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Gift ideas for 25 coworkers


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Initial post: Nov 10, 2008 4:51:45 PM PST
C. Tien says:
I just found out that everyone at work is getting gifts for everyone else. I don't make a lot of money so I need to find something that I can afford to buy 25 of and not go broke. I'm hoping to get ideas of gifts that they won't throw away as soon as I turn to walk away. My coworkers are between 20-50 years old. Any ideas? THanks everybody.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2008 5:16:35 PM PST
T. Gardipee says:
Hmm... A Candle!! You can get some nice scented candles at the Dollar Tree? But me... I would just call in sick that day and skip the whole deal. Not to be mean about it or anything I just think that gift giving should be optional because ALOT of people can't afford it. Maybe suggest drawing names with the people that want to do it.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2008 6:16:34 PM PST
Bake cookies or cupcakes and wrap in some colored plastic wrap and tie with a ribbon.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2008 6:25:54 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2008 6:27:25 PM PST
H2O says:
I agree that having to buy 25 gifts it terrible. I would strongly suggest to whom ever is in charge to do secret Santa or name exchange.
If you really need to do it I would get 25 Christmas cards (even really nice looking ones are reasonable) and then attach a bag of homemade cookies, or candies. If you can't or don't want to cook just break up a variety of wrapped candies into baggies. Food is always safe, everyone eats or can give it to someone else that eats. I would avoid peanuts just to be safe. If you know someone is diabetic that might be harder but if you don't know hey, they know other that can eat it. Dollar Tree does have 10 Christmas cellophane baggies for $1 that would make it look fancier. That shouldn't cost too much I would hope under $60. It will still cost real money but it's a little more personal. Even though HAVING to buy for 25 is not personal at all.

Opps typed too slow they beat me

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2008 7:17:35 PM PST
B. Chesney says:
I know what you mean. A lot of us are in the same boat. For the last couple of years I've been buying those lottery scratch cards for my co-workers. It's not a lot of money and everyone has a good time with them. Of course it depends on whether these are available where you live. Our office gets so many goodies from clients that baking doesn't go over very big.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2008 8:46:47 PM PST
If you don't want to bake, you can also buy chocolates. A wrapped chocolate bar is usually a welcome gift.

Or you can make ornaments for everyone. They sell many kits for this in craft stores.

Or you could buy something small, quirky, and useful...such as a wine bottle stopper, a shot glass, or some other kitchen implement...anything like that, individually wrapped with a cute note.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2008 6:09:51 AM PST
C. Tien says:
Oh wow! I totally didn't think of giving food as gifts. I've made cupcakes for a pot luck before and gotten tons of complements, so I think that's what I'll do! And I can wrap them in pretty pieces of cellphane. Thank you all SO much for your ideas. I truly, truly appreciate it, and agree that it's so unreasonable to have to buy 25 gifts. I'm sure I'm not the only one to think so at work either. Thank you again everyone!!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2008 11:59:36 AM PST
:) says:
I've had the same problem in the past. What I have done is enclose a $1 scratch off lotto ticket in a Christmas card. Everyone seemed to enjoy the chance to win some money.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2008 1:27:40 PM PST
M. Nastasi says:
I've faced a similar dilemma in the past, and had great success with a single food item to be consumed by the entire office. A nice cake can be a big hit, and a cheese/meat/fruit tray can also be an easy-to-prepare treat for a large group.

Best of luck on your quest for the perfect inexpensive gifting option!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2008 5:45:53 PM PST
C. Tien says:
Thanks B. Chesney and ":)" for the fabulous lottery ticket idea! Originally I had already decided to bake cupcakes, because I know the whole office loves my baking, but didn't take into consideration the amount of baked goods we'll prolly be getting from our suppliers and clients. On top of that, I already bake for the office about once a month, so I'm sure it would be fun to get something different. Lottery tickets are inexpensive and fun. Thanks guys!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2008 5:46:02 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 11, 2008 5:46:21 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2008 8:43:32 PM PST
Ella Grosso says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2008 8:49:18 PM PST
julie blood says:
I think you should bake cookies and decorate them, make fudge, or maybe cranberry bread. you can get some great recipes online and some ideals on tins, boxes or baskets to package your gifts.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2008 5:55:56 AM PST
C. Tien says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2008 6:08:59 AM PST
S. Sparks says:
Two years ago I had the same thing happen. I bought a cd label making program and made 24 x-mas cd's, bought two cases of two buck chuck wine attached the cd's with ribbon and that was that.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2008 8:45:39 AM PST
Emjay says:
I do the one gift for everyone when times are tough or I am having a particular busy year. Your office should be cognizant of this.

Ideas (mostly found at Costco - sorry amazon): Large tin of cookies; any kind of chocolate; little chocolate "bottles" of spirits (alcohol samples - really quite a hit); bakery cookies; brownie bites; assorted varieties of "pastries" in large plastic containers (these could also be broken down and given individually in the 10 for a $1 bags indicated above. GOOD LUCK!!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2008 11:45:02 AM PST
Nadja says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2008 9:40:47 PM PST
J. Kappes says:
First aid kits? Seriously?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2008 9:36:13 AM PST
Christy Wood says:
I have the same issue, but we have about 40 people in our unit - ouch. One idea is that Oriental Trading has a few cute things (some remarkably cheesy and cheap) but you can get bulk stuff that's reasonable for a lot of people.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2008 9:46:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 23, 2008 9:47:12 AM PST
C. Tien says:
Ouch! You're worse off than I am! I think mini-stockings filled iwth a few pieces of candy or other little things would work well. As Emjay suggested, little chocolate bottles filled with liquor is a great idea! Maybe even personalize the mini-stockings w/ coworkers' names?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2008 10:08:09 AM PST
sumadis says:
bake brownies and cut em into small bite-sized squares. give each person a small package with an x-mas card.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2008 10:26:46 AM PST
Shana Banana says:
Definitely food!! If you dont want to cook, try The Popcorn Factory for big tins of great popcorn in buttered, cheddar, caramel, jalapeno or Cheryl's Cookies for individually wrapped cookies.

