A Career Girl’s Guide to Gift Giving at the Office

Posted December 17, 2013 by Kit Graham in On the Ladder
Gift giving at the office can be tricky!

Here is some advice for navigating a potentially awkward situation:

  • Ask coworkers for advice, especially if you are new to the job. Use your coworkers as resources, ask them what the gift giving culture is at the office.
  • Considering giving one gift to your team. Bring in some gourmet doughnuts, home baked treats or candies for everyone to share. This way you don’t have to decide who to buy individual gifts for. Or make a charitable donation on behalf of your team.
  • In some offices, it is considered polite to give a gift to your boss. It may be appropriate for your team to chip in together and buy the boss a gift. Otherwise, purchase an inexpensive, but thoughtful gift.
  • Always give your boss and manager holiday cards – even if gifts aren’t given at your office. Use each card as an opportunity to wish your boss and manager a happy holiday and to thank them for everything they have taught you during the year. Choose a generic “Happy Holidays” card instead of a card with religious references.
  • When it comes to office gift giving, the thought really counts. A careless or inappropriate gift could negatively impact your coworkers’ impression of you.
  • Don’t spend too much on gifts for coworkers. Generally about $20-$30 is a good amount to spend, but ask a few coworkers to see what the norm is at your office.
  • Gifts from coworkers should not be expected. They are a nice gesture, but people should not feel obligated to buy gifts for their colleagues. Don’t tell your colleagues that you expect to receive gifts from them.
  • Always send thank you notes to everyone who gave you a gift, or simply say thank you to coworkers who give you a card. Polite gestures like this go a long way.

About the Author

Kit Graham

Kit Graham is the author of The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Cookbook and thekittchen.com, a food site focused on original and practical recipes. Kit's work has been featured on Refinery 29, Eater, The Frisky, 300 Sandwiches, One Woman Shop, Break Thru Radio and The Urbaness. She is also a founding member of The Second City Food Wine + Social Club and the Windy City Blogger Collective.