It’s always difficult to find the perfect Christmas gifts for your family members and friends, but when it comes to gifting in the office, it’s even tougher. There are certain rules you need to follow in order to avoid future problems with your colleagues or worse, with your boss. In order to avoid awkward moments and misunderstanding, try to stick to the basic office gifting etiquette.
Most of all, you should know that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Whether it’s related to religion, culture, or something else, you need to be careful who you are putting in your holiday shopping list. Moreover, some people just don’t like the holidays and a gift will make them feel uncomfortable. There are other dangers of gifting in the office – you can choose the wrong gift or present it in an inappropriate way. And these can easily backfire and put obstacles in your path to career success.
A recent survey by staffing company Spherion reveals that around 52 percent of workers say they plan to buy Christmas gifts for their colleagues and 27 percent of them are preparing gifts for their employers. Data from the same research show that one in ten people who gave their boss a present in the past admit they spent more than their co-workers in attempt to boost their career. Indeed, many people believe that a nice and expensive gift for the boss will give them some privileges and get them ahead. But according to career experts, this will be considered rude and insincere and will have the exact opposite effect. It’s even worse, if you are the only one in the office with a present for the boss – not only the boss will think you simply garner favor, but your co-workers will start to hate you. A better strategy will be to gather you colleagues and buy something as a group.
Gifting your colleagues isn’t easier – the survey says that for 37 percent of the people it was just as stressful as buying gifts for the rest of the people on their shopping list. So, what should the gift be? There are two rules about what it should not be – too personal or inappropriate. Of course, it should not be expensive or lavish either. Forget about clothes, jewelry, or personal care products. A box of chocolates will be a disaster for your colleague, who tries to lose weight, for instance.
A thoughtful, yet low-cost gift should be perfect – office supplies, scented candles, picture frames, coffee mugs, and so on. Gift baskets filled with small gifts or Christmas treats and candy will be great option if you are considering one gift for the whole office.
It’s also very important how you are giving the Christmas gifts. If you’ve bought presents only for two or three people, be discrete and give them when you are alone to avoid insulting the others. If you receive a gift and have nothing to return, make sure to thank politely and send a thank-you note.
Even if your budget doesn’t allow gifts for your co-workers, try to surprise them and bring some cheer to the office by giving hand-written cards or notes. It will work fine!