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Do You Participate in White Elephant Gift Exchanges for Christmas?



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Do You Participate in White Elephant Gift Exchanges for Christmas?

For the holidays, often at the office Christmas party, we will have a white elephant gift exchange (also called Secret Santa.). Each person has to bring in one gift. They usually limit the price to $5 or $10. Nothing expensive. Something nice. Then we play the white elephant game where people exchange the gifts. It's fun!  (See link below.)

When you have a family you don't usually do a gift exchange. However, if you have a large family, buying gifts for everyone can be quite expensive. Imagine me. I had a family of 7 brothers and 1 sister. Some of my brothers were married with kids. I also was married with kids. Shopping for that many people without breaking your bank was a real challenge. I managed somehow. But it wasn't easy!

But then I thought of the idea of doing a white elephant gift exchange for the family when we got together to enjoy the holiday meal. I figured it would cut down on the expense of having to buy several gifts.  I tried to sell this idea to family members but they wouldn't buy it.

  • Do you participate in the gift exchange at the office?

  • What do you think of the idea of a gift exchange for the extended family? 

Rules for a White Elephant Gift Exchange
Do You Participate in White Elephant Gift Exchanges for Christmas?

Comments

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Judas2018

I've never done a secret santa in my life for anyone. It can create very awkward situations and scenarios if someone gets something they don't like, or ends up connected to someone they don't think very highly of as their secret santa.



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theresajane

I'm sorry about that. I actually pity you. You know what whether the person whom you are ought to give a gift to doesn't like it, she has no choice but to accept it. Just let it be, it's the value of Christmas, to give and receive happily. It would be great if you had experienced it since you were a kid vmbecause when you grow up, you'll end up looking forward to it every year.



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stbrians

When I was a kid I never grew up in a gift-giving the family. There was no Santa for Christmas. I therefore never cultivated the gift-giving culture up to now



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jayjaydimson

Yes, either me, I did not grow up with a gift-giving family, but we have Santa Clause for Christmas.



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HappyLady

It is always interesting to know what other cultures do. I was really interested to learn how different an African Christmas was. However, I now experienced it several times. I have friends who came to the UK and eventualy the traditions seem to mix in together.



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Steve5

I also find it interesting. What's important is that we can join together to celebrate the holiday spirit. We all have a splendid time enjoying good food and the company of others.



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cmoneyspinner

Judas2018
Oh! I forgot to mention. The Secret Santa stays secret! The gifts don't have names on them.



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Kakashi2020

Gift Giving, Exchange Gifts and Gift Raffles are what most people are looking forward to in Christmas Parties. It's fun and exciting and if you're lucky, you might get the best gift.



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theresajane

I always love doing that Secret Santa during Christmas Season! Here in our country, people always do that during December. We started on our Elementary years in our school, even up to College, we celebrate Christmas parties and have our "Monito and Monita". It's so fun even with a limited budget, because we were still students back then. Now that we have jobs, the range of the price of the gifts has become bigger, adding to the fun of Secret Santa.



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nrnlss

Yes, it is really fun. How we celebrate Christmas and the Christmas parties when we were in school and even in work.



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superlicca

I can relate to you. In schools, there is always Monito Monita as part of the Christmas season. And every child is excited about it. We still had it in our office when I was working. The price of the gift was so cheap since we did this week;y.



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ajahcuizon

I agree. Christmas parties are fun especially when we have this kind of exchanging gifts. In which we will have code names and we will put it in a box then we will pick one name from the box and that code name will be the one that we will put in the tag on the box. It is fun because of its mystery of whom your gift will came from. I had fun that time. We also made a list of our wishlist so that we can have an idea on what our receiver would want to receive.



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emiaj55

When I waas little we do not draw lots for monito monitas. They always make us gifts for unisex. That was why I ended up with towels or frames or coin purses all the time. It was only when I was in college that I got a proper T-shirt as a gift. She didn't get my size though. Haha I am really unlucky with this.



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allyn2017

It is always fun to di secret santa especially if you love the gift you have received.



