Getting That Perfect Gift for Coworkers Not So Easy

December 10, 2013 ( – A plaster cast of a coworker’s hand, camouflage toilet paper—some coworkers have a hard time with the holiday gift exchange.

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 22% of workers plan on exchanging gifts with co-workers this holiday season, and 21% are buying a gift for their boss. The majority (78%) of workers who plan to buy gifts for their co-workers expect to spend $25 or less on each gift, 36% will spend $10 or less, and 10% will spend $5 or less.

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

  • 50 pounds of fresh Louisiana shrimp,
  • A toothpaste squeezer,
  • A hand-painted porcelain clown with silk clothes on it,
  • A unicorn calendar,
  • A painted concrete chicken,
  • A plaster cast of a co-worker’s hand,
  • Camouflage toilet paper,
  • Homemade laundry detergent,
  • Stamps, and
  • A talking fly swatter.

Employers also plan to give back to their employees with holiday perks. Forty-five percent of employers are planning on giving their employees holiday bonuses this year, in line with 46% in 2012. Forty percent plan to provide the same size or larger bonus this year.

Three in five (59%) employers are throwing company holiday parties for their workers in December (the same as 2012) and more than half (54%) expect them to be the size of last year’s party or slightly bigger. Two in five workers say they plan to attend their company party this season.

Thirty-five percent of employers plan on giving their employees holiday gifts this year, on par with last year (36%).

The national survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive from August 13 to September 6, 2013, and included a representative sample of 3,484 workers and 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.