Do’s and Don’ts of Giving Gifts in the Workplace

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Summer is almost over and before you know it, kids will be back in school, the leaves will start to change, and the temperatures will slowly decrease. The next thing you know it is 30 degrees, snowing and you are starting your holiday shopping. But do you buy a small something for a co-worker or do you wait to see if you get anything from them first, then run out to the store and see what you can give them?

If you work at a large company, it may not be feasible to run out to buy 160 co-workers a gift. You’ll end up breaking the bank because of it. Giving a gift to your boss / bosses, close friends and a few extras for people in your department is not a bad thing. If you are unsure of what to get people, stick to the staples such as a nice card with handmade cookies or a candy cane. But if you are trying to be more thoughtful, here are some guidelines about buying presents for your co-workers:

Don’t overspend – The rule of thumb is keeping the gift inexpensive. You don’t want to spend $50 on a pair of nice gloves and the co-worker you give them to ends up getting you a box of chocolate and have them be embarrassed. Set a limit of $15 or less. Gifts, such as a gift card to Starbucks, Target, or a gas station, or a cookbook or bottle of wine.

Thoughtfulness counts – If giving alcohol is appropriate in your place of employment try to avoid giving everyone the same bottle of wine. Pick out a couple different types and let people select the one they want most. Giving them a card leaves a lasting, personalized touch to this simple gift.

Keep a couple of “Anybody Gifts” handy – If someone walks up to your desk with a gift in hand make sure you are prepared with a couple of wrapped items like chocolate, gift cards, or wine. If you don’t have anything, it is fine to reciprocate by taking the person out to lunch.

Don’t try to be too funny – What you think is hilarious may not resonate with co-workers. Play it safe by not giving your boss a singing fish that mounts on the wall.

It is always a good idea to be generous around the holidays! It puts you in a better mood and may help lift the spirits of others. Even if you don’t get anything in return it is still the fact that you did something for someone else, and a thoughtful gift never goes unnoticed.

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