The season of gift-giving (and receiving!) is here. Colleagues in our Minneapolis office celebrate every year with a White Elephant gift exchange.
The gift exchange is one of the most highly-anticipated office traditions. Anne Tracy, a senior digital marketing strategist at Perficient, says this event is her favorite of the year.
“Between each person opening at least one gift, seeing and often questioning what others got, or partaking in the stealing round, gifts, tissue paper, and laughs are constantly thrown about,” Anne said.
Tea Dejanovic, a senior business consultant at Perficient, says the event is the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season. In addition to the festively wrapped gifts, colleagues wear their favorite ugly holiday sweaters.
The gifts each year range from the highly coveted to the more questionable gifts. There are also frequent re-gifts that have become a part of the tradition. There is no telling what each year’s crop of gifts will hold. Anne broke some of the more memorable past gifts down into categories:
- Most Wanted: A polka dot kettle that has been stolen three times.
- Hardest to Open/Most Creatively Packaged: A mug that said “World’s Okayest Employee” wrapped in so much duct tape it required a Swiss Army knife to open it.
- Most Questionable: Emoji Friendship Bracelet making kit paired with Jalapeno-flavored Spam.
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Tea said it is always a hard decision between giving a useful present or a total gag gift. Because she has a hard time deciding which road to take, she typically finds a gift with a bit of both.
“The present I brought was a Tacosaurus,” she said. “Tacosaurus is a plastic holder for tacos shaped like a T-Rex dinosaur. I went home with a pastry-making set that can be used to make ravioli and tortellini.”
Giving the Gift of Team Building
The end of the year is a hectic time in IT consulting. Everyone works at top speed to wrap up projects before the new year sneaks upon us all. Tea shares that the gift exchange is a great opportunity to relax with coworkers and share laughs.
Anne said team events like the gift exchange bring together regional colleagues that typically might not work closely together.
“Everyone doesn’t work on the same projects or even in the same departments of the company, but everyone can participate in the exchange and get to know those they bump into on a regular basis in Minneapolis,” Anne said.
They create a strong culture with events like these in and out of the office. In addition to a strong office community, they frequently volunteer in the larger community as well. Earlier this year, they participated in Scrum Day MN and volunteered at The Sandwich Project.
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