Co-workers Can Give the Strangest Gifts

December 12, 2012 ( Twenty-three percent of workers plan to buy holidays gifts for co-workers this year and 22% are buying for their boss.

The majority (81%) of workers who plan to buy gifts expect to spend $25 or less for each holiday gift they buy for the office, according to a CareerBuilder survey. Thirty-eight percent plan to spend $10 or less and 10% plan to spend less than $5.   

When asked to share the most memorable gifts received from co-workers, workers reported: 

  • CD of the co-worker’s recorded songs;
  • Dolphin oven mitt;
  • 4 rolls of toilet paper;
  • A harpoon;
  • Can of wasp spray;
  • Jar of sand;
  • Homemade pickles;
  • Conch shell;
  • Lava lamp filled with fake fish;
  • Expired body lotion; and
  • Book about kittens. 


The survey suggest the scrooge economy appears to be loosening its grip, as companies plan to offer more perks (bonuses, parties, gifts) than last year. Forty-six percent of employers expect to give their employees holiday bonuses this year, up from 40% last year and 33% in 2010. Nearly one in five (19%) plan to provide a larger bonus than last year.   

Six in 10 employers are throwing a holiday party for their employees this year, up from 58% last year and 53% in 2010. Forty percent of workers say they plan to attend. Thirty-six percent of employers plan to give holiday gifts, up from 30% in 2011 and 2010.  

The national study was conducted by Harris Interactive from August 13 to September 6, 2012, and included 2,494 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3,976 workers across industries and company sizes.