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jaybee19

Same. We also did the same during my Elementary years until now in College. It's a really fun event during Christmas parties but it's also a source for some conflicts between immature classmates who gets annoyed with the gifts they've received which is different from their expectations. I can still remember a classmate of mine during Grade 6 who complained about the gift he received from our classmate which was only a used foot powder despite the budget allocation of 100 pesos or roughly 2$ per gift.



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overcast

I remember taking part in secret santa gift exchange last year on reddit. And it was a good option for anyone who wanted to get a gift for themselves. Another thing being such gift can prove to you that there are people on the other side. And that way one should be good for anyone who wants to celebrate the christmas.



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Judas2018

They do secret santa's online now also? Interesting.



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overcast

Yes you can check out the secret santa reddit exchange website. That website shows you a lot of things about how it works. It's something that can be good for those who have nobody in life. Check it out below.

https://www.redditgifts.com/



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Youngshark

Wow I also did not know anything about this and will try to check it out and know if I can take advantage.



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allyn2017

This is really interesting, I haven't done secret santa since I start working online.



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superlicca

That is cool. I did not know about this thing. But I will check it and see if how it works. It is good to know that secret Santa Reddit exchange site exists. I guess I will also share this with my friends and relatives.



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overcast

Yes apart from christmas they have gifting section for other cultural holidays too. that depends on the different regional locale. But overall it seems like a good site that covers the most. And also it sounds like easier to do.



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superlicca

Knowing that makes this site wonderful! I never thought that this kind of site exists or maybe I am just naive. May I know if you tried this site before?



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Jeane

I'm curious . . . how does this work?

I mean giving away your address - where the gift would be shipped to - wouldn't that be rather risky? Or were there security measures in place which ensured no one got hold of someone's residential address?



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overcast

It's not risky considering they don't personally know you. And the reddit tries its best to be safe on the side. There are also online gifts like amazon card numbers etc. And that works just fine. I have seen some of the people making use of the system and they have no security issues so far.



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amelia88

I guess it would be fine if it was a PO Box address, but I don’t know how comfortable I’d feel giving out my address to random strangers. I know that might sound paranoid but it’s better to be safe than sorry!



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Jeane

You are not being paranoid.

I've heard horror stories that would make anyone think twice before they fill out their address in any online form. A few years back, some creep got hold of an old couple's address, paid them a visit when they were on vacation (he got all that information on Facebook) and - they later said that person had stolen valuables worth over $6000. They were lucky though, it could have been worse.

That's why if I'm participating in a gift exchange for Christmas on the net, I'd only accept a gift card.



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amelia88

That's the kind of thing I worry about. I'm sure the vast majority of other people on the net are nice and normal, but there are of course those people who lie about their identities, try to scam people, or even worse - actually end up doing it. Sometimes I feel bad that I'm assuming the worst of people, but I just wouldn't want to risk it.



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overcast

Yes gift card is more safe. And also gives more control for the people in case if they want to save themselves from the strangers. Amazon and other gift cards can be sent to anyone anonymously. So that looks like a good option.



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overcast

I think POBOX or some pick up address or the public boxes in the station should work. You can definitely put your those address there. I have also heard of some of the exchange horror stories. Especially craiglist ones.So there needs to be proper channel for the gift exchange.



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Youngshark

hahahahaha. This is so awesome as it is a method that you will get a gift by not actually having to give it to yourself literally. It feels like you still bought it but since you did not give it to yourself then the story is much better.



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allyn2017

I've been in reddit for a while now and I don't know that there is a community who do secret santa.



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overcast

Check the link shared above the secret santa link is given above. You can use it and see if that one works out for you. In such case you can see that they cover the gift exchange system. And often try to make the gift card system more or less anonymous in that context.



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beerthooyah

During my school days I often ended with a gift that I dont like during exchange gifts in christmas party. However, as I grow older during exchange gifts in an office christmas party. The value of the gifts that I would get is not much of an issue to me anymore. As we mature I realize that what is more important during these events are the blessings that we have received for the past months and for that we should be thankful of. The spirit of giving during these season and the cheerfulness of this occassion are enough gifts for me and what is important is that our children will experience the fun this holidays.



