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The holiday season is here and gift giving at the office is a task that can get a bit tricky. What is right and what is wrong to give to coworkers for a holiday gift? There are many moving parts to this equation, but don’t blow your image in the office by giving an inappropriate gift to the wrong person. Stay professional while having fun with these office gift giving tips.
Make it optional and set a spending cap
Give your employees the option of being involved in festive events, especially gift giving within the office. Make sure to extend the invite to the entire office but allow those who choose not to participate to bow out gracefully. Some people may have religious or economic reasons for not wanting to be a part of a Secret Santa or white elephant gift exchange. In addition, set a spending cap to help define the parameters of what is expected. This practice makes gifting a little bit easier, and helps shift the focus from money spent to thoughtfulness
Do your research
Do you know absolutely nothing about your Secret Santa pick? Fear not, there are many options you can choose from to make sure you get the perfect gift. Do a little investigative work – ask those who are close to them about their interests, hobbies, goals, etc. or simply take notice of how they decorate their desk and pick up pointers quietly. If you’d like to go the distance, invite them out to lunch to make a new friend while also getting gift ideas. Don’t feel like making the effort to sleuth? Delicious baked goods or gift certificates are always a safe bet!
Don’t get too personal/funny
When searching for the perfect gift idea for fellow employees try to steer clear of personal items. Cosmetics, flowers, clothing or cologne/perfume are some gifts that toe the line of inappropriate. Even wine and tobacco products can be misconstrued so it is best to stick with gifts that are not ambiguous. Gag gifts can also be tricky around this time of year – one person’s joke can be another person’s nightmare. Don’t risk offending someone and damaging business relationships with your coworkers; instead play it safe and choose a gift that will be appreciated and useful.
Pooling spending power
If you are planning on buying a gift for a boss or mentor, be a team player and consider making it a group effort. Get people together who would also like to gift this special person or have an envelope at your desk for anonymous contributions and pool together your funds to purchase one big gift. This will be helpful in more ways than one— your spending power will be much greater and you’ll avoid looking as if you have ulterior motives.
Send thank you cards
And finally, when all is said and done and the gifts have been received, make sure you send your gratitude with more than just a verbal “thank you”. Text messages and emails are great for communication in the office, but when it comes to thanking your coworkers for gifts during the holidays, take the time to send a handwritten note or holiday card. A little effort will go a long way in this department!
Regardless of the extra work that goes into holiday festivities, an office gift exchange is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Even if you are simply purchasing a few small trinkets for those who you are closest to, the act of giving is enough to warm your spirit. Bring everyone together, keep your office merry, and gift away this year!