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Start exchanging gifts for Christmas at work!

Why you should throw a big White Elephant Gift Exchange party at work:

During our work day, we interact with so many people whom we know very little about. Social gatherings with work colleagues are often awkward with most people wanting to show up for a limited amount of time and to get out as quickly as possible. By adding a White Elephant Gift Exchange game at your office or place of work party, you are giving your colleagues something to focus on and it just may become the central part of the party that everyone is most looking forward to and that everyone most enjoys. It can fill in those gaps where people get quickly bored or don't want to interact leisurely with their colleagues more.

A great structure to a 90-minute office party can be:

  1. Guest arrival and mingling, snack table: 20 minutes
  2. Any required welcome speeches: 10 minutes
  3. White Elephant Gift Exchange: 40 minutes, depending on the size of the group
  4. Final mingling, snacking, clean up: 15 minutes

We all know, a work party can cause a lot of stress - for management with budget and time pressures, for employees who have a lot of commitments outside of work, particularly during the Christmas season, and for the organizer(s) who want to get it 'just right', so that it looks good for them and is a fun event for their colleagues. Here are some reasons why you should step up to organize White Elephant Gift Exchange party at work:

* It brings everyone together: No one's job leaves them a lot of time for socializing, except between colleagues who rely on each other to get their jobs done. There may be 10 or 100 other people in your work environment who you've not managed to say anything beyond "Hello" to all year. Throwing a work party is a good reason to bring everyone in your work place together.

* It's a great morale booster: In bringing everyone together, your workplace is letting everyone know that they are important, that a few hours of leisure time at the office is thanks for everyone's hard work. If a work party is organized well, most participants will leave feeling very good about where they work. Throwing in a White Elephant Gift Exchange adds to that boost to morale because by and large, everyone will have contributed something to the event and everyone will walk away with having had a few laughs and having chosen a great gift. A work party can be a great team builder!

* It shows that your company values everyone being there. Having your management agree to a small piece of the budget being set aside for a work party sends the message to all employees that their contribution to the company is recognized and valued, a small way of saying thank you for everyone's efforts throughout the year.

* It's FUN! If you organize a party to be short and sweet, have it occur during company time, and give your colleagues plenty of notice to the date and time of its occurrence, you are ensuring that everyone can participate, everyone can get ready and that ultimately it will be fun! Adding an event to your party, which takes the focus off of mingling, creates a shared experience that people will definitely remember and talk about - particularly if you add a White Elephant Gift Exchange!

* It's time to relax! All of us understand the multi-tasking that goes on in people's lives. Whether its as caregivers to older parents or young children, whether you are single parenting, whether you are juggling night classes and full-time work, volunteering and families. Everyone is time-pressed. Carving out some work time for everyone to be together for something fun, particularly during the Christmas season, gives everyone at least an hour to Relax! Planned well, your colleagues will loosen up for a short time and in the weeks' following, you may just find your colleagues interacting with peers whom they've never said more than a "Hello" to.

* Shoe-String Budgets: The days of the large, expensive Christmas company bashes are long gone. Most company's bottom line of profits determine what is left over for socializing amongst employees. This is usually one of the first line items to go once the economy slows down. With the White Elephant Gift Exchange, you can throw a thoroughly affordable work party with your colleagues that can engender just as much, if not more goodwill than any of those long ago large company parties ever did. You can decide to include spouses and partners, clients or children in your event, but by and large a work party runs best if it is done on company time and between colleagues. It sends the message that the company is paying its employees to have some fun. It also keeps the pressure off of everyone to create something more than what can be afforded.

By following some of these tips on the How and Why of a White Elephant Gift Exchange party, we hope you enjoy success with the one that you will now step up to organize or host!

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Resources

How to host a white elephant party

Including children in the fun Christmas game

Why you should throw a white elephant gift exchange at work