Holiday regifting common among colleagues - survey

NEW YORK Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:27pm EST

NEW YORK Dec 14 (Reuters) - Candy dishes, winter scarves, unmemorable vacation souvenirs - if your office exchanges holiday gifts, unwanted presents from birthdays and holidays past, or even something unwrapped at last year's office party, may find its way under the tree for you.

When it comes to holiday cheer in the workplace, nearly four in 10 workers have passed a gift from a family member off to a colleague or friend, according to an Accounting Principals survey.

Less common, but far from unheard of, is regifting within the same office. About one in six workers admit to having accepted a gift from a colleague, only to then pass it off to another colleague.

And, if you do get something brand new, your officemate is likely to have spent less than $50. Three-quarters of workers spend that amount on an office gift-exchange, the survey found. A gift to a manager is likely to be more expensive.

However, most gifts are exchanged among colleagues at the same level, or are gifts of appreciation given to support staff, the survey found.

Three-quarters of respondents hope to receive money or gift cards, while one in four say they would be happy with baked goods.

While regifting might be common at the office, if the recipients know their colleagues have been naughty instead of nice, they are not telling. Just 3 percent of those responding to the survey say they have been caught in the act.

Employees are probably expecting some crisp, green cash - and not likely to be regifted - from their employers. Close to 80 percent said they expected a gift from the company, the survey found.

The telephone survey was conducted by Braun Research for Accounting Principals between Nov. 9 and Nov. 13, using a sample of 503 employed Americans who exchanged gifts during the holidays within the last year.

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. (Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Jackie Frank)

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