My office had over 100 people and both the popcorn and the cookies were very popular.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2008 11:15:02 AM PST
SJM says:
I had to do this once...I bought a bunch of mugs at the dollar store. In each one, put a packet of hot chocolate or tea and some candies/mints/nuts, etc. Wrap in colorful cellophane and tie with curly ribbons.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2008 1:17:37 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 23, 2008 1:27:52 PM PST
There are a lot of good ideas on this post!

~I have received lottery tix at family gatherings and the giver asked each person individually if they want to take their chance on their own or split any winnings with anyone else who is willing to split winnings. That gave it another level! If I didn't already have gifts for my co-workers, I'd do this!

~I used to bake stuff, but it ends up being expensive just for the ingredients and then very time consuming, too! Now I usually buy a variety of items in bulk and break them up into goodie bags. Food is always a good choice.

~Other consumables besides food are also a safe bet. Soaps, candles, or even more practical items like the suggested first aid kit, or something like emory boards. (They may sound weird, but they will definitely be used.) You can also buy these in bulk and break apart to save money.

~The same "buy in bulk and break into goodie bags" works with other food and non-food items. Some things I have done this with include: cookies/candies, small candles/candle holders, individually wrapped bags of tea, chapstick/lipgloss, packets of hot chocolate, accessories, serving plates/cups, or many other items.

~Only one person seems to have suggested Dollar Tree or other discount vendors like Big Lots or even clearance racks at Ross, Marshalls, etc. You have to be careful because many times these places are NOT good value, but if you search carefully, you can often find great deals.

~Another thing I often give is a trivet. I received one once and it has been the most used gift ever. I actually use it as a coaster next to my bed. A smaller sized, nice looking trivet can be used to place hot dishes on the table, as a coaster, or as a candle holder. Most people can find a use for it in one of those ways. You can include in your note the various ways which they might find it useful. You can find nice looking ones at Ross, Marshalls, Etc.

~I always avoid holiday themed stuff. It is usually over priced and low quality. And no one wants a junky piece of holiday decor. I also typically avoid cards as they are too expensive. Making cards is a good option if you have the time and you think your co-workers would appreciate such a gesture. If not, just type something up, throw in some clip art and colored fonts and print them out. I'm just writing their names in pretty script on a plain white gift tag that I cut out of card stock (once again saving money on unnecessary purchased gift tags).

~On the same note, you can give "Coupons" for your co-workers to cash in later. Like "Cup of Coffee from the Coffee Cart" or "Drink on me at Nearby Happy Hour" or "I'll go make your copies for you" or "I'll buy you a soda from the machine AND bring it you at your desk" or anything else you can think of that your co-workers could appreciate. These range from free to inexpensive, and they are things you would likely do anyway (like buy a co-worker a cup of coffee one day). They also delay payment until after the holidays and over time - not everyone will cash in their coupon in January (in fact some won't cash them in at all, which is also just fine). You can again put this into a word processing program or even power point and create a simple, colorful coupon in minutes.

~The coupons can also be used for friends or family - babysitting coupon, glass of wine, cup of tea or coffee, lunch, ice cream cone, manicure, whatever! Best part of that is that it also means spending time with your friends and family while you treat them to a little indulgence.

~When I am in an awkward situation like yours, I vow to spend 1-2 dollars per person, and often succeed with scores at discount stores. This year I have 8 co-workers in my department and 4 more in other departments that I work with closely. There is no obligation to buy gifts, but there is some peer pressure. Recently I bought $1 boxes of chocolate coated peanut brittle at Big Lots and got my gifts for all of them for $12. This was much better than the $2-3 boxes of chocolates that looked cheap, old, or damaged and were being sold on the same shelf. I just searched the shelves extensively and this ONE item stood out. I also always try one first to make sure they are not old or stale or something (that would be embarrassing). In this case the peanut brittle was GREAT, and I only wished they'd had more in stock to give to neighbors and friends as well as co-workers!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2008 9:43:48 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 24, 2008 9:55:57 AM PST
E. Wood says:
If you really want to make a difference with gift giving in this situation, make a donation that you can afford to a charity or organization you believe in. For example, if you were planning to spend $1 per person, then make one $25 donation. There are so many to choose from and they are especially hurting now in our present economy. One year, we donated to the Yosemite Association and another year we adopted a chimpanzee through the Jane Goodall Institute, but the possibilites are endless. We then gave holiday cards to the people on our list with a note or insert about the donation that had been made in their honor. You have given a gift you can feel really good about that is in the true spirit of the holiday season.
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Discussion in:  Gift Idea forum
Participants:  97
Total posts:  115
Initial post:  Nov 10, 2008
Latest post:  Dec 12, 2012

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