Etiquette Considerations for Christmas Gift Giving at the Office

December 15, 2015  |     |   0 Comment

iStock_000014741460XSmallWondering whether it is appropriate to give your boss a Christmas gift?  Whether you have to give a Christmas gift to all of your colleagues or if you can be selective?  Are you concerned about what is or is not an appropriate gift to give a colleague? Or how much money should be spent on a gift?  You are not alone!

Navigating this territory can be tricky.  Here are some tips to consider to help you with your Christmas gift-giving decisions at the office to ensure you do so with grace, consideration and professionalism:

1.  Have a Christmas Gift Budget 

The holiday spirit can definitely bring out the best in us!  You know the expressions, “It is better to give than receive”?  Well, that sums up how I feel at Christmas. I put a lot of thought into the gifts I purchase for my colleagues, friends, family, etc. and simply thrive on the feeling I get from giving it to them.  That to me is my gift.  While the holiday spirit can ignite our generous side, there is no need or expectation to break the bank during this time of the year. Set a budget on what you will spend on gifts for your colleagues, friends and family.

At the office, the gifts you give are a symbol of your appreciation for your colleagues.  It is not expected that you should give an expensive or extravagant gift.  Anything over the top could actually make a colleague feel uncomfortable.

2.  Give Thoughtful and Tasteful Gifts to Your Colleagues

Keep it simple. Do not give a gift that is too personal – like lingerie, cologne/perfume, or clothing. Your gift should demonstrate that you have put some thought into what the person would like – not what you would like.  Consider a coffee card to their favourite coffee shop or a gift card to a movie theatre. Food items also work well, like a beautiful box of Belgian chocolates or a gift basket from a fine food speciality store. A potted plant is also an appropriate gift and one that will last for a long time (if they water it)!!

3.  Give a Gift to a Colleague Discreetly

You are not obligated to give Christmas gifts to all of your colleagues.  That would break the bank – especially if you work in a large office!  If you do choose to give gifts to a colleague or two with whom you have established a friendship or you want to give a gift to a colleague who went out of their way to help you during the year, do so discreetly.  Consider giving your gift during a lunch break or outside of office hours.  That way, you will not inadvertently make anyone else feel left-out for not receiving a gift from you.

4.  To Give or Not to Give a Christmas Gift to Your Boss

Giving a gift to your boss may be seen as a way to garner favouritism. Instead, consider giving a group gift to your boss.  Make sure your gift is not overly personal, but do put some thought into it. If your boss has certain hobbies or interests, find a gift that is related to them.  For example, if you know your boss enjoys classical music, consider buying him or her a pair of tickets to the Orchestra.  That way, your boss can share the gift with a friend or loved one.

5.  Always Give a Gift to Your Assistant

If you have an Assistant, it is important that you take the time to demonstrate your gratitude for his or her support and loyalty to you during the year by giving him or her a Christmas gift.  Again, it does not have to be expensive or extravagant – but it does have to be thoughtful and tasteful.

Happy Holidays to You and Yours!

Erin Crotty, Founder & Director, BloomStra Consulting

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