The 10 Weirdest Office Holiday Gifts

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This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine

It’s the thought that counts, of course, but some gifts make you wonder, “What were they thinking?” The Creative Group, a and staffing firm, asked 400 executives to recall the most peculiar holiday presents they’ve received from coworkers. A sampling of the answers:

  • “A little flying helicopter for the team to share.”
  • “Caped teddy bears.”
  • “A water gun that shoots marshmallows.”
  • “A grooming kit for women.”
  • “A muumuu.”
  • “A goofy cat statue.”
  • “A toilet seat cover."
  • “Molds of shaped like body parts.”
  • “A bobblehead of the boss.”
  • “Opera tickets. I hate opera.”

Then there are those gifts that come with ulterior motives, like the “bottle of tequila with a resume taped to it” that landed on one manager’s desk.

“The best gifts reflect the recipient’s tastes and interests,” notes Diane Domeyer, the Creative Group’s executive director. “If you question whether or not something is appropriate, it probably isn’t.”

Keep it “small but thoughtful,” she adds. “Lavish presents can make people uncomfortable.” A few examples that had recipients looking for strings attached: “A cruise to the Caribbean”; “The keys to my client’s villa to use on my vacation”; and “A beautiful box with a stack of $100 bills and a thank-you card.”

Speaking of $100 bills, an overwhelming 96% of about 5,000 executives and employees in a separate survey by CareerBuilder said they’d rather receive a cash bonus from their employer than a holiday party. Yet fewer than half of employers (47%) plan to pay holiday bonuses this season, according to the same poll, a slight increase over last year’s 45%.

CareerBuilder also turned up some odd presents that people have received from coworkers. Three of the most baffling: A fire extinguisher, a set of zombie action figures, and a of chips. Gosh, you shouldn’t have. Really.

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