The Office, My Office #5: Yankee Swap

Michael Scott, disappointed that his Secret Santa, Phyllis, gave him a hand-knit oven mitt, changes the game and starts a round of Yankee Swap AKA white elephant AKA nasty Christmas.

My office also celebrates Christmas with a white elephant gift exchange. And like in The Office, it usually doesn’t end well.

Two years ago, this simple and light-hearted gift exchange turned into a complicated and stressful event. After three hours (well, maybe it was only two hours), the box of chocolate and the Wal-Mart gift card had exchanged hands 27 times, and everyone FINALLY had a gift. Several were still unhappy with their gifts (perhaps even bitterly and outspokenly so), and they arranged for a few independent exchanges. I left that party with a men’s Shake Weight and a glittery ornament the size of a bowling ball. Last year, the process improved slightly, everyone understood the rules a little bit better, and I got a self-inking rubber stamp of red lips. Who knows what this year will bring…


Minimalist Christmas Gifts

Prior to the Christmas holiday, I designed a coupon book for one of my bosses to give to her adult children as gifts. The book contained 12 coupons that could be redeemed throughout the year for items like “Oil Change,” “Electric Bill,” or “$100.” I took this opportunity to have fun with design, and I ended up with something my coworker may have described as “deliciously minimalist.”

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