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superlicca

I never tried joining in White Elephant gift exchange. What I experienced was the Monito Monita. It was really fun and this is something that I am excited about when the Christmas season is coming. In my job before, we did this every week from the month of November until Christmas day. The price of the item that we had to bring was cheap. It was really exciting since there was a theme for every item that we had to bring. Something cute, something scary, something fluffy, and more.



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iambeth

I have participated and have been a Secret Santa numerous times. I think this is one of the highlights of every Christmas party in school. Some love the gifts they receive while others get disappointed. It's a good idea to adopt especially for big families to lessen expenses and effort. It will help you focus on purchasing that one special gift.



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amelia88

It definitely takes some of the stress out of Christmas shopping when you do a secret santa styled exchange, rather than having to buy an individual gift for everyone. That's a big part of why we do that as a family. With lots of aunts, uncles, cousins etc, it can end up way too pricey. I'm certainly not wealthy so it's a much better approach!



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focusedwriter10

I have never participated in one, although I know it exists. Maybe I will try it one day. Instead of exchanging gifts during Christmas, I do donate mine to the less fortunate.



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amelia88

That’s such a wonderful thing that you donate to the less fortunate over Christmas. That’s truly what the day is all about - if you can help someone less fortunate than yourself that’s amazing!



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focusedwriter10

Thanks, @Amelia. I realized this is my purpose on this earth. Helping the less fortunate is does not harm.



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jayjaydimson

We don't actually participate that kind of event because we don't do it here in our country.



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edencaga

We only have kris Kringle. I remember when I was still in highschool, every christmas party we were commanded to bring a little gift depend on class officers, we must bring it every once a week of December until Christmas Party. They were the one who decide if what kind of gift should we bring, if its something sweet or something rough or soft and others. This was fun though, sometimes you wish to get the name of your crush to be your kris kringle as it will not reveal until Christmas party.



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Kakashi2020

In the past while working in various companies we would always have a Christmas Raffle in which everyone would bring a gift that would be numbered and raffled off. While in some companies I've worked in the owner or president would be the one to produce all gifts that would be raffled off.



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Martinsx1

Last year at my workplace, we actually used this method to raffle to draw gifts amongst our co-workers.

By doing so, we get to exchange different gifts brought by each and everyone of us in the office. I'm looking forward to what we are going to do this year's Christmas.



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Martinsx1

I have participated in gift exchange during Christmas holidays but I wouldn't say that it's something like the white Elephant that you have discussed here.Here, what matters is purchasing what you can afford to give to your loved ones, family and friends during Christmas holidays. They are all definitely going to give you a gift of their own.



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anyone01

I have had great success with presents that straddle the line among perfect and horribly tacky. A five inches airbrushed body pillow within the shape of a marlin, a porcelain unicorn lamp, a taxidermy-ed blowfish and a small leather-based whip.



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stbrians

A nice gift collection you have there. Santa was very good to you. I have received no Christmas present. I thought online people were gift givers but I was wrong all through.



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amelia88

Sometimes those gifts are the most hilarious and memorable! The body pillow in the shape of a marlin sounds like a perfect gag gift for someone with a good sense of humor. Wish you still had it to take a picture of it - I wish I could see what it looked like!



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cmoneyspinner

To make the exchange even more fun and funny, there is always a Gag Gift. Something silly or ridiculous that nobody would ever buy anybody as a Christmas gift. The joke is to see who ends up with Gag Gift. Of course, they don't keep it. It's just a joke. The person with the Gag Gift gets to pick whatever gift they want. At least that's how we play it.



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romyter013

I never heard this white elephant exchange gift before but yeah I've read the mechanics and really sounds good I already imagine it haha this is gonna be fun!
Yes I participated before to our office to exchange gifts with officemates. They want it funny, long, hard, useful and not pricy as the sample of the gift. I gave my office mate my gift and he was laughing out loud when he opened it. Its cheap i just got it for $.65 , he said my idea was awesome and definitely he can use it. Oh by the way, the gift a gave him was a long Tide Detergent bar.



