Holiday gift giving is part of our corporate culture. Even with economic downturns, many employees expect that they’ll get a little extra ‘something’ from the boss come the end of December. Industry pundits suggest that workplace gift giving is declining, but if it’s the norm in your office, be prepared. Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanzaa, or don’t celebrate any holiday at all, buying a gift for your boss does not need to be a minefield.
- Your boss earns more than you so you’re not trying to match the gift value of what you were given last year.
- This is a professional relationship. Make sure your gift does not step over any professional boundaries.
- Don’t give a gift card. Take time to pick out something that says you appreciate who they are as a person.
- Wrap it nicely. It adds to the intrinsic value of the gift and shows that you value what you’re giving.
- Don’t include the gift receipt. Whatever you choose to give them should be something that you know they will appreciate.
- Books: If you know that your boss has a particular interest, a coffee table book, a biography on someone in the field, or a newly released book on the topic are good suggestions. If they’re planning a trip in the coming year, travel books are a good choice. Recent biographies or autobiographies of business leaders are often welcome.
- Wine and Spirits: Whether or not your boss is a wine or spirits drinker, they may serve wine or spirits at home. A quality corkscrew, a red wine aerator or even wine glass pendants are appropriate gifts.
- Travel: Travel alarm, massaging neck pillow, ipod speakers for travel, or quality iPod earpieces can be inexpensive and appreciated.
- Electronics: Digital photo album preloaded with pictures of your boss receiving an award or an office group shot (or even a still picture nicely framed); backup battery for his/hers BlackBerry or iPod, wireless weather forecaster, electronic Sudoku machine,
- Food: Chocolates (know whether they prefer milk or dark chocolate) from a local chocolatier; condiments basket, exotic or unusual foods (truffle oil or bacon jam) with gourmet crackers
- Office: quality pen, ergonomic mouse pad (or mouse pad with their favourite sports team on it); subscription to a business magazine
Although you might like to see your boss open the gift that you’ve spent time picking out and wrapping, your boss may prefer to take it home to open it, or open it after hours. If he/she receives gifts from several employees, it is not politically correct to compare what each person gave the boss, speculate on its monetary value, or try to determine which gift your boss liked best.
And whatever gift you give, and however much money you spend on the gift, don’t expect it to influence your employee appraisal or your raise.
Remember, it really is the thought that counts; not how much money you spend on the purchase.
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