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Forced Gift Exchange!!

So the powers that be at my office have determined that we're going to do a gift exchange this year - I believe it's what you'd call a white elephant? Where everyone brings in a random generic gift for under $25 and then everyone just gets one out of the pile.

What on earth do you get for these? I've never had to do one before - I've done Secret Santas, of course, but in that case you at least know the person and can start from there. My office has about 20 people in it, and it's an IT firm, so I want to lean more towards the geeky and fun stuff, but on the other hand, we range from our developers who still live with their moms and with whom I can have long chats about fantasy novels and random techy problems on slow days, to our sales person* who can't add in her own email signature file and who can barely make it through a People magazine. How do I get a gift that ANYONE on this spectrum would like??

So far my only thoughts are:

1) Fun desk calendar? That seems like it's generally appropriate

2) Bottle of booze (I've secretly tried to convince everyone that we should all just bring in a 20 dollar bottle of some type of booze so that the entire tree is filled with them and our boss is confounded/amused)


3) Getting something I think is super cool and neat and nerdy and just hoping that someone who appreciates it gets it.

Are people allowed to swap and such at these things? HOW DOES THIS WORK?

And seriously, aren't I old enough now that I should understand all the normal cultural things of 9-5 middle classers? WHY AM I ALWAYS FINDING NEW NORMAL PEOPLE THINGS TO BE CONFUSED AND FEEL BAD I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW THEY WORK?

Halp! Ideas?



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