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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Work Gift Exchange...

If you work in an office, you are probably already familiar with the Christmas Gift Exchange at work. The idea is that everyone buys a gift no more or less than some specified value (Say $10-$15), then wraps them up and places them anoymously under the work Christmas tree. During the "Office Christmas Party" everyone picks a number out of a hat and the gift exchange begins.

The rules vary but typically the person with the lowest number begins by selecting a gift from the gift pile. Everyone sees what the gift it, and the person who drew the next highest number is now given an opportunity to either open a new gift, or take the already opened gift. If the person opts to open a new gift the round is over - but if the person takes a previously opened gift from another individual - that individual is entitled to either open a new gift, or take another gift in exchange for the one taken. Typically, you "can't tag the butcher back" - that is if someone takes your gift, you cannot take it back from them as your turn, but must take either a new gift or a gift from someone else. There are many variations on the theme, but some further restrict the exchange such that a gift cannot change hands more than three times in any given round.

The end result is that those who were fortunate enough to select "good gifts" are very much involved in the exchanging - passing gifts back and forth each round, as everyone vies for the "best gift scenario" their particular positional start will allow.

This otherwise joyous time is often the scene of great stress for those who have the misfortune of selecting a gift that no one in their right mind would like.

Having played the game for many years now, I have learned a lot about what works and what doesn't work.

Gifts That Don't Work

1. Themed Ceramics:

I don't care who you are, and I don't care how cute your ceramic little thing-a-ma-jig is, these are boat anchors in a gift exchange. If you are a guy, the other guys in the exchange will look at you with a mixture of relief and pity - relief that they didn't get stuck with that boring "do-nuthin" ceramic door stop, and pity because they know that your pretty much out of the picture from here on in. If you get saddled with one of these, try and look sad whenever one of the girls looks at you. It was likely a girl who bought it, and she might see your disdain, and take it from you out of remorse that her gift was not well received. This is your only hope. If you are a girl, maybe you like this stuff, I can't see why, but whatever.

2. Candles

Colored wax with a string attached to it. Be still my heart! Here again is another door stopper gift. It won't inspire any of the guys (who will avoid it like the plague) though if it is a scented set, you might be able to pawn it off on some of the elderly ladies - still, this gift is more or less DOA.

3. Cookie Jars/Jar sets

. No one wants this ... No one. Why do people buy them - no, why do people make them??

4. Soup bowl sets

Around this time of the year, retail marketers collect all sorts of dorky things that cannot be sold otherwise, and put them in a carton/box with a few bags of dried vegetables, wrap the works in cellophane and accent it with a big bow and - Viola! Suddenly these bowls that nobody in the known history of the earth has ever wanted - are now being purchased in droves by the $10-15$ gift exchange crowd. There is a reason they put these things in boxes at the front of the store - it is so that unimaginative and boring people who don't really care what they buy can more easily find something perfectly devoid of all personality to give as a gift in an office gift exchange. Stay away from these.

5. Overly Specialized Items

Nuff said.

6. Anything "Crafty"

I don't care how gifted you are, and how much love you poured into your pipe-cleaner creation - it is not going to travel around the gift circle. The one who opens this gift is going to turn into a spectator pretty quick - because no one is going to take the gift from them - they won't even get pity from the person who made it.

I could go on, but the bottom line is that some gifts are just not interesting enough for anyone to want them badly enough to take them in a gift exchange.

On the other hand, some gifts are hot commodities:
Gifts That DO Work

1. Green Laser pointers

While red laser pointers are passe, green laser pointers are cool, though a mixed set of red and green would be best (and not just for the cool and obvious "Star Wars" good (green) vs. evil (red) connotations. These would certainly move around the circle a bit.

2. Pocket knives/multi-tools

Again - this is going to move. The moment it is opened, all the guys in the room will collectively move three inches closer to the opened item - drawn inexorably closer by it's radiating coolness.

3. USB stick

You can never have too many of these. Can you say hotcakes??

4. A Sextant

It doesn't matter that nobody knows how to use it - what matters is that it is over-the-top cool. This gift will not only move around for the whole exchange - whoever goes home with it has to be careful in the parking lot. Seriously.

5. A Brass (Collapsible) Telescope

Another sure winner. The whole brass telescope genre is hardly tapped - and these move through the crowd like crazy - everyone wants it (especially those sitting on the sidelines with their sad little ceramic santa cookie jars that looked so promising when wrapped up).

6. Dental picks

This is more of a proof of concept gift - while it may only move around three or four times even dental picks are more useful than a ceramic cookie jar...

Anyway, you get the picture. This isn't scientifically proven information here, and there might be a teeny little male bias - but for the most part I think if you are going to do a Christmas gift exchange at the office this year - this is solid, solid advice that you cannot afford to overlook.

Feel free to offer you own do's and don'ts.

posted by Daniel @ 2:25 PM  
  • At 6:09 PM, December 21, 2005, Blogger David said…

    If I got a sextant, I would begin inching ever so slowly, gradually picking up speed, toward the door. I wouldn't even stop to put my coat on.

    I might try to slip the brass telescope up my sleeve.

  • At 6:34 PM, December 21, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    David - I have to love you because I am a Christian - but it is these kind of kindred heart comments that make loving you so easy. ;-D


  • At 8:03 PM, December 21, 2005, Blogger Dan said…


    I love this post! :-D I mostly agree with you, but I have found that in my workplace (comprised mainly of middle age women), the good crafy things are a little more valued than at your workplace. I have had coworkers brought to tears when a favorite present was stolen while the "No tagbacks" rule was in effect.

    We've never had something quite as cool as a brass sextant at my work parties. :-(

    (we also have one of those singing fish that won't go away. It keeps resurfacing year after year. :-P)


  • At 10:25 PM, December 21, 2005, Blogger David said…

    Aw, Daniel... You're not getting my Bud Li... er, Bittburger.

  • At 8:04 AM, December 23, 2005, Blogger Rose~ said…

    This is called a "White Elephant" gift exchange in these parts. Is that what you call it? We have them with our Adult Bible Sunday School class of about 40 people. I love it! To me, the challenge is to take a gift as absurd as possible. This year, I took a bag of pillow filling ... (and someone actually wanted it!)

  • At 1:55 AM, December 29, 2005, Blogger bp said…

    You forgot about the most important gift that does work-- A picture of Pecadillo in junior highschool that is in a frame that says "Woof." That is what I brought to my Bible study gift exchange a couple of weeks ago. I don't think that I need to tell you it was a massive hit with the ladies.

  • At 7:12 PM, November 30, 2006, Blogger David said…

    Hey, cool, I was the first commenter when you posted this last year! Well, I'm going to do it again this year! Yes!

    After a year I am still reading your junk... er, brilliant, astute stuff.

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