Best Office Holiday Party Ever: Yankee Swap Ideas to Make This Year Special

An office gift exchange can heighten employee morale and increase engagement. The following ideas will make this year's office holiday party the best ever.

Incorporating a gift exchange into your office holiday party can heighten morale considerably and increase employee engagement in the seasonal shindig.

This year, add a twist to traditional gift-giving. Get creative and spread holiday cheer by adding a fun theme to your office-wide Yankee Swap:

As Seen on TV Gifts

Coordinating an exchange of "As Seen on TV" products is sure to be a great hit at your office holiday party. Inform your participating employees to each purchase a gift of this type in the $10 to $20 range for the upcoming event. Despite the name, these helpful items can be purchased at various brick-and-mortar stores as well as through online shops (no 1-800 number required!).

Gag Gifts

Gift swap ideas can not only be creative, but also humorous. So encourage your employees to bring in funny items to gift. For example, frame a headshot of yourself and autograph it — it's a surefire way to get the crowd laughing.

Now, of course, you don't want your recipient to feel cheated with this present. Therefore, make sure you purchase a frame nice enough that the giftee will end up using it later, with a photo of their choice.

There are plenty of other hilarious gag gifts you can also purchase online.

Retro Gifts

You could establish an overarching theme for the swap, and have everyone bring in different versions of the same sort of item. For instance for a "retro" exchange, participants would bring in an updated model of a classic gift they received as a child, such as a Slinky, Etch A Sketch or View-Master.

You could also have a more general theme, so everyone brings in a t-shirt — or perhaps a food item — to swap. Just make sure to set some ground rules (like no used or damaged items) so this exchange isn't a disappointment to anyone.

Creative Theme Gifts

To ensure that everyone has a chance to participate in the company celebration, consider adding a more creative theme to the office-wide Yankee swap.

For example, instruct your employees to each bring in their tackiest holiday sweater — you can first hold a contest to identify the ugliest, and then have everyone participate in a sweater swap. To kick things up another notch, a cookie swap could be held, unique family recipes can be traded or employees could exchange gift cards to local retailers and restaurants. These are all great ways to spark creativity and foster engagement in the workplace.

And don't forget that once the office holiday party is over, you should post some pictures of the event to your company's social media platforms to keep the fun rolling. You can use some of the office party photos for #TBT campaigns to keep your employees connected and get more people talking about your growing business.