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Secret Santa – How Not to Behave During Your Office Holiday Party

January 4, 2009

eye_pillowLast week I attended my department’s holiday party and had a chance to share some eggnog and holiday treats with my coworkers. Similar to last year we exchanged gifts Yankee Swap style. It was one of the main attractions of the evening as folks picked gifts or exchanged them with those who picked before them. And just like last year the assortment of gifts varied greatly beginning with a few book store gift cards and a few bottles of wine and ending with a set of hand painted holiday glassware. There were odd and funny gifts including a blow-up swimming pool toy and a fireplace kindling in the shape of rolled up $100 bills.

We drew numbers to indicate the order of gift picking. Unlike last year, I ended up picking number two (out of over 30)! I was the second one to pick and if my selected gift was an attractive one I was almost certain I was not holding on to it as over thirty of my coworkers were sure to take it away from me in exchange for another gift. I soon discovered that it was not what gift you choose, but how you behave throughout the process especially when the gift is not, in your opinion, an attractive one. I ended up picking a somewhat unusual gift this year… an eye pillow, a small cloth sack filled with lavender-smelling silicone beads. I never used anything like it before and did not fully understand the purpose of the gift. As a result I ended up making several comments hoping somebody would swap this gift with me. Towards the end of the party I was approached by a high ranking member of my team who mentioned that she was the one to contribute this gift to the grab bag. Well… to say the least, I did not feel very pleasant at that moment. The whole situation was somewhat awkward, but I promised to give the “eye pillow” a try.

Well, as it turns out I love my eye pillow. I use it in bed to cover my eyes while my significant other watches TV or in the morning to get the sun off my eyes. And I definitely learned my lesson about holiday party etiquette.
Before you make a comment regarding a gift during a Yankee Swap remember that for every gift recipient there is a gift giver who may feel offended by your silly comments.

Do you have your own embarrassing holiday party moment to share?

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