12 Things To Consider While Gifting At The Workplace | Christmas Gift For Coworkers

Gift Ideas | | , Expert Blogger
Updated On: July 21, 2022
gifting at the workplace

Holiday season means Yuletide cheer, excitement, presents and a whole lot of stress too. Holiday season is not just about reveling in the gifts you get, in enjoying all the scarves or teapots that you are gifted, but also about making sure others enjoy that way too. It is a truly special time to show people how much you value them without having to go out of bounds financially or emotionally.

A simple appreciative gesture can make all the difference in your relationships with the people around you and especially with your coworkers. Our relationships with coworkers are interesting because it is always a gamble to determine where to draw the line. Mixing work and pleasure is always recommended but only with healthy boundaries. 

Thus it can be a struggle to determine how far one can take work relationships and what expectations must be set from each person. Therefore, buying gifts for colleagues also takes much more thought than one assumes. 

Ray once bought Lisa a gift card for Victoria’s Secret. Now while that may be every girl’s dream present, Lisa spent the rest of the office party wondering if Ray was interested in her. The funny thing is that Ray did not see Lisa that way at all. He just thought that he could not go wrong with a VS gift card, because any woman can find some use in it. Little did he know it could be inappropriate. 

12 Things To Consider While Gifting At The Workplace 

When determining boundaries in relationships is something one should think about, that worry also translates to gifting at the workplace. Till how far are jokes appropriate? What is a good going away gift for a coworker? Is wine a good gift? What should be the cap on spending money? Most importantly, what to get your coworkers for Christmas? 

If these are some questions you are often puzzled with, we have got you covered. Gifting at the workplace does not have to be so complicated. As soon as you are aware of the nitty-gritty’s, you will be just fine! Here are a few tips and things for you to consider when gifting at the workplace. 

1. Do not try to be too unique

Trying to get too personal can often give off the wrong idea. Buying a very specific kind of shirt for someone or a customized wall hanging sound like wonderful gifts but are not workplace oriented. They may come off as too friendly or even intrusive.Moreover, they can be a hit or miss when it comes to the recipient’s likes and dislikes. 

Keeping it simple and professional is the key to gifting at the workplace. Moreover, gifts that are intended for one’s body should be completely done away with. Perfumes, lotions and the like are a strict no-no!  

2. Be mindful of one’s religious inclinations 

While gifting a bottle of wine is perfectly alright in most cases, one must be thoughtful about the recipient. Some people have strict religious values or abstain for their own sake.

Cultural and ethical values must not be offended at any cost. Giving a Buffalo Wild Wings gift card to a vegan will reflect poorly on your knowledge about your co-worker’s preferences. It can also lead to further relationship problems.

office christmas party
Take extra care about one’s religious inclinations

3. Ease it with the jokes 

‘Gag’ gifts are basically gifts that reflect an inside joke or jokes that are cracked at the expense of the person one is gifting it too. Usually, if you have a close relationship with somebody, gag gifts are hilarious and super fun. However, work environments, no matter how comfortable and amicable, are not receptive to gag gifts. 

T-shirts with risque quotes, customised socks, uncensored card games are all a few examples of what not to gift. Not everyone enjoys the charm of gag gifts and neither do most coworkers expect it. 

Related Reading: Your Guide To How Not To Pick Gifts For Your Coworkers

4. Overspending is not necessary 

If one is participating in a fun game of Secret Santa, there is usually a cap on how much you can spend. To maintain equality and keep the situation light and healthy, a 20 or 30 dollar limit is usually imposed on gifts. 

Holiday gift ideas for your coworkers should be interesting, useful and decently priced. Holiday gifting in the workplace is not a competition but just a light-hearted celebration.

 Unless you are the eccentric Michael Scott from the TV series, The Office, do not drop a $ 400 iPod as a gift amidst your coworkers. That is sure to ruin the Christmas spirit. 

5. Invest in utility 

When gifts that are too personal do not win well does not mean that they should be completely bland or boring instead. To keep things straightforward and easy, think about investing in something useful. From key chains to mugs, these are things people often find some way of putting to use. 

Nobody gets rid of a new set of beer glasses or cute salt and pepper shakers. Try to divest from showpieces, wall hangings and vases. Those are not to everyone’s taste and you may not be aware of one’s homely preferences. 

6. Be in tune with their habits 

To truly give your coworkers something they would love and cherish, keep their habits and daily routines in mind. If you can get them a little something that might ease their everyday, what could be better than that? 

For someone who is a tea enthusiast and can chug 4 cups every day, you can get them a set of different flavoured teas. For someone who is new and fresh at the company, a desk supplies hamper could be great. Organizers, notebooks and pens are something they will definitely use happily. 

Related Reading: 11 Last-Minute Gift Ideas For Someone Who Has Everything | 2020

office gifting etiquette
Know your coworkers to gift them

7. Do not blatantly discriminate 

When it comes to spending and the type of gift, do not use gifts as a way to express their position in your life. Do it as a formality but do it well. If your secretary is closer to you, you should not buy her a bigger, better present that pales the one for everyone else in comparison.  

Such practices do not reflect well on one’s professionalism. Try to keep it different and mix it up if you want. However, do not make them starkly contrasting in a way that someone feels like you were obligated to give them a gift.  

8. Do not try too hard to please your seniors 

While you might want to give your boss a little something special, make sure you do not appear like a sycophant. Your boss may be your mentor or even your confidante, but a line of separation remains between the two of you. 

Do not give your boss something personal or wildly different from the rest. Keep it a notch higher but keep it simple too. Moreover, if you really want to express your gratitude to them, a little note or a simple gift card can do the trick for you. 

9. Be mindful of office policies 

Organizational guidelines are extremely important to adhere to when buying gifts for your coworkers. Many people often overlook the policies because they do not expect their gifts to be too controversial. However, it is always a good idea to check and make sure regarding the same. 

You do not want HR circling around your table just because you thought a politically incorrect joke on a diary was a funny gift. 

10. Do not feel a pressure to return the favor

No matter what holiday it is, if at some point your coworker or subordinate sends you a gift and you do not have one planned for them, that is just fine. You do not necessarily have to go out of your way to return the favor or whip up last minute gift ideas.

A “Thank You” note or card is a great way to keep the balance. Gift exchange is not just about the routine of giving and getting. It is a formal affair meant to strengthen ties and enforce good working relationships. 

11. Make the packaging look thoughtful too 

If you can, packaging a gift yourself is almost like a bonus gift of care and effort. A boring old gift bag can appear too lazy and dysfunctional. An aesthetic bag or DIY wrapping paper looks awesome! 

Try to make the gift look and appear as pleasing as possible. In order to keep the Christmas spirit going, the spot under the Christmas tree should look exciting and adorable too. 

wrapping gift
Beautiful wrapping always adds a special charm!

12. Do not gift cash 

Gifting cash is perhaps the lazy and convenient way out of a gifting dilemma. It also screams, “I forgot to get you a gift so here is some money”. Gifting at the workplace is about fostering relationships for better teamwork and not demeaning them. Under any circumstances, do not write a cheque or bust out a 20 dollar bill. That’s just eww!

Gifting a co-worker is about following a professional etiquette but at the same time it is important to keep their likes and dislikes in mind to gift them something that they would use and cherish. 

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