Not to be too crabby or anything (I really am a happy person!), but gift exchanges are not a favorite holiday activity of mine.
I'm not fond of shopping, even for myself, and shopping for a good gift under $10, the mandated budget cap, for the purpose of exchange, with people at work, no less!, is not easy.
The gift should just about meet the budget (slightly over is ok), be inoffensive and gender neutral. The only problem is, gifts like that are frequently boring, often
useless ornamental (kinda like wedding favors), corporate gift-like (shudder!), and really tempting for the purpose of regifting. After all, there are only so many photoframes one can use...
I considered and discarded several ideas. Namecard holder (too corporate), handphone charm (not gender neutral enough, and way too personal), small decorative pouch (again, too feminine)...
In a brief moment of weakness, I considered regifting something from all the accumulated never before used gifts/freebies that have piled up in my cubicle over the last few years of work. A handphone holder, a Nalgene bottle, a tiny souvenir bottle of German liquer, an Ohio State U Buckeyes cap, a tiny souvenir ceramic teapot, several sets of postcards...you wouldn't believe the amount of detritus that accumulates over the years.
Thankfully, the moment passed.
I finally came up with an idea I thought would fly. One of those tasteful looking glass jars (available from Ikea, I think) with a hinged lid, appropriately filled with some holiday goody.
Cookies would be an obvious choice, but I'm leaning towards jellybeans. The colors just seem more festive. Candied walnuts would be another good choice. Anyways, I haven't decided. It'll have to depend on what I can find in the food halls or Candy Empire when I'm out over the weekend.