Plus tips on what to spend, who to give to and what presents to avoid
Curry some favor with your colleagues.
Holiday gift-giving can be tough at the office — who do you give to, what do you spend and what gifts are appropriate?
Experts say it’s perfectly acceptable to give to your coworkers, but don’t spend more than $50 per gift. Less is also fine, says Karen Thomas, a Connecticut-based etiquette guru. In general, gift-giving should be a team decision: “Announce to the group, ‘I was going to pick up something for each of you,’” and see who wants to participate, and who’d rather abstain. If you do want to gift just a few people, give them their gifts off-site or in private, says Thomas.
Never buy for your boss individually, says Thomas. “Collectively you can all chip in and get something for your boss, but to buy something individually would look like brownnosing,” Thomas warns. If you and your colleagues choose to chip in for your manager, pick something they’d really enjoy, such as monogrammed stationery if they love to write or a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant to enjoy with their spouse or a loved one.
For bosses and coworkers, avoid alcohol- or cannabis-related products or gifts that feature inappropriate innuendo, says etiquette expert Elaine Swann, author of “Let Crazy Be Crazy.” “Stick to items that are very useful but can be used in the workplace.”
As part of our annual holiday gift guide series, the Moneyish team has rounded up a few of our favorite, budget-friendly workplace gifts. Here are 10:
1. Leatherology luggage tag, $20-$25: Available in 17 different colors for $20 and three “premium” varieties for $25, this Italian leather luggage tag is the perfect accessory for colleagues who are regularly on the road. Add customization for an additional $10.
2. Holiday sweet treats basket by Harry & David, $24.99: It’s filled with our the brand’s signature Moose Munch popcorn, milk-chocolate covered cherries, raspberry-filled shortbread cookies (with a Christmas tree motif in the center), and a box of six assorted chocolate truffles.
3. AMC e-gift certificate for movie tickets, $25-$30: If your coworker needs to let off some steam, send them an e-gift certificate to take in a movie. AMC movie tickets are about $14 per adult, so a card up to $30 should be enough to cover a night out for two (your coworker and his or her significant other, for instance).
4. Dammit Doll, $13.87: Squeeze your anger away with this whimsical “Dammit Doll,” whose tag reads: “Whenever things don’t go so well, and you want to hit the wall and yell, here’s a little Dammit Doll, that you can’t do without. Just grasp it firmly by the legs and find a place to slam it. And as you whack the stuffing out yell, ‘Dammit!’ ‘Dammit!’ ‘Dammit!'”
5. Stylish scissors, $9: Work with a colleague who is always doing hands-on projects or specializes in graphic design? Then these cute scissors, either featuring pegasus wings or a chic Parisian Eiffel Tower motif, could be just the thing their desk is craving.
6. Dueling Shots gift box featuring Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, $17.95 (for a set of two shot glasses): “I’m not throwing away my shot,” goes the stirring lyrical refrain from the Broadway smash hit Hamilton. This set of Hamilton-inspired shot glasses featuring the visages of two of America’s founding fathers could be just what you need. (Note: Even though Swann says alcohol-based gifts are off-limits, Thomas says a cute gift like this is fair game.)
7. Belkin MIXIT Lightning to USB leather tassel for iPhone, iPad, and iPod, $18.04: This helpful accessory can clip onto purses, backpacks, or other similar carrying cases, concealing a charging cable for Apple devices in a more elegant way. Pair this with a high-quality portable charger and your colleague who lives on his or her phone will never be stranded on 1% battery.
8. Crate & Barrel mini potted grass, $7.95: Brighten up your colleague’s desk with a pop of greenery, without needing to water a live plant. This potted faux grass will do just the trick to liven up even the most austere desk.
9. Mr. Coffee mug warmer for office/home use, $7.99: This electronic coffee warmer will keep your colleague’s cup of Joe nice and steamy for hours on end.
10. Personalized mouse pad, $12.99: Add a touch of personalization to that whitewashed desk with a custom mouse pad. You can inscribe any message or image you like on in (maybe a coworker with his or her family, or a special message about workplace friendship?).
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