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vinaya

Never heard of white elephant gift exchange or Secret Santa. Perhaps, that's because I do not belong to Christmas culture. I have also never lived in a Christian neighborhood and I am not are about Christian tradition. I belong to Hindu culture, in Hinduism we do not have a tradition of gift exchange. However, we do give and take gifts during certain festivals.



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cmoneyspinner

Which festivals? I'm curious. The Jews exchange gifts during their holiday called Hanukkah. It's 8 nights and each night they present gifts. That's what my Jewish told friend told me. Do you give gifts during Diwali?



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esteban123

I had been participating to some exchange gifts during my elementary days until now that I am working. I find it to be enjoying since it is full of fun and excitement. It give us some happiness in an instant and try to forget some of our problems which is really good to have. In this coming Saturday we will now have our company Christmas party and I think I would really enjoy it much because we have a lot of food and drinks to share.



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nrnlss

I agree with you, when we were in school Christmas party indicates starts of the vacation. In office it indicates no work day, and the fact that we bond with the bosses and officemates.



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esteban123

Yes that is right and it would really be a great activity for the day because we can enjoy for a while leaving our work even in just a day. We can have a bonding with our fellow employees and to our superior as well which is really good because we can spend the day all together as one big family.



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nrnlss

I always participates on those activity, even when I was still in school. It is even one of the events that always makes me excited, because there'll be a lot of food and gifts, also giveaway. It is such a fun day.



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Barida

I strongly think that the celebration will be a fun filled one. Those that have taken part in those done with all seriousness will try to understand how it is pretty easier for us to enjoy that kind of fun moments as well which is pretty nice and good.



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ajahcuizon

I like joining these kind of games in Christmas parties. It is very practical and fun at the same time. Here in our country, we always have this mystery gift exchange that we have this minimum and maximum amount of gift. It is really fun especially when the time comes where we will all bring our gifts to our designated receiver. On that way, we don't have to spend too much and it will be fair for everybody as everybody will receive a gift.



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emiaj55

We have that tradition not only in the office but with my family as well. We too is a large family, and I could relate to that breaking the bank thing. Of course there were Christmases that we have plenty of the slice so I could buy them all gifts. But there were also Christmases that we just have enough. But having the tradition is what matters because they bring the bonds closer within the people you love.



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superlicca

I hope I have a large family too. The more the merrier. We are only three in the family. I live with my Father and sister. If we don't have visitors at Christmas then we will be celebrating the holiday with just the three of us. I am happy to be with them but it will be fun to have a lot of people to celebrate with.



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emiaj55

It would be much nicer to have plenty of kids running around during Christmas. Try holding a family gathering or a special celebration for kids in the neighborhood. We do this with my extended family and the joy is really satisfying. It is very tiring though but it is always worth it. With games and all, the kids are all happy and laughing. Really a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas.



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superlicca

That is a great idea. And we used to have that in the place where we used to live. But now we are living in a different city, I have never seen this kind of event so far in our neighborhood. But I think I should have the initiative to this to make our Christmas day happier.



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burgosmichael24

It was my first time to hear that white elephant Christmas exchanges. In our country we do exchange gifts in schools or in offices and we call it monito monita and it has almost the same rules as white elephant.



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superlicca

Same here. I never heard White elephant Christmas exchange before. We call it Monito Monita or just exchange gift. I think another country has another term for it but it almost has the same concept.



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amelia88

My extended family does this, since it ends up being far more economical (and fun!) than buying a gift for every single person. Plus, there’s something challenging about trying to find a good gift that sticks to the budgeted amount!



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jaybee19

Yes, I have experienced this in the classroom from my elementary years until now as a college student. This is actually the most popular event during Christmas gatherings/party here where I live. I don't think a Christmas Party could be possible without exchanging gifts. However, a lot of people here does hate it actually because sometimes there are people who are very unkind and they will wrap gifts that are sometimes cheaper than the required price for the gift to be exchanged with. But, I am not among them because I actually don't care if I receive not so useful or expensive looking gifts because I believe that it is always the thought that counts.



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Martinsx1

Truly, some people really know how to celebrate Christmas and make it a memorable one with the kinds of gifts that share to their friends.

