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Thanks For Nothing: Odd Co-Worker Gifts

holiday gift . / Credit: Worker Gift Image via Shutterstock

While nearly a quarter of employees will receive holiday gifts from co-workers this year, they probably shouldn’t be holding their breath for a present they've been dreaming of, new research shows.

A study by CareerBuilder reveals some of the odder gifts employees have received from co-workers through the years, including a harpoon and, in another case, homemade pickles.

Among the other memorable gifts:

  • CD of the co-worker's recorded songs.
  • Dolphin oven mitt.
  • Four rolls of toilet paper.
  • Can of wasp spray.
  • Jar of sand.
  • Conch shell.
  • Lava lamp filled with fake fish.
  • Expired body lotion.
  • Book about kittens.

Overall, more than 80 percent of the workers planning to give gifts are prepared to spend $25 on each holiday present they buy for the office, while 38 percent expect to spend $10 or less. Ten percent of employees will go the cheap route, spending less than $5 on each present.

While employees might not expect much from colleagues, things are looking up when it comes to employers. More than 35 percent of companies plan to give holiday gifts to staff members this year, up from 30 percent in 2011 and 2010, while 46 percent will give out year-end bonuses, an increase of 13 percentage points since 2010.

The study was based on surveys of 2,494 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3,976 workers across a variety of industries and company sizes.

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Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.