5 Tips for Easy Workplace Gift Giving

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Want to bring a little cheer to your coworkers, but not sure how to go about giving gifts in the workplace? Here are 5 tips to make gift giving easy.

Get the scoop on what’s allowed and expected at your workplace. Are there rules against gift-giving in your workplace? Are gifts normally exchanged? Does the office or department do a Secret Santa gift exchange or white elephant party where you only need to bring one gift? If coworkers do exchange gifts, what kind of gifts do they normally give? Whatever the established norm, find out and stick to it.

Make your list and check it twice. According to workplace etiquette, you should not purchase a gift for anyone in a position above you. So take your boss off the list. You’ll want to include peers and subordinates who have been the most help to you during the year. But don’t deliberately exclude anyone to make a point. If you’re buying for everyone in your department, but a few people, they’re sure to find out, and it will damage your relationship with coworkers. If you have a coworker who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, it’s still good to give them a gift—just make sure your gift or card has a “Holiday” not a Christmas theme.

Be thoughtful about gifts. Buy or make something for each person that shows you really thought about them. You want it to be personal, but not extravagant. Things to consider are items that show you know their favorite hobbies, cool office gadgets, homemade goods, gift cards, plants, or a handwritten card. Things you want to avoid are inappropriate or gag gifts, alcohol, or overly personal items like body soaps or pajamas.

Don’t make a show of giving gifts. Give each gift in private, so that no one feels left out.

Don’t feel obligated to buy. If gifts are out of your budget, you’re absolutely not obligated to buy gifts. If you feel like you have to give something, a handwritten card is a great and thoughtful gift that will show people you’re thinking about them without blowing your budget.