Posted by Cynthia Kong on Friday, November 21, 2014 - 00:00
Planning to buy holiday gifts for coworkers? Make sure to follow these pointers.
Getting gifts for coworkers around the holidays can always be a little weird. Will people feel left out if you give treats to their cubicle neighbors and not them? Will you look cheap if you don't spend that much on the boss's present?
Here are six workplace holiday gift-giving tips to keep in mind:
- Don't feel like it's necessary to get gifts for coworkers or your boss. Sure, if you're feeling especially jolly and want to hand out presents, go ahead. But it's definitely never required. Feel free to take part in the office Secret Santa or white elephant gift exchange, though.
- If you do decide to buy presents, there's no need to break the bank. In fact, lavish gifts can make people uncomfortable because they’ll feel pressured to reciprocate. Also, spending a lot on a present for the boss might make you look like you’re just trying to suck up.
- Steer clear of controversial or inappropriate presents. Gifts tied to a religious theme or anything political in nature are no-nos. And that portrait of you with your cat Mr. Purrkins is probably better left at home.
- Avoid giving overly personal items to people you don't know well. For example, jewelry can seem like a thoughtful gift, but it's something you might consider giving to friends or family, not work colleagues. When in doubt, homemade delectables or stuff that can be used in the office are usually safe bets. Just beware of food-related gifts like chocolate or wine if it's possible the individual is allergic to an ingredient, on a diet or doesn't drink alcohol.
- When giving gifts to select coworkers, but not everyone, do so in private. Everyone in the office doesn't have to hear about the amazing Italian paperweight you gave Nelson.
- Don't scramble to reciprocate if given an unexpected gift. Say Tina from down the hall decides to bring you a fruit cake. Don't quickly say, "Oh, I have something for you, too!" and grab the stapler from your drawer. Nothing's more awkward than receiving a gift that you can tell the person put no thought into selecting. Instead, write a heartfelt thank-you card. Or, consider giving her a New Year's gift or offer to take her to lunch to show your appreciation.
What's the best holiday gift you've ever received at work?