A Gift Guide Rulebook For Your Office

A gift guide rulebook for your office

Christmas gift guide

We’re getting down to those final weeks before Christmas and for many of us, it will only be another week before our holiday vacation. So you’ve got your gifts for your friends and family, but what about the people you actually spend the most time with? The people you see everyday. Your co-workers, your boss, your clients, the receptionist. Are you going to get them gifts? Every office is different and every person is different. Some offices do Secret Santa and then exchange gifts at the holiday party, some only gift down (no gifts for your boss), for others giving gifts is entirely up to the individual. We came up with a few tips for navigating this sometimes tricky field of corporate culture, as well as a few gift suggestions!

1. If you’re only giving gifts to a few, do it privately

Just like you were taught when you were little, don’t make those you aren’t including feel bad. Give a co-worker a gift after regular hours or outside the office.

2. If there is a set price limit, stick with it

If you are assigned someone higher up in the company to give a gift too, don’t look at this as an opportunity to suck up. Do not pull a Michael Scott and get your favorite co-worker an iPod. Get them something meaningful that you think they would like, but that does not translate to expensive. Stick to the assigned price cap.

3. Do get gifts for the receptionist, the cleaning staff and your assistant (if you have one)

These are the people that really make the office run smoothly, and they hardly ever get credit for it. ”It’s a nice holiday gesture to show your gratitude to someone who supports you and shows loyalty throughout the year. Even if this person is new, it’s still appropriate,” said etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, owner of the Protocol School of Texas.

4. Avoid joke gifts

This is not the time to give someone a weird book of sex tips from Urban Outfitters. We’re not saying to give them a set of crystal dishes, but something thoughtful and PG.

5. Propose teaming up on a gift for the boss

Why not go in on a gift for your boss or manager with the whole office? Pass around an envelope asking everyone to contribute.

6. Clients: To gift or not to gift?

This is always a tricky one, but an important one to discuss. ”Not paying tribute when someone brings value to you in some way is like not feeding the goose that lays the golden eggs,” says Duncan MacPherson, co-founder and co-CEO of Pareto Systems Inc. in Kelowna, B.C. “If you want this person to do it again and to feel really connected to you, it’s a good idea to at least pay tribute and say thank you in some symbolic way.” When you show a client you have taken the time to think of the right gift, it can really work in your favor. And don’t worry small businesses, the IRS allows your business to deduct up to $25 for business gifts you give to any one person per year.

And now a small gift guide for your co-workers and clients:

1. Sennheiser HD 202 II Professional Headphones (Black)

For the co-worker whose music you can still here through their headphones, this will assure that you will hear nothing and they will have an amazing sound experience. If you’re looking to go in on a bigger set with a few people, maybe for the boss, then go for the Beats Solo HD On-Ear Headphone (Drenched in Black).

2. Stapler from Poppin

For the person that can never ever find the stapler try this chic one from Poppin. Plus, you can get them staples next Christmas!

3. C. Wonder Ikat plates and bowls

These cute serving bowls and plates from C.Wonder are adorable and all the rage right now (plus the price is right!)

4. Visconti Soft Leather Passport Cover

If you are in a field where you have to travel a lot, why not give your colleague this beautiful leather passport case? It is practical and stylish!

5. Kate Spade Spiral Notebook

For the girl that loves to take notes (or doodle) at every meeting, they will adore this cute notebook.

6. A Stitch Fix gift card

Stitch Fix is a new online personal styling service. This is perfect for the woman who is too busy to shop, but needs a great professional wardrobe.

7.  Hand knit scarves from The Little Market

Hannah Skvarla, co-founder of The Little Market, suggested giving these hand knit scarves made of Alpaca, a renewable resource from the fleece of the llama cousin, as a gift. They are beautiful and benefit the female artisans who made them.

By: Meredith Lepore

Meredith Lepore is the former editor of the women’s career site, The Grindstone. She resides in New York full time and is a contributing writer for Your Coffee Break and Levo League, where a version of this article originally appeared.

Levo League

Levo League is the first online destination designed to provide Gen Y women with advice, mentorship and career opportunities. Follow us on Twitter at @levoleague.