Your Guide to Gift Giving at Work

Gift giving during holiday season is complicated any way you look at it but can be immensely more complicated in the workplace. Luckily, I have good news for you – it doesn’t have to be! Following some simple guidelines can go far if you’re looking to spread a little holiday cheer to your colleges.

Never Feel Guilty for Choosing Not to Participate

This rule can apply to any gift giving in the office – not just during the holiday season. If for whatever reason you don’t wish to participate just know that you should be under no obligation to give any sort to reason or feel pressured to participate. You may have limited funds, not really know your co-workers well or even may have personal beliefs that don’t align. Whatever the situation, know that it’s always okay to simply say; “I’ll pass”.

Who to give to?

Who you should give gifts to can get complicated the larger your workplace is. One thing is for sure, don’t feel obligated to give a gift to your boss; gift giving should flow down the organizational chart, not up.

Keep It Light

A general rule of thumb is to not get anything too personal. Unless you have an exceptionally close relationship that you can confirm they would enjoy the gift. Gag gifts should also be avoided as well unless you can confirm that the receiver shares your perception of humor.

Stick To Price Limitations

Despite the option of the famous Michael Scott from the hit show The Office gift giving limitations should be strictly followed. In the show, Michael brings a $400 video iPod to a $20 limit Secret Santa exchange. The gift created visible discomfort and discontent. Use this silly example as a case study – even if you’re well intended you don’t want to make your gift recipient uncomfortable, nor do you want to make other guests feel jilted. On the flip side, you also don’t want to bring a single dollar item either with the expectation that most of the other participants will be around the same price point.

Still need some gift ideas for your coworkers? Here’s some of our favorites. You can also find some great gift ideas in our Small Business Gift Guide.

  • Stationary: New calendars, fancy pens or fun sticky notes are a great gift item for co-workers. Stores like Target and Jo Ann Fabrics have adorably designed things to keep a desk looking fun and you can usually find them under $5.

  • Wine and Liquor: Wine and liquor are great ideas for a simple gift and can be easily found in gift sets during the holiday season, and it can be regifted if it’s not a favorite flavor of the receiver.

  • Lottery Tickets: Festive scratch off tickets are always a fun little gift that doesn’t cost a lot. If you want to give a simple gift to many people, a nice piece of candy and a $1 scratch off goes a long way!

  • Fun Coffee Mugs: If your office is anything like ours – coffee is mandatory but drinking out of a fun mug is optional. Coffee mugs can be very affordable and it’s a way to share a common interest for example if you both share a love for the above-mentioned Michael Scott, a ‘World’s Best Boss’ mug would be the perfect gift.

What are your favorite gifts to give coworkers? Share with us your favorites!

Lisa ReynoldsComment