I work in an office and am participating in the office Kris Kringle. I want to stick to my ideals but also be able to give a nice gift that someone will actually appreciate for a measly $15…  so, what should I do?

Some ideas I have had so far are:

REUSABLE COFFEE CUP – We are lucky enough at work to have access to a semi-decent coffee machine, but people still prefer to buy a latte from the coffee shop across the road. Why, I have no idea. (I do suspect it has a lot to do with time away from the office!)

So, by providing someone with a nice reusable coffee mug, the can still go and buy their daily latte but without the excess single use take-away cups.

Keep Cup – This is a barista standard cup and only costs $12.00 (it also is BPA free and non toxic. They have good thermal properties keeping beverages hot 20-30 minutes longer than disposable cups.)

BYO Coffee Cup – Another reusable cup that we spoken about before is the wonderful BYO Coffee Cup. It is alsobarista standard and comes in multiple sizes and costs up to $15.95

Another suggestion is if you buy the mug, approach the local coffee shop and ask if they are happy to give a small discount to people who provide their own reusable take away cups! (hey, that works out for everyone who already has a reusable cup and encourages others!)

PUBLIC TRANSPORT TICKET – This might seem a little miserly, and yes it might come off the wrong way, but you could purchase someone a prepaid bus/train ticket. This works wonderfully if they already use public transport to get to work and helps make things a little easier over Christmas.
In Victoria, we have the MyKi which is a prepaid ticket – you could buy the ticket for the person and put some money on it, or you could buy a few prepaid tickets for other states.

This may not work so well for people who drive to work, they may not like the suggestion to get on the train, so use this gift wisely. I know I would love a prepaid bus ticket to work – If anyone who knows me is reading this – hint hint!

GIFT VOUCHERS – There isn’t much you can buy for a $15 voucher – unless you’re a music fan! You can purchase an iTunes voucher and they are a great gift. A lot of people love a little musical splurge and by purchasing the gift card you are also cutting down on excess packaging of CDs.

The gift cards can be sent back to the store where they have been purchased from, so find a way to subtly tell your Kris Kringle that they can give the card back to recycled!

GROUP DONATION – Ask your team if this year instead of actual presents you can all donate your KK money to a charity you all like. There are so many to pick from, but make sure it is a group decision so everyone feels good about the donation. Look at things such as Kiva.org, Oxfam Unwrapped, World Wildlife Foundation Adopt an Animal program, Greenpeace Australia or One Laptop Per Child.

This is a great way to be giving at Christmas and to help others and our planet.

REUSABLE BOTTLE – How about a reusable bottle for their desk. A great idea so your co-worker can fill up their drink bottle before heading out to lunch and avoid buying bottled water or other bottled drinks.  These are great as well if they like going to the gym, walk to and from the train station/bus stop.  Having a separate reusable bottle for the office makes like a touch easier since you won’t ever forget to bring it to work!

DESK PLANT – A small desk plant is a nice addition to someones work space. Try using cuttings from your garden, or even a small cactus! Aim for indoor plants and plants that don’t require a lot of maintenance.

You could even make up a small “kitchen garden” kit with a few packets of seeds such as basil, parsley, mint and thyme! If you find a nice cheap little pot you could bundle it in altogether. nice!

HOME MADE – You can always give something that is home made. If you are a soap maker, try a bar of natural soap that is lightly scented. Something that is hand made is always going to be well received so don’t be afraid to show off your crafting skills around the office.

You can also give a homemade food gift – such as cookies, muffins or a cooking kit such as  “brownies in a jar” or “cookies in a jar“. Make sure you create thorough labels listing all ingredients, or if you know someone has a food allergy avoid that ingredient!

One last note I would also avoid wrapping paper and christmas cards! Use up some old office recycling paper and draw some Christmas trees on it! Make it a little fun, but the paper will end up in the recycling anyway, so no point buying any more (even if it is already made of post recycled paper)

So, there are a lot of fun options for your office Kris Kringle. What do you have in mind for yours? I only have a few weeks left to get this organised!

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