First thing’s first: determine whether or not it’s appropriate to give gifts in your office at all. The answer to this question will vary from business to business, so if you’re new ask around and determine whether or not gift giving is the norm. Fellow co-workers will usually be able to fill you in on what types of gifts they usually give and to whom. If you’re having difficulty nailing down that information, a good rule of thumb is to give your boss and any employees working under you a simple holiday card. If your office is the gift-giving kind, follow these rules for proper etiquette.
Make Gift Giving Optional
Don’t pressure your co-workers to purchase gifts or pitch in for a group gift. Some may not want to participate due to financial, religious or personal reasons and therefore should not be put on the spot. Likewise, you should not feel pressured by others to participate. If you can’t afford it or simply don’t want to give a gift, then don’t. There’s no rule that says you have to.
Set a Spending Limit
Set a spending limit to avoid the awkwardness of someone spending a lot more or a lot less than everyone else. If participating in an office gift exchange, be sure everyone knows the limit and that it is within reason so that everyone can afford to participate.
Even if you’re close with your manager or co-workers, keep your holiday gifts office appropriate. As much as you may want to give a hilarious gag gift to your boss, avoid anything overly humorous to ensure nobody is accidentally offended. Not only will this save you some awkwardness in the office, but it could save your job.
Go for Something Simple yet Thoughtful
Although you don’t want to get anything too personal, think of a gift that is thoughtful enough to show your boss, employee or co-worker you care about them. For example, a cookbook would be a great gift for someone at the office who loves to cook, and coffee or tea is a great choice for the caffeine lover at work. These items show that you’re paying attention without going overboard on an elaborate gift.
When in Doubt, Everyone Loves Food
If you’re truly stumped on what to get your team members, food is usually a good option. This could come in the form of homemade sugar cookies, a gift card to a nearby restaurant or even taking your co-worker out to lunch. Just make sure you’re aware of any food allergies or other dietary restrictions that individual may have before you decide on a food-based gift!
Have your own suggestions for office gift giving etiquette? Share them with us in the comments below!