The holidays are here – and that means that it’s time to think about how you’ll approach gift-giving at the office. It’s natural to want to give gifts after the end of another great year – but how can you do it without offending co-workers and colleagues, and without spending an arm and a leg?
You’ve got questions, and EJ Gift Cards has answers. We specialize in both buying and selling gift cards – you can sell Target gift cards on our website – so we know what we’re talking about when it comes to holiday gift giving!
Below, find our top 10 tips for holiday gift-giving at the office. With this helpful advice in hand, you’re sure to get through the holidays at the office without any issues!
1. Don’t Spend Too Much
Here’s the very first rule of gift-giving! You’re probably not a millionaire – so you don’t have to spend a ton of money on gifts for everyone at the office. When it comes to a gift at the office, it truly is the thought that counts – so don’t worry about spending too little!
Another reason you should not spend too much at the office is that it may make your recipient feel uncomfortable. If they just got you a new mug or a mousepad, for example, they may feel bad if you bought them a $100 gift card to the Apple Store, or another expensive gift.
They will feel like they did not spend enough – and this can lead to negative feelings, which is the last thing you want when you give a gift!
It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but $25 is a great starting point for office holiday gifts. It’s enough to buy something significant – you can buy several Starbucks gift cards from EJ Gift Cards, for example – but not so pricey that a recipient feels like they have to reciprocate your gift.
If you want to spend a bit more on a valued colleague, that’s fine too. Consider your relationship, how long you’ve known each other, and other factors to figure out what you should spend.
2. Err On The Side Of Appropriateness – Consider How The Recipient Will Feel
Propriety is of utmost importance when giving a holiday gift. You don’t want your recipient to feel embarrassed or awkward about the gift that you are giving them.
Is there any chance at all that your recipient may not like your gift, or may not feel like it’s appropriate? For example, even though plenty of stores sell Nordstrom gift cards, it may not be the best idea for a male employee to buy a Nordstrom gift card for a female coworker.
Alcohol is another touchy subject. If you have a more laid-back and relaxed working environment, a nice bottle of scotch or a six-pack of craft beer is a great gift for a co-worker – but in a more corporate environment, this may be frowned upon.
When in doubt, err on the side of appropriateness, and choose a more general gift that can’t be misinterpreted as offensive or inappropriate.
3. Give Gifts Only To Colleagues You Are Close To
Unless you work in a very small startup, chances are that you’re not close to all of your colleagues or coworkers – and that’s okay! Unless you’re planning on getting very small gifts for everyone in your department – like a $5 Starbucks gift card – don’t worry about giving gifts to everyone in your company.
Instead, opt to give larger gifts only to colleagues you are close to! Give a gift to coworkers who play with you on the company softball team, or who have been your “happy hour” buddies since you started!
Doing this has several benefits. First, if you only give gifts to coworkers who you have an established relationship with, other coworkers are less likely to be jealous, or feel left out. It will be obvious that it’s a personal gift with real meaning.
You can also save money because you can buy fewer gifts – and you can invest in higher-value items for those coworkers who are truly important to you.
4. Personalize Your Gifts To Make Them More Special
Like we said, it’s the thought that counts when giving a holiday gift at the office. So take some time to think about what gift would be right for your coworker – and what would be special!
Got a coworker who always complains about how cold it is in the building? Buy a nice scarf for them! Got a colleague who always has papers and pens scattered across their desk? Invest in a desk organizer – and give it to them with a note that says “hope this helps! :)”.
By taking a little time to personalize your gift, you can make it much more meaningful – and your coworkers are sure to appreciate that.
5. When In Doubt, Ask HR
Before you start spending money on office holiday presents, you should make it a point to understand corporate policy about holiday gift-giving. The larger your company is, the more likely they have specific standards and best-practices in place about holiday presents. These can include:
- Guidelines for propriety and appropriateness
- Maximum spending for gifts
- Policies on where gifts should be given
- Policies about giving gifts to supervisors or managers
Most companies have at least a basic gift-giving policy in place. So make sure you understand this before you start buying presents for your coworkers this holiday season!
6. You Don’t Have To Give Your Gift At The Office
If you have a gift to give a co-worker, you don’t have to give it to them in the office! It can be uncomfortable to do so, especially if it’s a more personal or high-value item. Often, you don’t want to draw attention to yourself in a corporate setting.
