Care.com

Patrick Ball @PatrickBall

recovering journalist. content and strategy at Care.com. writing about policies, problems and benefits affecting working families.

18 Office Holiday Party Swap Gifts Decoded

It’s that time of year again, when the holiday spirit hits the office and co-workers block off an hour or two for a potluck lunch and gift swap. 

Find out what those lame office swap gifts really mean

This holiday tradition goes by many names – White Elephant Gift Exchange, Yankee Swap, Dirty Santa or Eskimo Bingo, just to name a few – but you know the game: Everyone brings a wrapped gift within a specified price range and adds it to the pile, nobody knows who gave what. Numbers are assigned, you all select gifts based on the assigned order and everyone tries to trade for the booze. 

Whatever you call your office's holiday party gift swap, there are some gifts you’re almost guaranteed to see. We put together a list that identifies some of those frequent fliers – and explains what those coffee mugs and cat calendars really mean.

Gift: Duck Dynasty Chia Pet
What it really means: Somebody’s a year behind on their reality TV

Gift: Anything hand-knit
What it really means: This wasn’t going to fit the kids, so…

nipmastree via Pinterest

Gift: Homemade Hot Cocoa Kit 
What it really means:
Somebody’s been on Pinterest

Gift: Nipmas Tree
What it really means: Somebody’s been on Pinterest … drunk

Gift: Any Self-Help/for Dummies Book 
What it really means: Awwwkwaaaard

Gift: Whiskey Rocks
What it really means: Every dude in your office is going to try and trade with you

Gift: Calculator
What it really means: They took it off their desk before the party

Gift: Rubik’s Cube
What it really means: You’re about to waste even more time

Toilet Mug via funslurp.com

Gift:  Toilet Mug 

What it really means:  Don’t expect a World’s Greatest Boss mug anytime soon

Gift: Dunkin’ Donuts Gift Card ($15 or less) 
What it really means: Someone forgot about this thing until their ride to work this morning

Gift: Dunkin’ Donuts Gift Card ($20 or more)
What it really means: Someone forgot about this thing until their ride to work this morning … and felt a little guilty about that

Gift: Tech-Friendly Touchscreen Gloves
What it really means: Nothing. These are a pretty solid gift, actually 

Gift: Shake Weight
What it really means: Someone’s inappropriate, and a little late to the game

Gift: Christmas Story Leg Lamp
What it really means: Re-gift you probably should bring back next year

Gift: Farm animal-shaped salt and pepper shakers
What it really means: Re-gift you probably shouldn’t bring back next year

Gift: New gadget that clearly exceeds the spending limit

cat-lady

What it really means: You can expect the brown nose who brought it to drop subtle hints for the rest of the day

Gift: Vodka 
What it really means: There’s about to be an office riot

Gift: Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure 
What it really means:
 If you don’t know, the crazy cat lady could be you.

Source: Amazon.com