Every year, I stress out about work-related holiday presents. Do I get my boss something? Do I get my coworkers something? What if someone gets ME something and I don’t have anything in return?
Here are some quick tips for holiday shopping in the workplace:
- Try to organize a department gift swap or Secret Santa: This eliminates that awkward, “He got me something so now I have to run out on my lunch break and try to find something for him,” feeling.
- Avoid alcohol: Even if your boss is a big drinker (ahem…), stick to non-alcoholic gifts. Try a cocktail recipe book and (if you must) small bottles of booze with other small gifts. In general, though, avoid.
- Have some spares: I always buy extras of something – fruity hand lotions for the ladies and restaurant gift certificates for anyone you don’t know well. Stick to restaurants near work so they could use them on a lunch break. (Tip: be sure the restaurant accepts gift certificates for lunch!)
- Go homemade: One year I helped a friend make delicious chocolate covered pretzels… it was a big hit. Make sure no one has food allergies and plan accordingly! (Or be sure to prepare a variety of goodies.)
- Desk calendars can be a big hit: One year, I got a Dilbert daily calendar from a boss and absolutely loved it. Try to avoid political stuff – that doesn’t have much of a place in most offices.
- Personalized mugs or cups: With many offices going green, it never hurts to have your own cup or mug! Etsy has some great options, or check your local dollar store or tourist spot. (Bonus: fill it with candy or mints for a surprise)
- Don’t buy anything!: If you’re not into swapping gifts, don’t buy anything! But refer to tip 3 if you’ll feel awkward when someone buys you something.