Betty's Guide to Office Gift-Giving

full-proof tips for gift giving at the office.

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Giftiquette: Betty’s Guide to Office Gift-Giving

There are definite dos and don’ts to gift giving at the office

-Megan Southwick

woman with Christmas giftsSo, it’s holiday time at work. This invariably means that someone will decide there should be some sort of gifting going on – and unless you are lucky enough to have a White Elephant gifting where you can unload last year’s tacky shell wreath from Great Aunt Myrtle, you are going to have to figure out what to give. Here are a few standard rule of office giftiquette to get you started, as well as some no-fail gift suggestions!

1. Know whom to gift.
The general rule is don’t gift up. Don’t gift the boss unless others are doing so, or else it might look like you are trying to gain favor. Propose going in as a group on a bigger gift if you like, but don’t be the only one giving a gift to the godfather.

2. Make sure your gift is appropriate.
Err on the side of caution here. The gift you pick should be something tasteful; not too expensive and not too cheap – stay within the spending limits set by the company.

3. Make it personal.
Find out what your giftee values – pets, children, a certain cause – and base your gift on that. You might give a gift card to PetClub, a donation to giftee’s favorite charity or the like.

4. Avoid the high risk gifts.
Don’t give anything smelly (lotions and soaps included), furry, or with nuts – you don’t want them whipping out their epi pen at the office potluck. No alcohol. Nothing sexual. Nothing culturally taboo. NO gag gifts. If you are shopping at Spencer’s for your coworkers, you’re doing it wrong.

5. Stick with the standards.
They might not be the most creative gifts around, but they will never go over badly. Things like picture frames, desk accessories, gift cards and planners are always safe and useful.

No-Fail Gifts
There are a few things you can do that almost no one will ever turn their nose up at, sneeze on or dump in the trash upon returning to their desk.

Gift cards. Give a gift card to Target, Starbucks or even JustGive.org (which lets the recipient donate to the charity of her choice) – no one is going to turn that down!

Calendars. One of the mini-wall calendars is perfect for a fellow cubicle-sitter – it’s big enough to see the dates, but not so big that it swallows the wall of the cube. Try to pick one you know the person will like – if she loves Impressionist art, pick a Monet calendar.

Gadgets. Even the non-techies among us can appreciate a thumb drive or even a USB-powered coffee mug warmer (yes, they exist). And these days, you can find TONS of fun and cool gadgety items for under $20!

Restaurant gift certificates. Is there a favorite lunch spot among your co-workers? Drop by and snag a gift certificate for enough to cover a meal – you KNOW it will get used.

Amaryllis kits. These are usually under $10 and you can find them everywhere around the holidays. These flowers will grow under almost any condition, so they make the perfect desk-top holiday accessory!

Betty wants to know, what’s the best and worst office gift you’ve ever received?


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