This is Day 7 of the 30 Days of Giving: Making Christmas Meaningful campaign, which is designed to bring the Believe.com community creative and practical ways to cheerfully give this holiday season through gifts, relationships and charity. Come visit the 30 Days of Giving Advent Calendar each day in our countdown to Christmas for intriguing and original ways to help you to experience and spread the spirit of joyful giving that God intended throughout the holiday season.
Christmas is the season of giving and playing Kris Kringle at the office is a fun way to boost morale and spread some Christmas cheer. Finding the right kind of gift at the right price may be more difficult than it seems, especially if you work in a large office or don’t know some of your co-workers very well.
Take heart in remembering that office gifts shouldn’t be ultra-personal (except in the case of a close friend) and it’s the thought that counts. In other words, a small token is still a nice gesture of kindness and appreciation.
Here are some suggestions for tasteful and economical gifts that allow you to be Kris Kringle for your boss and co-workers on your list.
Be Tasteful, Not Tacky with Your Boss
It’s important to refrain from giving gag-style or humorous gifts to your boss out of respect and adherence to office guidelines. Stay away from anything offensive, suggestive or anything that could be misconstrued.
Gift cards are impersonal, but always useful and are great if you know your boss’s favorite coffee stop, snack shop or lunch spot. Gift baskets filled with goodies are another great idea, whether they contain homemade cookies or fudge or are filled with gourmet cheeses, chocolates and crackers from your local grocer. Your boss can take this kind of gift home to share with her or his family, which is always nice. Tailor the size and contents of the basket to your budget and stick to your spending limit.
A stationery set, appointment book, bottle of hand lotion, tin of gourmet popcorn, stadium blanket or a business card holder for a purse, pocket or desk are also reasonably-priced and thoughtful options.
Co-Workers as Friends
It’s not uncommon for some lasting and special friendships to evolve in the workplace — after all, we spend a good portion of our days with these people. It’s best to give or exchange gifts with close work friends outside of the office, so as not to injure someone else’s feelings or cause some sort of unexpected reaction from others.
In this case, you may know many of your friend’s favorite restaurants, hobbies, books, movies and other interests. So, a more personal gift is more appropriate and may fall into the same category of what you would give a non-workplace friend.
Some nice yet budget-friendly suggestions include a photo frame for home or the office, a unique paper weight, a nice pen or stylus, a pair of fuzzy slippers or gloves, a sport or collegiate-themed scarf and hat set or a fleece blanket. Gift cards to your co-worker’s favorite restaurant, local movie theater, coffee shop or an iTunes card are almost always appreciated and are usually a great worry-free and stress-free choice.
General Co-Workers or Large Groups
Large office environments often make it impossible to know everyone and ultimately, you may not be able to afford giving each person an individual gift. In these situations, large snack baskets or trays of homemade cookies, fudge and candy are great gifts for co-workers to share in the kitchen, break room or other common areas.
If you work on a team with 12 or less people, you can often find Christmas coffee mug sets with four or six mugs in a box for a reasonable price. Split the boxes up and fill each mug with bite-sized Snickers or Hershey chocolates, a packet of hot cocoa (which you can also buy in bulk), or round peppermint or butterscotch hard candies. The gift price per person comes way down this way and the mugs make a fun and cheery presentation.
Other inexpensive options include purse hangers or hooks for ladies, stretchy one-size-fits-all gloves, sticky note pads, stress balls or stones, desk calendar cubes (with daily motivational quotes — avoid inappropriate jokes), inspirational quote magnets, bookmarks, pencil boxes or pencil cups and key chains.
Keeping an eye on Christmas sales ads for stores like Target, Walmart, Office Depot, Staples and Sam’s Club can also help you find the perfect office gifts in bulk or at discount prices.
Overall, setting a price-per-person limit before you start shopping helps you avoid costly impulse buys that drain your wallet and put a damper on your Christmas cheer. And, staying away from inappropriate slang, jokes or expressions helps keeps gifts tasteful and prevents any potential office feuds. Remember that giving in any environment should be a joyous thing and more importantly, sometimes small surprises can bring the biggest smile.