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Office gift ritual signals awkward, re-gifted gifts

If it's done with care, re-gifting can be savvy, expert says.
by Paula Burkes Published: December 12, 2012

Among the most awkward gifts received by survey respondents were a bag of dog food (the recipient had a cat); a belt buckle (with no belt); three expired bottles of barbecue sauce and a gift card with a zero balance on it.

Chris Norris, owner of Chris' University Spirit in Stillwater, once received an unwanted “Jelly of the Month Club” subscription, while Oklahoma City teacher Martha Ellis was given an apple by a student who'd re-gifted the fruit from her school lunch. Ellis' favorite gift was a lottery scratch-off ticket that brought $100.

The first year he worked for Brinker International, Oklahoma City native David Woodard received a 5-year-old fruit cake and was told he was its keeper until the following year. “Talk about pressure,” Woodard said. “But the person who got the cake was given a $20 Best Buy gift card for being a good sport.”

The favorite office holiday exchange gift of Capitol Abstract & Title Company's Valerie Fried was the gift bag; not the gift. The bag, which she still has, bears “an adorable misty photograph of a little girl in pink-footed pajamas opening a present. She looks just like my daughter when she was that age,” Fried said, “and it brought tears to my eyes.”

If you still are in a quandary about what to buy your boss or co-workers this Christmas, take a tip from the International Association of Administrative Professionals.

Never-fail gifts, according to their membership, include gift cards for coffee, e-books or music; stationery; Cross or Mont Blanc pens; fruit baskets; silver picture frames; leather calendars or planners; business card cases; event tickets; unique plants and alumni-focused gifts.

Happy Holidays — and here's hoping you draw the primo last round of Dirty Santa picks in your office gift exchange.

by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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