The holiday season causes a lot of stress. While you may buy gifts to impress your loved ones, office gifts should steer clear of that objective.

Number One Rule: NO gift is going to get you the raise/promotion you so desperately want and/or deserve. NO gift is going to make that co-worker/boss realize that you are the love of their life. NO gift if going to change anyone’s opinion about you. Those things you need to work on all year long.

Number Two Rule: Keep it inexpensive. For your boss, nothing over $25. If that feels too low for you, refer back to Number One Rule! If you broke this rule in the past, ease your way down each year. If purchasing something for co-workers keep it simple and shoot for $5 or less. If you want to spend more than that on a co-worker, you probably consider them a friend and they would move out of this arena altogether. Remember that when buying for co-workers, try to include everyone in your work group or you may end up offending which is exactly the opposite of what etiquette is trying to avoid!

Number Three Rule: Don’t make it too personal. That goes for the boss or the co-worker. Avoid giving a gift that touches the body. No to shirts/blouses, but scarves or ear warmers are okay. Skip the slippers and pick up golf/tennis balls. Pass on the funky socks and opt for a coffee mug filled with candy or hand warmers.

Think tradition–give the same kind of gift every year: holiday ornament, baked goodies, stationery (yes, people still use it). Think consumable—favorite coffees, teas, jellies, but skip the alcohol. Think relaxation—magazine subscription, crossword puzzle/Sudoku book, scented candles. Think green—re-usable grocery sack or tote.

Group gifts are great when everyone chips in for boss–this is a good time for a gift certificate to a restaurant or tickets to a sporting event. However, don’t forget Number One Rule or Number Three Rule.

If you have any doubt about what to give, refer to Number One Rule. If you are worried about finances, refer to Number Two Rule. If you can’t give it to the co-worker in front of everyone else, refer to Number Three Rule.

Some ideas for office gifts:

  1. Snow/Cold-Related Themes: Snow/Ice Scrappers, hand warmers, mittens or gloves. (Yes, they touch the body, but hands are something we touch on a regular basis, anyway, such as shaking hands.)
  2. Holiday Themes: ornaments, napkins (skip the table cloth unless you are sure of the appropriate size), hand towels, holiday door mat, natural wreaths, poinsettias).
  3. Electronics: car chargers for cell phones, iPods, etc., laptop cooling stand, laser mouse.
  4. Miscellaneous: Wallet/coin purse, picture frame, calendars, monogrammed hand towels.

May you always gift great!

Pat Roland, CTIC
My Every Image