The business on business: Unusual Holiday Gifts in the Office: New CareerBuilder Survey

Gift exchange events in the office can get really inappropriate, really fast – all it takes is one coworker to take the idea of a gag gift one step too far. CareerBuilder’s annual holiday survey asked workers across the U.S. to share the most unusual gift they have received from a fellow employee during the holiday season.  

The national survey was conducted nationally online by Harris Poll from August 11 to September 7, 2016 and included more than 3,300 employees (of which 3,133 are in the private sector) and 2,379 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.

Twenty-two percent of workers say they plan to buy holiday gifts for coworkers, and 21 percent plan to buy a gift for the boss, similar to last year.

Of those who plan to buy gifts for their coworkers or bosses, the majority (73 percent) expect to spend no more than $25 on each gift, 33 percent will cap their spending at $10 and 11 percent will spend $5 or less.

Most Unusual Gifts

Traditional holiday gifts are still office regulars: ornaments, gift cards, books and candy, but some workers may not know where “the line” is when it comes to holiday gift-giving at work. The following are among the most unusual presents workers received from co-workers:

    Two left-handed gloves

    Coconut bra

    Jar of gravy

    A fake lottery ticket

    A real stuffed duck

    Toilet paper that looked like money

    Post-it Notes

    Dish detergent

    A pen holder that looks like a crime scene victim

    A comic book of an obscure movie

    A handmade ornament for a sports team the recipient had never heard   of

    A singing chicken

    A whip

Employers Spreading the Holiday Cheer

While 46 percent of employers plan to give their employees gifts this year – on par with last year - they are also finding other ways to get into the holiday spirit.

    Parties: 69 percent of employers plan on throwing a holiday party for employees this year – up 3 percent from last year.

    Bonuses: 54 percent of employers plan to give employees holiday bonuses this year – the same as 2015 – but 15 percent say the bonus will be greater than last year.

    Charity: Nearly half of all employers (48 percent) plan to enrich the lives of others outside of the office by making charitable donations, on par with last year.

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