, with just about every food imaginable taking on a bacon-flavored variation. The Perfect Bacon Bowl allows you to avoid the hassle of a regular dish and eat the bowl taco-shell style after consuming its contents. It’s not only perfect for bacon-lovers, but for those who refuse to wash their dishes in the break room. Best of all, it only costs about $5 for a two-pack!
Whether you’re scouring the Internet for the perfect gift to give your boss, or are looking for something affordable yet classy to gift at a neighborhood party, we hope these white elephant ideas will give you the inspiration you need. Have a go-to white elephant gift of your own? Share it in the comments!