Monster Holiday Gift Guide

Office Gift Giving Tips

Monster Holiday Gift Guide

Holidays at the office


By Brandon Miller
Monster Generation Y Contributing Writer
 
It’s my first holiday season holding down a ‘grown-up’ job, and by ‘grown-up’ I mean the type of job where people might reasonably expect that I would be financially able and willing to join in on the office gifting parade. If you’re in the same situation that I am, here are some useful tips on office gift giving.
 
Here are the official Monster dos and don’ts of December gift-giving for the young professional.
 
DO: Think about what people enjoy – within reason.
 
Sure, wine is an easy gift. But consider the atmosphere in your office first. Consider whether you’ve seen booze around before, such as at a corporate event. Alcohol can be a touchy spot – as can any sort of gift with political and/or social commentary – because it crosses the line between a coworker gift and a friend gift. I really like my vodka – that doesn’t mean I’ll be expecting it from my manager.
 
If you’re unsure about the gift item in question, err on the side of caution. Leave the booze for a personal occasion and choose another one of my suggestions instead.
 
DO NOT: Gift your superiors differently than your coworkers.
 
It’s a lovely gesture to buy everyone in your department a small holiday memento. It’s not as charming when the boss gets an expensive book and the others are given bookmarks, even if they are all monogrammed in gold foil. In fact, it’s brownnosing. Retain your classiness by keeping everyone on the same level. If you’re going to give bookmarks to your coworkers, give one to your boss too.
 
DO: Pay attention to differences in your coworker’s religions and/or traditions.
 
Take into consideration that not everyone celebrates the same holiday on December 24th. If you can, acknowledge the festival they actually commemorate by scripting the card appropriately and gifting on the day the holiday falls. If you don’t know someone’s religion or heritage, cards with these messages work well:
“happy holidays”
“have a great holiday season”
“peace for the New Year”
 
DO NOT: Spend excessive amounts of money on holiday gifts for your coworkers.
 
When I unwrap the massage chair you’ve just given me, I’m going to feel pretty awkward about the ten dollar Tim Horton’s card I have for you. Gift giving should never make anyone feel badly, in fact, the opposite is supposed to happen. Office gifting is all about the thought, not the dollar sign.
 
DO: Pay attention to the fine details.
 
The office gifts that really resonate are the ones with personal touches. Presents that take time – homemade cards, freshly baked cookies, do-it-yourself mugs – are touching. Exquisitely wrapped presents go along way, too.
 
Five work appropriate gifts:
 
  1. Picture frames. Even better if you could find one tailored to an interest of theirs. Glance around their cubicle and see if anything stands out. Similar options are calendars, journal, or datebooks.
  2. Mug/Thermos/Cup Holder. An agreeable present that’s good for the environment. It’s a win-win situation.
  3. Gift certificate. Even these pieces of paper can be somewhat personal. A coworker once got three of us gift cards from three separate coffee shops. She recognized our favorite places, and it resonated.
  4. Homemade treats. Bring those brownies over here, please!
  5. Key chains. Everyone has keys, making this gift simple, but effective. Steer clear of anything too tacky. Or if you select the item because of its tacky factor, ensure that you let the recipient know you are attempting to be humorous.
 
And some inappropriate holiday office gifts:
  1. Anything with your face on it. Your coworkers see enough of you. Really they do.
  2. Anything with a face of its own. Even if you need a new home for your seventeen kittens, your office holiday party is not the place to search for kitty real estate. No Chia Pets. No bobble heads. 
  3. Fruit cake. The most loathsome of all cakes. Sorry to those who like it – you know my feelings about it now.
  4. Deodorants. Or any other aromatic product screaming “you smell!”
  5. Undergarments. This is self-explanatory. Keep it clean and you’ll avoid a sexual harassment complaint.