11 Thoughtful Gifts for Your Office Swap

iStock
iStock

Along with buying gifts for friends and family, there's always that one extra innocuous present you have to find—the office swap gift. Whether your company opts for white elephant or pulling specific names from a hat, these gifts are suitable for bosses or underlings alike.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. KOH-I-NOOR DRY MARKER HIGHLIGHTER PENCIL; $2 EACH

Koh-i-Noor Dry Marker Highlighter Pencils
CW Pencil Enterprises

For the colleague who keeps copious, color-coded lists and agendas, these vibrant pencils will brighten up any Monday morning to-do list. And, at about $2 each, you can buy all six without going over any agreed-upon spending limit.

Find It: CW Pencil Enterprises

2. AIR PLANT ON GOLD-DIPPED QUARTZ; $18

Air plants on gold-dipped quartz.
Etsy

Air plants are the perfect greenery to liven up a desk—they don’t require messy soil and regular misting will keep it fresh and healthy. Plus, the blinged-out base will satisfy both the healing-energy and the decorative tchotchke crowds.

Find It: Etsy

3. MOO HARDCOVER NOTEBOOK; $20

Spread of Moo notebooks.
Moo

This practical notebook features a thick book-quality cover to prevent damage and a special Swiss binding, which allows it to lay flat regardless of where you’re trying to write. And the color options—charcoal gray, midnight blue, wine red, or three “zingy” brighter shades—just enhance its timeless appeal. 

Find It: Moo

4. FELIX CARD WALLET; $20

Herschel card wallet
Herschel

No one wants to have to drag a purse or bulky wallet along when popping out for a quick snack or coffee run. Help your coworkers out with this compact card wallet. There’s plenty of room for an office ID, credit card, cash, and even some business cards, so they can enter you all to win a happy hour sometime.

Find It: Herschel

5. L'OCCITANE HAND LOTION; $24

Bottle of L'Occitane lotion
Amazon

During these dry winter months, your Secret Santa will appreciate having some moisturizing hand lotion that’s just an easy pump away.

Find It: Amazon

6. RUBBER BAND BALL; $9

Black and white rubber band ball
Need Supply

For the coworker who needs utilitarian office supplies like rubber bands, but also keeps a Pinterest-perfect desk: This black and white take on the classic rubber band ball is as display-worthy as it is practical.

Find It: Need Supply

7. ZADIE DRIVE ALLIGATOR LETTER OPENER; $40

Zadie Drive Alligator Letter Opener
Kate Spade

Upgrade someone’s letter-opening experience with a quick swipe of this golden alligator tail. It’ll leave envelopes far more cleanly cut than those scissors ever did.

Find It: Kate Spade

8. WATER SUCCULENTS LAPTOP SLEEVE; $37

Water succulents laptop sleeve
Society6

Lugging a laptop to and from the office may seem like a little less of a chore if it's dressed up in watercolored greenery. This lightweight sleeve is fully lined in microfiber and made to fit 13” or 15” computers.

Find It: Society6

9. PERSONALIZED STARBUCKS TUMBLER; $10

Personalized Starbucks coffee tumblers
Etsy

What to get the most caffeinated among us? A personalized, BPA-free, reusable cup is a gift that keeps on giving. Not only will your office pal be helping the environment when they go on their afternoon coffee run, they’ll save 10 cents each time they use it at Starbucks.

Find It: Etsy

10. PREVIOUSLY, ON…: GUESS THE TV SERIES; $19


Amazon

For the colleague who is always the first to ask “so did everyone watch [insert any culturally relevant show] last night?”, this illustrated card game puts all their knowledge of classic and prestige television to the test.

Find It: Amazon

11. KILNER FOOD-TO-GO JAR; $15

Kilner Food-To-Go Jar
The Container Store

Help your coworker keep their 2018 resolution to bring their lunch to work more often—this Mason-style glass jar features a removable cup for dressings or other toppings under its stainless steel lid, so they’ll never have to worry about soggy salad again.

Find It: The Container Store

Put Shakespeare's Best Insults On a Poster, Coffee Mug, or Even Some Bandages

Take your insult inspiration from the master: William Shakespeare.
Take your insult inspiration from the master: William Shakespeare.
Curious Charts Commission/Three Rivers Press/Amazon

If you’ve ever struggled to find the words to describe how angry or frustrated someone is making you, perhaps William Shakespeare, iconic writer and master of insults, can help.

Adorned with 100 insults from the Bard's many works, this poster from Curious Charts Commission (Amazon, $25) is the perfect reference piece to hang in your home or office for when you're struggling to think of the perfect takedown for anyone who crosses you. To help you get started, the 18-inch-by-24-inch poster is broken up into sections that include food and drink; types of individuals; inanimate objects; bodily qualities; creatures; and—of course—personal attributes and traits. Once you’ve decided the optimal route to take, you have a wide array of put-downs to choose from, ranging from “Were I like thee, I’d throw away myself,” to slightly simpler ones like, “You egg!”

The only drawback to the poster is that you can't take it everywhere with you. But the 14-ounce Shakespeare insults mug ($16), on the other hand, is the perfect choice for snark on the go. So next time a chatty co-worker tries to tell you about their weekend before you've even had your Monday morning coffee, you can simply look up and call them the "anointed sovereign of sighs and groans."

A mug decorated with Shakespeare insults.
Shakespeare insult mug from Unemployed Philosopher's Guild.
Unemployed Philosopher's Guild/Amazon

If, after all that, you’re still struggling to find the words, Shakespeare’s Insults: Educating Your Wit ($12), a book of 5000 slights pulled from 38 of Shakespeare’s plays, can be of assistance. Or, you can help heal a physical wound by dishing out an emotional one with these Shakespearean insult bandages ($6). You get 15 in a pack, and each box comes with a prize inside. 

Shakespeare Insult Bandages.
Shakespeare insult bandages found on Amazon.
Accoutrements/Amazon

Beyond a repertoire of insults, Shakespeare also coined many words we still use today. Check out the full list here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

These Eco-Friendly Bags Are Organic and Break Down in 18 Months or Less

A-Zero
A-Zero

If you’re looking to cut down on the amount of single-use plastics in your life, then reach for these fully compostable organic bags.

The A-Zero bags (which are available on Kickstarter here) may look a lot like their plastic counterparts, but they’re actually made from vegetable starch. According to the campaign, these totes are 100 percent organic, are harmless to nature, and can break down in a matter of 18 months—unlike plastic bags, which take hundreds of years. Each bag also features unique designs created by different artists from all over the world.

When it comes to sizes, you have a few different options. The smallest bag, ideal for snacks and sandwiches, is leak-proof and freezer-friendly, and can even be used in the microwave. A-Zero also makes leak-proof trash bags, grocery bags that can hold up to 18 pounds of food, and a refillable bag dispenser that can hold 20 or more grocery bags and can clip onto a backpack or purse.

You might be thinking that you already have a reusable tote at home, but unfortunately, these also have a detrimental effects on the environment. A 2011 British government study [PDF] estimated that with all the water and energy it takes to create a cotton bag, each one has a carbon footprint of 598.6 pounds of CO2, compared to a plastic bag’s 3.48 pounds.

With $22,522 raised, A-Zero bags already surpassed its original $8000 goal. But you can still help bring the project to life and get your own eco-friendly bags by heading here. Pledge tiers start at $29, and the campaign will be live until April 11.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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