Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

What’s the best gift to give, and receive, in the office during the holiday season? If you’re attending a white elephant gift exchange at work, you might wonder what is considered acceptable to bring as a gift. Whether you work out of a relaxed startup or a buttoned-up corporation, what makes the best gift?

I thought back to some of the best presents brought in for our gift exchanges over the years. Out of everything I have seen (and I have seen it all!) these gifts stand out and make the perfect present for any type of environment.

1. Blankets

Tis the season for all things snuggly! No gift gets snapped up quite as fast during our holiday gift exchanges than blankets. The bigger, cuddlier, and plusher they are, the better. Blankets are seasonally appropriate, which makes them the number one best gift to give (and get) during exchanges. They’re universal and a present that all personality types can — literally — embrace for themselves. You can keep the blanket at work to warm up with, or take it home with you.

2. Amazon Gift Cards

You can’t go wrong with any type of gift card in general, but there is a certain amount of excitement I see in people who receive Amazon gift cards in our office. Most people have Amazon accounts. They can easily use these gift cards to purchase whatever is on their wish list!

3. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s Gift Cards

Retire the coffee gift card in favor of buying a coworker a decadent lunch! These gift cards are also a big hit during our gift exchanges and often get “stolen” the most frequently. It’s also a bit more thoughtful than a more generic fast food gift card, especially when New Year’s resolutions to get in shape are getting set.

4. Card Games

How about a present that doesn’t involve staring at a screen? I often see various card decks, like Cards Against Humanity, being given out during our gift exchanges. Card games make great gifts because you’re able to get a group of people involved and create lasting memories together.

5. Adult Coloring Books

Adult coloring books also work in a similar vein to cards. While I see them given out less frequently at our gift exchanges, pairing coloring pencils with a coloring book equals a creative field day for the mind. Coloring is a natural de-stressor that allows us to relax a bit. Adult coloring books might not be experiencing the heyday right now that they had a few years ago, but it’s never a bad idea to gift one filled with unique patterns and coloring tools.

6. A silly desk decoration.

Play this particular gift by ear and use your best judgement. This isn’t the time to gift whoopee cushions or anything else you might have found at a joke store when you were seven. If it sounded hilarious as a child, it’s probably better left on the shelf as an adult.

Give a desk decoration that is a little silly, but still useful. You may gift a journal full of memes, funny cat calendar, tea cups, or a paperweight “decision maker” that allows you to spin your way to answering the big questions of the day.