To Gift or Not to Gift: Office Holiday Politics

We’re in the homestretch to the holidays now, which means most procrastinating PR girls and boys are running around getting last minute gifts.  When I was making my list of recipients this week, I thought of those I spend the most time with: my office colleagues.  This year has been a tough one, so I want to give almost everyone a little something.  But in any office, whether you work in a tiny 5 man shop or a global corporation, there are some boundaries with gifts.  Here’s a little guide to giving back to those you work so hard with during the year:

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Gifts for the boss – I don’t really appreciate one-off gifts for the boss. First, it puts you in the “brown noser” category. Second, it could put your boss under some pressure or in a moment of embarrassment if he/she didn’t get you anything in particular.  However, I am in FULL support of gifts for all of your managers and supervisors. AKA, anyone who has been a great mentor to you throughout the year.  That way, you are not singling out the head of the company but rather thanking every person who had an influence on your work this year (including the head of the company). Get them all the same thoughtful gift, whether that’s a new coffee mug for the office, a day book, fun stationary, or your favorite chocolate or wine.

Gifts for your co-workers – My office does a white elephant, so we don’t feel the need to get everyone individual gifts.  However, last year I was still new at my company and I wanted to be sure everyone felt how thankful I was for being welcomed in the office, so I got all my team members a little something.  This year it’s a little more laid back, so a little candy or fun lotto ticket or cute card for their desk will suffice.

Gifts for your office BFF – This one is a bit tricky as well.  Your office BFF can be handled like your other close friends, but still be sure the gift is appropriate for office space.  And be sure to give the gift after office hours – either at your Thursday happy hour or when you are both out to lunch.  Don’t wave the gift in front of your peers… no need for them to know.

What are you giving to your colleagues this year?


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