There is one wealthy family in my neighborhood that have the habit of calling the entire neighborhood to come and celebrate Christmas with them and they give take away gifts to anyone who visits them.



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jaybee19

Wow! God bless that neighbor of yours sir. I hope to have the same neighbor but unfortunately I live in a subdivision and most of the people here likes to celebrate privately. However, there are definitely other wealthy families here that does the same but I'm yet to discover them as they are a bit secretive specially that they don't want unwanted fame.



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stbrians

I may play Santa this year if God blesses me with money to give out gifts. I want to make someone happy this Christmas.



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jaybee19

God bless you sir stbrians. I am also hoping that I'd be able to give presents for at least my family members this year as a first because I really want them to be happy and at the same time myself as well. I pray that both of us will be blessed by God with monetary blessings, although it doesn't matter that much for as long as our family and us are happy and healthy on Christmas day.



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Barida

I have not really taken part in this sort of gift exchange, but believe me, this is simply going to be a nice way to celebrate the Christmas that is coming. I will look how I can be able to organize people around me to join in this type of gift exchange.



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mitan143

I know how enjoyable it is to receive a gift from someone especially if you're not aware of what's inside. Yes, we love surprises! But I don't really give importance to my self even I don't receive one gift as long as I give one to my love ones and friends. I'm not materialistic but I do appreciate a lot if they gave me gifts but It's really fine if they don't. The essence of Christmas for me is not exchanging gifts but I'm really wish a good relationship with family. That's all I want.



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jpk0007

Well, that seems to be a very interesting way of saving money while gifting and also give a surprise to the person who won't know what's inside the gift. I think this can be a very good way to celebrate Christmas within your office, organizations and if you have a very big family. I have never been able to give gifts to anyone like this, in fact, I have heard of something called Secret Santa for the first time. Although I am not a Christian, I do give gifts to my friends who celebrate Christmas at there homes. However, I guess it will be difficult to convince the Family members to gift each other in this manner.



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HappyLady

I work for myself now, so the issue does not arise, but when I worked with others the one year I had to do this was a nightmare. How do you choose something that won't mark you out as a cheapskate or a person with no taste? I never want to go through that stress again!



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amelia88

You know, I always hated office Christmas events for that reason. We predominantly did Secret Santa, and I feel like I'd always pick the name of the person in the office I knew the least about. It's hard picking out a good present for someone you barely know! If I ended up in an office environment like that again, I'd probably try and opt out of secret Santa. Not because I'm a grinch, but just because it can be so awkward!



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Judas2018

@amelia88 That's so true. You get the name of someone in the office who you don't really know, don't really like, or in some cases could be your superior as far as work hierarchy is concerned. So like, if you get your boss a bad gift, do they fire you or something? It just creates so many problems.



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amelia88

They always tried to pass it off as something that would boost office morale and put people into the Christmas spirit but I think most people in our office dreaded it! I think it’s easier to do with families than it is with your coworkers for sure.



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nrnlss

I feel you, that's what I missed about working in an office the office parties.



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jayjaydimson

Yes, same here, because having a Christmas party when your co-worker is like a memorable feeling in life.



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vhinz

I didn't know that it is called the white elephant exchange gift. I participated in exchanging of gifts but it is not on Christmas since my religion doesn't celebrate that occasion. Rather, we do it on new years day celebration. It's fun and joyful to give and receive a gift on a special day like new years day.



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nrnlss

Since I was in elementary to highschool we always celebrate Christmas party in school and I always participates im secret santa.



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jayjaydimson

Santa Claus is popular here in the Philippines when the Christmas is near, you can find it in some of the houses here with the Christmas tree beside it.



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jayjaydimson

We do exchange gift on a Christmas party, I'm not that familiar with the white elephant.



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coolavender

At the office, we usually have a one-week gift giving of little somethings before the major gift at the Christmas party where the secret Santa is revealed. It can be fun for some as we have to come up with different ideas each day for the little gifts. There's a theme for each day like something long, something hard, etc. It can be a chore for employees who have no time or budget for gift shopping.

