The holidays can be a confusing time at companies as workers ponder the question of “to gift or not to gift?” and then if they decide to give gifts to coworkers, there are questions over how much to spend and what to buy. In this blog, we offer some tips for gift giving at the office.

Tips for Bosses

As the boss, you set the tone for the corporate culture and need either to set some clearly defined rules about gift giving or set up a committee before the holiday season to hash out the policy, which should then be shared with all employees.

  • Make sure there is a limit set on spending, such as $25 per gift given.
  • Remind employees that participating in gift giving, Secret Santa and similar activities is voluntary
  • Remember not everyone celebrates the Christian religious holiday of Christmas
  • When handing out gifts to employees, be fair and spend equitably. Not everyone needs to receive the same gift, but do not be overly extravagant with certain people. Employees will compare gifts
  • Don’t leave anyone out. They will feel bad and this can harm morale and productivity, in addition to being rude on the giver’s part.
  • Avoid giving any gift that may be perceived as too romantic or intimate

Tips for Everyone

  • Respect price limits. It makes everyone uncomfortable if you spend $100 and everyone else is spending $25.
  • Do not give your boss a gift unless it is a group gift from the team. It is awkward since the boss makes more money than you, pays your salary, and may be viewed as a request for special treatment.
  • Do not buy anything too personal. There is a saying, “gifts that go on the body or touch the skin are too personal.” This rules out cologne, jewelry, lotions, and most items of clothing.
  • Your gift conveys a message about you. Give all gifts purchase some thought based on the interests of the intended recipient and avoid buying gifts that yell out “last minute.”
  • Avoid gag gifts unless you know the person will appreciate them. And if a gag gift is deemed appropriate, you need to make sure it is also office appropriate and not offensive to anyone at work who may happen to see the item.
  • Avoid giving cash, unless you are the boss. A gift card is a better alternative assuming it meets the person’s interests
  • Avoid gifts that may be seen as a hint such as a toothbrush or self-help book.
  • Include a gift receipt
  • Don’t worry of you receive a gift from someone for whom you did not buy a gift. Say thank-you and add the person to your list for next year.
  • If you are exchanging gifts with coworkers who are also friends, it is best to do that offsite and/or beyond business hours.
  • Say thank-you for all gifts received and do so promptly. A handwritten note is best although email is acceptable.

Have a wonderful holiday and enjoy the festivities. This time of year is a great time to bond with employees and friends.