Author Topic: Work Place Gifting Awkwardness  (Read 1256 times)

TootsNYC

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Re: Work Place Gifting Awkwardness
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2019, 07:31:36 pm »
DaDancing Psych, I think when someone new starts, you can tell them, in early December, "Oh, you can relax at Christmas--we don't give each other gifts, not even small things." In the manner of "tipping you off about how things get done here," much like other office-culture "secrets."

I'm a boss who gives their subordinates presents, and I always stated, in early December, "In my department gifts flow down; I'm allowed to give you something if I want, but you're not supposed to. It makes things awkward."

Set them up for it early!

I have worked at places where a few overachievers would give small edibles (I used to drop 5 Brach's Christmas Nougats and a business-card-size note on everybody's desk that I actually interacted with), but most people wouldn't do anything, and I don't think people felt bad, because the edibles were so small in value, and the givers were so clearly overachievers.
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vintagegal

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Re: Work Place Gifting Awkwardness
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2019, 06:26:45 am »
We had so much trouble with organizing Secret Santa at work, we finally gave up about 6 years ago. We donate toys to needy children instead.

I love this so much, it's the real spirit of Christmas. Not agonizing over gifts you "have to" get for people you are not crazy about. Can't remember the name of the other board years ago (not E-hell), it closed, but there was SO MUCH agita over gift-giving of all kinds there. I just thought to myself, what's the point? Shouldn't gift-giving be voluntary and done with love?
« Last Edit: December 21, 2019, 07:30:11 pm by vintagegal »
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lakey

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Re: Work Place Gifting Awkwardness
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2019, 04:33:38 pm »
Quote
All of the gifts were within the $10-20 range and at the time I thought that amount for 10+ people each? Yikes?
This is why I would prefer to not have gift giving in the workplace. We never know what the financial situation is of coworkers. Christmas can be a lot of extra expense for people who are already on a tight budget.
I do like the idea of a card with a nice chocolate treat. It's yummy, inexpensive, and the receiver isn't left feeling like they should have bought something for the giver.
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Isisnin

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Re: Work Place Gifting Awkwardness
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2019, 11:04:01 pm »
The AAs at as office I worked in years back exchanged gifts every year. There were about 20 of us. One year stands out as the best. Everyone either made the gifts or purchased cute inexpensive ones. One gift everyone got was a couple chocolates from a very high-end shop (the giver worked part-time there), another was homemade holiday pins, another was inexpensive chocolates in a santa mug (which sold in the local drug store for 2 for $1 with coupon.

We all got such a kick out of the creativity. Still don't know why it worked out that year (as opposed to the usual difficulties), but itwas great.
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Aleko

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Re: Work Place Gifting Awkwardness
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2019, 04:06:34 am »
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Shouldn't gift-giving be voluntary and done with love?

The trouble is that once someone gives someone else a present, unless they are blatantly unequal in status, reciprocating is not voluntary. This is true across pretty much every culture through time and across the world - this is one of the (few) statements that all anthropologists agree on.

If there is a clear difference in status, gift-giving can go one way only. In Renaissance Europe it was customary for courtiers to humbly offer Christmas presents to their sovereign, who graciously accepted them as homage, and nobody dreamt that s/he would or should reciprocate. By the 19th century the custom had flipped: Queen Victoria gave modest presents to the palace staff, and in wartime would send small presents such as a tin of cigarettes with her picture on it, to all her soldiers at the front; there was obviously no expectation that they would send any presents to her. In the same way, a boss can give out presents to all their staff employees without imposing any obligation on them to respond. But if Sally gives Jane a Christmas present, that does impose an obligation on Jane to respond with a present of roughly equal value. If Jane does not, she will seem at best selfish or stingy, or the recipient of charity; at worst, hostile. That's why it is never good manners to give someone a present more valuable than anything they would think of giving to you. Ask any Trobriand Islander! In fact, there are societies where knowingly giving someone something so valuable that they can't afford to reciprocate is a mortal insult.
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vintagegal

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Re: Work Place Gifting Awkwardness
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2019, 06:18:26 am »
My problem is with the mandatory, structured, outside-imposed "gift exchanges" - "You WILL bring a gift worth between $25 and $35 to be given to an arbritrary co-worker" kind of thing. We're all grown-ups, we can buy our own tchotchkes. I don't get a warm feeling because Anita in accounting bought me a Santa mug.

I made 3 kinds of cookies and will package up some variety packs to have on hand in case I get an unexpected gift, and to give out to people like post office lady, landlord, etc.

I personally don't care if I give someone a present and they don't reciprocate. I would prefer NOT to get presents from people I don't know very well.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2019, 06:20:03 am by vintagegal »
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Gellchom

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Re: Work Place Gifting Awkwardness
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2020, 03:15:07 pm »
Our office does a little gift exchange game at our annual outing, with everyone bringing something costing under $20.  We pick numbers and go in order, but you can "steal" things already chosen -- I've never bothered to learn the rules (they seem to change anyway); I just try to swap so that someone before me can get what they seemed to want.  This year I ended up with a tiny cast iron skillet with a chocolate-chip cookie mix to make in it.  Last year I got a gift card to AMC movie theaters.  (Gift cards are a safe choice!)  What I gave cost more than $20, but it was a collection of nice things I already had in the "gift cabinet" that I was happy to give away: a 3-bottle wine carrier, a corkscrew, and a ceramic wine stopper, and I added an inexpensive bottle of wine. 

I don't outright hate it, especially because we all laugh a lot during the game, but I'd be just as happy if we didn't do this at all (especially now that we are downsizing drastically at our house; I will probably give away that little skillet).  But it's not a big deal, and it's only once a year.  So I just decide to be a good sport, because others like it. 

Pandorica

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Re: Work Place Gifting Awkwardness
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2020, 03:19:46 pm »
Quote
Shouldn't gift-giving be voluntary and done with love?

The trouble is that once someone gives someone else a present, unless they are blatantly unequal in status, reciprocating is not voluntary. This is true across pretty much every culture through time and across the world - this is one of the (few) statements that all anthropologists agree on.

 

So someone can force me to give them a gift by getting me one? Not happening.
Edited for spelling
« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 06:01:18 pm by Pandorica »
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TootsNYC

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Re: Work Place Gifting Awkwardness
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2020, 05:27:46 pm »
you canít be forced, of course not.

But you could easily end up suffering condemnation from the group or others for not participating in the exchange.

Thatís why itís actually rude to GIVE a present to someone who shouldnít feel pressured to give you one in return, or to give too valuable or intimate of a present.
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