Why I Hate Company Gift Exchanges

gift exchange

Why I Hate Company Gift Exchanges

I know it’s a pretty strong title for a blog post, but it truly is how I feel (and warning right now – I may have used a few curse words in the post). Just last week my hubby came home with this little gem:declutter

This has come into our home as a result of a company gift exchange from my husband’s work. Each person in his group needed to spend a minimum of $35. After dinner, they had a ‘Chinese Gift Exchange’. If you have never participated in a Chinese Gift Exchange, here are the ‘Coles Notes’:

Everyone is given a number and all the gifts are put in a central location. The first participant draws or calls a gift’s number. The first player selects a gift and sits down and proceeds to open it. The second player then goes. They either choose a gift from the pile or may take the gift from the first. This is called stealing. Subsequent players follow. If someone is a victim of a theft, he/she may steal or select a number. My hubby’s group had a rule where they could only steal up to 3 times per round.

According to eHow:

“A gift exchange is fun and eliminates stress.  A Chinese gift exchange removes the burden and stress of purchasing a gift for everyone. It encourages conversation, humor and memories.”

 I agree with 1 out of those 3 statements.

Conversation, Humor and Memories

I agree! My family on my mom’s side used to do this (as I have a very large extended family on my mom’s side with 22 cousins and 14 aunts and uncles). I still have fond memories of going through the exchanges and stealing!   When I worked with a group of people, we often did Chinese Gift Exchanges. Again, there were plenty of laughs had by all.

Eliminates Stress

Sorry, but I call bullshit on this one. How is shopping for any sex, any age stress free? You certainly don’t want to be the one who bought the shitty gift and you definitely don’t want to be the pompous ass who goes overboard and is show-boaty. It’s a no-win situation. Honestly, what can you buy for $35 that hits a homerun?

For my hubby’s case, he didn’t even realize there was a gift exchange until 30 minutes prior to the dinner starting (and I will say that totally falls on him as he’s not always a careful reader). What did he end up getting?  A $35 gift certificate to the mall (and then got show-boaty and got a $15 gift basket from The Bath and Body Works store).  He actually spent $50!

Removes The Burden and Stress of Purchasing a Gift for Everyone

Hmm…I just know when I used to work with a group of people, we never bought gifts for everyone. We may have bought gifts for someone in our team, but that’s it. So this ‘positive spin’ on a Chinese Gift Exchange really isn’t a positive spin for me.

No Bah Hum Bug

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I showed you an image of what came into my home last week. But instead of being so negative, let’s see if I can wrestle up some positive things about this:

Well, according to the box, not only will I get flat abs, my hubby will too! I can hardly wait the 2 of us to look like this [insert a fit of laughter here]!

Boxing 1

But really, I can hardly wait for this


to become a new clothes dryer for my son. I can just see his stinky hockey equipment draped all over it.  Ugh!


Here is why I despise work gift exchanges (in no particular order):

  1. You come home with things you don’t need thus it goes against everything I believe in and am trying to instill in my children.  If you don’t need it, then don’t buy it.  I would have NEVER bought this for anyone in my family.  As it turns out, we kind-of spent $50 for this (as that’s the amount my hubby spent on his gift).
  2. You have to figure out what to do with the item(s) when you bring it home. If I had my way, this wouldn’t have ever been opened and I would have donated it. Now it’s opened, it most likely will go to the basement while my hubby ‘thinks’ he’s going to use it (and I’ll bet you a dollar it never gets used). When this thought passes with him, it will be me who will need to donate it.  Don’t get me wrong – if I had my way it would never go to the basement.  Since my hubby ‘thinks’ he’ll use it, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
  3. You spend money on gifts for people you don’t necessarily know.  You all know how I hate wasting money.  Enough said.

A designer friend of mine, Joanne Galbraith  said the following when she heard about the gift exchange:

“I think the money each person would spend should be pooled and given to a charity.”

This is a great idea! There are many people who are in need – especially at this time of year.

I am so thankful that my hubby only had one gift exchange this year. I’d love to hear what kind of ‘Secret Santa’ or ‘Chinese Gift Exchange’ you ever got (good or bad).

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