Working in a Winter Wonderland

As the holidays draw nearer, the question at the forefront of everyone’s mind is: who will get the most expensive gifts this year?

Maybe that’s not at the forefront, but you’re probably wondering. According to a new Office Pulse survey of 495 North American workers, you will probably get the most expensive gift – but you’ll likely have to buy it yourself. Nearly 1 in 5 workers (19%) plan to spend $100+ on gifts for themselves this year. Millennials plan to treat themselves the most, with 16% intending to spend $100+ on self-gifts, but no more than $100 on anyone else.

Who will you buy gifts for this year?

My boss
Coworkers within same dept.
Coworkers outside dept.
Employees who report to me

You Better Not Pout, You Better Not Cry

You may have a lengthy wish list, but don’t expect to get any big-ticket items from your boss. While 32% of higher-ups plan to buy a gift for employees who report to them, it probably won’t be an expensive one. 29% of bosses are only willing to spend up to $50 on presents for their direct reports.

Watch out for gifts from coworkers, too. Many plan to be more frugal this year by regifting. 32% of workers admitted to regifting presents they didn’t like to coworkers. Canadians copped to being much more likely than Americans (29% vs. 18%) to regift to coworkers.

Even at home, you might not be safe from regifted presents. Across North America, 44% said they’re likely to regift this holiday season – to family, friends and coworkers alike.

Silent Night, Office Plight

The holidays can be fun and exciting, but extra end-of-year work and less time to do it can make for a stressful season – especially for women. Although only 14% of men said the holidays are more stressful for them, 30% of women reported more stress, citing things like ‘too many expectations,’ and ‘more to do outside of [the] office.’

Millennials find the time the least stressful out of any demographic, while Baby Boomers were the most likely to report either more stress or no difference in stress.

It’s the Most Absent-Minded Time of the Year

Whether crafting a one-of-a-kind holiday table centerpiece or browsing for the best deals on gifts for friends and family, most people copped to using company time to prep for the holidays. Predictably, online shopping was the most popular in-office activity. 71% of professionals said they would spend some amount of time shopping on Cyber Monday this year, according to a recent Office Pulse survey.

How much office time do you expect to spend on holiday prep each week?

Online Shopping

41 minutes

Recipe Research

14 minutes

Researching/Booking Travel

14 minutes


7 minutes

Rockin’ Around the Conference Room

Nearly 9 in 10 offices will celebrate the holiday season in some capacity, whether with a gift exchange or simply with office decorations. And while some Scrooges decline to participate or only join because they feel pressured to, of those who have an office gift exchange, 70% of North Americans will participate because they want to. 65% of those whose offices host parties will attend because they want to.

Offsite parties are the most popular way North American offices celebrate the holidays, but be careful not to get too reckless. While you may not think you’re drinking too much, chances are your coworkers are keeping an eye on just how many spiked eggnogs you’ve finished off.

Have you done something you regret at an office party?

Nope, but have sure seen folks that should regret what they did : )

50-54, Senior Manager

No, I never have more than one drink as an office party is not the place.

25-29, Middle Manager

No. Everyone always needs to exhibit self control.

35-44, Senior Manager

No. I’m HR. Never.

25-29, Middle Manager

‘Tis the Season for Generosity

The holidays aren’t all about partying and consumerism, of course. Nearly a quarter of workers (23%) across North America plan to participate in a charitable activity of some kind at the office during the holiday season.

36% of American offices that plan to participate in charitable giving this year will host an Angel Tree. While that doesn’t seem to be a tradition that crosses the border, Canadians still contribute in other ways with clothing and food drives. Toy drives were the most popular philanthropic activity in both countries.

What charitable activities does your office participate in around the holidays?

Food Drive
Toy Drive
Clothing Drive
Angel Tree

Whether you’re keeping the food drive box stocked, raking in the gifts from your Secret Santa or sneaking in holiday prep as things wind down for the year, the holidays certainly keep office life interesting. Be sure to make the most of it before your New Year’s resolution whips you into shape for another year.

About Office Pulse

Office Pulse by Captivate offers marketers timely analysis and insights from a proprietary panel of upscale professionals in the top markets. The Office Pulse panel of more than 8,000 influential consumers and business decision makers includes C-level executives, Millennials, middle management, small business owners, working women and working moms.

About Captivate

Known for its vast network of nearly 12,000 elevator displays located in 1,600 premier office buildings across North America, Captivate connects advertisers with 13 million unique monthly viewers through creative, research-driven and Nielsen-measured advertising and marketing programs. By engaging its viewers with timely news and actionable information that helps balance the personal and professional demands of the workday, Captivate provides advertisers with a highly desirable and difficult-to-reach audience of affluent and influential business professionals. Founded in 1997, Captivate is owned by Generation Partners. For more information, please visit