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Office Gift Giving Dos and Don'ts

The workplace becomes a challenging place during the holidays when it comes to office gift giving. As if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, there’s confusion over who you should buy gifts for, how much to spend, and what constitutes an appropriate gift. 

Make the holidays go more smoothly for you and your team by establishing some guidelines early in the season. During a team meeting or in a newsletter, remind your staff of any existing company policies about gifts. Many organizations place a $25 limit on any business gifts in order to be tax law compliant.  If your Human Resources department has any rules on Secret Santa exchanges, be sure to review those as well. 

Remember that office gift giving isn’t the enemy! In fact, we recommend that you show your thanks and appreciation for members of your team during the holidays with a small gift. Follow office etiquette with our dos and don’ts for holiday gifts that will express your appreciation without stressing you out.

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Office Gift Giving Dos
Plan a group gift for your boss. Make gift giving easier on the entire team by organizing a group gift. Everyone contributes a certain dollar amount and the boss gets one gift she’ll really like instead of a smattering of fruitcakes and holiday candies.

Start listening early for gift hints. Pay careful attention for employee gift ideas in early November in conversations you have with teammates and managers. Start a list at your desk where you can quickly jot down an idea in the middle of the day.

Give a card with your gift. Complement your gift with a personal card. Add a note about why you selected the specific gift item for your recipient. Your careful inscription will show your recipient the care that went into their gift.

Choose a gift that’s personal to the recipient. Having a hard time thinking of a personal gift for your teammate or manager? Consider making a donation to a charity they support, shopping at their alma mater book store, giving a gift card to a favorite restaurant, or picking up an item for their hobby. 

Create a memorable presentation. The presentation of your gift is an important part of office gift giving. Carefully wrap your gift or buy a new gift bag and tissue paper to present the gift to the recipient. A beautifully packaged gift sets the expectation for the gift itself. 

Include a gift receipt. If you’re giving a specific item such as a movie or book to a teammate, include a gift receipt so they can make any necessary returns or exchanges.

Office Gift Giving Don’ts

Don’t give personal gifts. Prevent any uncomfortable moments in the office by staying away from personal gifts such as clothing and home décor.

Don’t exceed your budget. Set a budget for office gifts and stick to it! A thoughtful gift beats an extravagant gift any day.

Don’t forget your boss. Research shows that employees infrequently thank their bosses. During the holidays, be sure to choose a meaningful gift for your boss to show your appreciation.

Don’t leave the gift on their desk. While the element of surprise often works to your favor when it comes to appreciation gifts, holiday gifts should be given face-to-face. Take the time to give your gift in-person and speak with the recipient. 

Don’t exclude key teammates. If you are part of a small team or office, you should be sure to give everyone a gift. Excluding one person from a group will be viewed as inconsiderate and hurtful.

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