With everything to think about as the year comes to an end, such as hitting final goals, receiving a bonus, applying for a promotion, planning a workplace office party, sorting out vacation time and the like, you would think that worrying about Christmas office gifts would end up at the bottom of the list for most people. However, working out how much money to spend and what exactly to buy colleagues and bosses can be very stressful. Read on for some top tips you can follow this December to navigate holiday gifting, whether you work in an office, as a freelancer, or in other position.
Work out What the Etiquette Is in Your Firm
The first step to take, if you’re new to a company, is divining what the etiquette is there. Different companies can have different policies and traditions when it comes to holiday presents, so make sure you ask around for some guidance. This is applicable for buying gifts for managers, too. While you might have done this in the past, in many companies this is frowned upon either by the management or by employees, and can be seen as people trying to suck up to their boss or gain favor in some way.
Keep in mind, though, that whatever the common practices are, there should never be any expectation that employees have to purchase gifts for each other or their bosses. Christmas can be a financially trying time for many families, and no workers should be pressured by their co-workers or managers to take part in gift exchanges if they don’t feel comfortable doing so.
Furthermore, don’t forget, too, that there are probably going to be numerous employees in your organization who don’t actually celebrate the holidays at all, or who do so in a way that is not affiliated with gift giving. As a result, everyone’s different beliefs, values, and traditions should be respected at all times.
Buy Professional yet Personalized Gifts
The next step, if you’ve determined that you want to be part of an office gifting exchange, is to work out what to buy. This can be incredibly difficult, particularly if you’re new to a firm and don’t know your co-workers all that well. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow to make your job easier.
For example, always stick to professional gifts, and avoid buying anything that is based around personalized tastes (think perfume, clothing, jewelry, and art) or, and this is particularly important, sexualized, or romanticized. Raunchy gifts are always inappropriate for workplace giving and can get you into trouble very quickly. It is also best to steer clear of gag gifts. These are fine for close friends and family members, but in the office you run the risk of the recipient misunderstanding the joke and being offended instead.
Another tip to follow when you’re out shopping for office gifts is to try and find something that caters to the tastes, interests, or home and family life of the recipient. For instance, personalized holiday gifts can cater to someone’s favorite hobby (e.g., a golfer, gamer, or avid reader); favorite foods or drinks; or family (e.g., a photo frame for displaying a picture of children).
When buying presents for colleagues, also avoid buying anything that will be inappropriate because of their health, lifestyle, religion, and the like. As an example, diabetics typically won’t be able to eat a big bag of candies or a hamper full of sweet treats; while someone who abstains from drinking alcohol won’t be too pleased with a bottle of wine. As well, vegans would not appreciate being presented with gifts made from animal products or that harm animals in any way.
Set a Budget
Lastly, if you have decided to participate in some kind of office gifting exchange, whether as a Secret Santa game or by purchasing individual presents, make sure that a set maximum value has been put in place and agreed upon first. This budget should be low, and everyone should adhere to it, no matter how long they have been working for the company.
If you do decide to participate in gift giving but then spend quite a bit less than the agreed-upon value, this can make you come across like a bit of a miser, and may cause friction amongst your team. Alternatively, if you go over budget, this can make your colleagues feel uncomfortable, and depict you as a bit of a show-off.
Even though it might be tempting to go over a budget by $10, $20, $50, or even more, it’s not worth the negative consequences which can come from doing so. You might have to spend a little more time searching for the right gift(s), but it will be worth it in the long run.
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