We haven't tried it within the family though because we're all quite busy and we certainly can't use this type of gift exchange to save on gift giving. We have a small family and it doesn't really cost much to buy gifts for the kids. Among us siblings, we always say that our best gift to each other is love and we never really buy gifts for each other during special occasions. However, we do give gifts to our older relatives. On some occasions, we pool our money together to buy a special and memorable gift for someone who is celebrating a milestone.



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gutzman

Expenses wise, it is a every good way to save money yet still experience giving and receiving a gift for a very special occasion. The only thing that I don't like about this is that most of the time, I'm getting something i don't need or want. Most of them were no use for me. In terms of sentimental value, they are important to me. But if we would talk about the use of the item received, most of the time I get disappointed to be honest. Anyway, these things happen during special days so I don't feel sad even though I receive a gift I don't like but instead be thankful to whoever it is that gave me the present. I think of that person who gave me the gift instead and not on the gift itself. That way everything you receive no matter you like it or not will have a value for you all the time.



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DenisP

Being that I work from home, I can’t say that I’ll be participating in any sort of office gift exchange. That being said, I do like the whole idea of Secret Santa gift exchanges. It’s actually a popular trend throughout the internet, and a lot of sites have been promoting gift exchanges between people around the world.

You could get a gift from someone that doesn’t even live in the same country as you. I think it’s a great opportunity for humanity to really shine through.

That being said, I’ll definitely be exchanging gifts with my friends and family, as it is an annual tradition for us.



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Steve5

I don't think so. If gift exchanges are a thing, I guess we do it during Christmas parties. It's when someone has a box filled with numbers. And then we each pick one randomly. The number you get corresponds to the gift with the same number written on it.



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jaymish

They must be some advantage to having a large family. I want all my gifts! If you have a large family, just start to plan early. If you save money all year until the Black Friday sales you will have lots of options. This is what I do. I shop on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and on Boxing day. You learn to get creative. You can also learn how to make your own gifts e.g lotions, perfumes, bath products, pillows, rugs e.t.c. You learn to think outside the box which is not a bad thing.



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Steve5

That's amazing. It's definitely hard to save money until the holidays. We often end up spending them on stuff frequently. Learning to find creative ways to make gifts definitely helps. It also makes them more special since you made it yourself.



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knnon

We've done this all through out my school years and a few years back we tried this for Christmas when everyone of my relatives came over to spend Christmas with us. It honestly is a good idea to make sure everyone goes home with a gift. I wouldn't mind doing this again this coming Christmas but sadly everyone is overseas and they wouldn't be coming home to spend the Holidays here.



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Bravosi

Hey there!

Yeah, I used to. It's an amazing experience and practice, there's just something magical in it. It's also good to remember it when you get closer to Xmas now. Do You Participate in White Elephant Gift Exchanges for Christmas?
It's a thing that binds people together even more, but sadly, now I don't have time for it. Perhaps in the future we'll revive this tradition within our family.



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Alymae

This seems to be a nice event. Sadly, we don't have it here in my country. I haven't seen anyone in my country do this. This is very new to me. I hope I can participate in this someday.



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cmoneyspinner

For those of you who might want to try Secret Santa, here is a list of inexpensive gifts. These are typical Secret Santa gifts ideas. https://www.thesimpledollar.com/30-great-gifts-for-5-or-less/

Do You Participate in White Elephant Gift Exchanges for Christmas?



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kaushikangara

Well yes, when I first started my job, it was a totally new idea for me. Secret Santa was really fun and brought all of us colleagues close to each other. People exchanged chocolates, presents, some shared gift boxes, alarm clocks, motivational pictures and all great stuff. Things like these really motivate the staff and bring out positive vibes in the community workspace. I find Secret Santa to be a wonderful theme designed to relieve employees of all the stress and to be involved in a fun activity as one family.



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Kakashi2020

Gift giving specially exchange gifts and secret santa's are extremely fun and exciting. I think the best gift I ever got from a secret santa was a stainless Zippo lighter with a pirate skull and crossbones design, it's not expensive just about $20. I got it 15 years ago and I'm still using it now. I've lost it several times in the past but It keeps finding it's way back to me.



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