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THE WHITE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

The Creative Group Survey Reveals Strangest Gifts Swapped Among Employees

MENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Gifts exchanged during white elephant parties -- where people often unburden themselves of useless or unwanted items -- are designed to amuse more than amaze. And a new survey by The Creative Group confirms there is no lack of funny business when these activities occur in the office. Following are some actual objects bestowed upon coworkers during year-end white elephant parties:

  • "Someone gave a framed picture of himself."
    It'll look great sitting on the fireplace mantel.
  • "I was given a used ashtray."
    You might be the butt of that joke.
  • "I literally received a white elephant."
    Finally, someone who follows directions!
  • "The strangest item I've ever seen exchanged was a World War II gas mask."
    Better safe than sorry.

Food was a recurring theme, but unfortunately, these items weren't very appetizing:

  • "A wilted carrot"
    What's up, Doc? No fresh ones?
  • "A potato"
    Hope it's a hot one!
  • "A jar of pickles"
    Because you never know when a craving will strike …
  • "A can of beans"
    They are the "magical fruit," after all.

Everyone knows regifting is common around the holidays, but these employees took the concept to the extreme by wrapping up these worn-out items:

  • "A broken umbrella"
    Hail, no!
  • "A used candle"
    A thrifty approach.
  • "Dirty oven mitts"
    No need to break them in.

Finally, it's not uncommon for certain objects to show up every year, like this returnee:

  • "The same fruitcake went around the office two years in a row."
    We're betting it makes a third appearance.

"White elephant parties can be a fun way for employees to take a break from work and celebrate the holidays," said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. "This type of gift exchange is little or no cost and can take the pressure off of workers to buy expensive presents for their colleagues while showing their creativity."

About the Survey
The survey was developed by The Creative Group and was conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on more than 750 telephone interviews -- approximately 575 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 175 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees -- in the United States and Canada.

About The Creative Group
The Creative Group specializes in placing a range of highly skilled interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals with a variety of firms on a project and full-time basis. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group's award-winning career magazine, can be found at www.creativegroup.com.


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