5 Holiday Gifts That Will Please Your Coworkers (Plus 6 That Totally Won’t)

Friends opening gifts at a Christmas party.
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Exchanging holiday gifts with family members is challenging enough. Buying gifts for the people you work with is an outright minefield.

You’d think people would stick with safe gifts like a coffee shop gift card or a book filled with pictures of puppies and kittens, but noooooooo.

According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, some workers like to get… how should I say it? Inventive with their gift choices.

Researchers asked people to share unusual gifts they’ve received from co-workers ,and some of the responses are real head scratchers.

6 Weird Gifts People Have Given at the Office

There were a lot of odd gifts mentioned in the survey, but these six really take the cake.

1. Saran Wrap. Maybe this was a not-so-subtle way of telling the recipient to at least cover their salmon before microwaving it for lunch?

2. Roasted grasshoppers. Nothing says “happy holidays” like a bag of crunchy insects.

3. Coupons from a grocery store. I can see why some people would be taken aback by this gift, but it would probably go over very well here at The Penny Hoarder HQ.

4. Party dip recipe. “It’s time to stop bringing your anchovy and pickle dip to our potlucks, Carol.”

5. A nightgown. The perfect gift to give if you’ve been longing for a nice chat with Human Resources.

6. Chicken earrings. Well, maybe… yeah, I’ve got nothin’.

What to Give Instead

Careerbuilder’s survey revealed that 43% of workers plan to spend $11 to $25 on each gift, while 27% will spend $6 to $10.

You can get a variety of thoughtful gifts within those price ranges — and not a single one involves dead bugs or nighties.

A cold brew infusion bottle or reusable coffee sleeve is perfect for the java aficionado in your office.

Consider a nice set of bookends or a fancy book mark for the bookworm you work with.

If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary but not too weird, pick up some novelty ice cube molds or a recipe rock.

What hipster wouldn’t love a pair of suspenders or an ironic t-shirt?

If you’re really at a loss for what to get, a subscription box is the gift that keeps on giving.  

Whatever gift you decide to give a co-worker this holiday season, remember to be discreet if you’re not giving something to everyone.

“If you are only giving gifts to a select few co-workers, don’t make your other colleagues feel bad by making a huge display out of presenting your presents. Send the gift directly to their home or set it on their desk before work,” recommends CareerBuilder.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She once received a package of hot dogs as a gift from a co-worker. It was so awkward.