So don’t give a gift at the office! Invite your coworker out to lunch and exchange presents, or give your present to them at the more relaxed environment of a post-work happy hour or holiday party.
Of course, standard advice for propriety still applies. Don’t expect your coworker to reciprocate your gift, and ensure that it’s appropriate and will not make them feel uncomfortable – no matter where you give it to them.
7. Giving Gifts To Your Boss Is Usually A Bad Idea
It’s pretty difficult to give a present to your boss and have it come across well. The fact that your boss is your supervisor creates an inherent power imbalance that is pretty difficult to overcome when giving a gift.
It may seem like you’re trying to “suck up” to your boss, or impress them with an expensive holiday gift. This can reflect badly upon you both in the eyes of your coworkers and your supervisors – so in general, we don’t recommend giving gifts to your boss.
However, there are some exceptions. For example, if your entire office or department get together to contribute a small amount of money towards a special gift to reward your supervisor for doing a great job throughout the year.
In this case, because everyone contributes a small and equal amount, there is no risk of “playing favorites”. By pooling together a small amount of money, you can reward your boss for a job well done – without the stigma of giving a gift to your supervisor!
If you want to thank your boss for a great year, this is what we would recommend. You could collect $5 from each person on your team, go to a store that sells Apple Store gift cards, and give your boss a great present!
8. Don’t Give A Gift With Ulterior Motives
When you give a gift for the holidays, you should have no ulterior motives – beyond wanting to give a valued colleague a nice gift! You should not try to use the holidays as a time to ingratiate yourself with your coworkers, or to try to impress them with how much you spend on gifts.
You should take special care not to have any kind of romantic ulterior motives. Do not use a holiday gift as an excuse to express your interest in a coworker – even if it’s mutual. This can lead to some exceptionally difficult situations, and you’d be better off avoiding that altogether.
The holidays are a time of giving, festivity, and fun – and that’s what your gifts should be, too. Stick with appropriate and reasonably-priced gifts, and don’t give them with any expectation of reciprocation or personal gain.
9. Avoid Cash Gifts
Cash gifts are not appropriate in a business setting – whether they’re between coworkers, or from a supervisor to an employee. This is because cash is not a gift – it’s compensation. It feels strange to get a cash gift during the holidays because you usually expect cash as your reward for working – not as an additional bonus.
So, unless it is in the form of an official holiday bonus from the company, cash gifts should be avoided. Not only are the inappropriate, they’re boring and humdrum – after all, all of your coworkers get cash from the company in every paycheck!
If you would like to give a cash gift, you do have other options. You could go to a store that sells Target gift cards or other “big-box” gift cards, and give one of those instead. Because so many items are available at these retailers, your gift will be almost as good as cash!
You could also get a VISA gift card as a gift for your coworker. VISA gift card can be spent just like cash at just about every retailer, due to their “open-loop” design. But because they look like a gift card and cannot be deposited into a bank account, they don’t feel like cash – so they’re totally appropriate for a holiday gift exchange.
10. Remember A Gift Receipt
Even the most well-intentioned, thoughtful gift may not be the right choice for a coworker, in some cases. So don’t stick them with a gift they can’t use – make sure you include a gift receipt with your gift, so that they can return it if they want.
You should also make it clear that it’s okay for them to return the gift if they don’t like it. You don’t want them to hold onto a useless gift just because they’re afraid of hurting your feelings.
A great way to avoid this issue altogether is with gift cards. Gift cards are the most popular holiday gift for good reason – they’re flexible and personalizable, and you don’t have to worry about buying the wrong gift!
If you’re looking for gift cards for a coworker, consider buying discounted gift cards from EJ Gift Cards! With deep discounts on dozens of top brands, you can get all your gifts for the holidays – for less!
Get Gifts For The Whole Office For Less – With EJ Gift Cards!
The world of office gift-giving can be tricky, due to the mix of personal and professional relationships between you and your colleagues. But with this handy guide from EJ Gift Cards, you’re sure to be able to navigate the holiday season at the office effectively.
And whether you need to buy or sell gift cards online, we’re your #1 choice! Got a gift card you don’t need from a colleague? You can sell GAP gift cards and hundreds of other gift cards at EJ Gift Cards now – and get cash for their remaining balance!
And recently, we’ve begun selling discounted gift cards! You can buy gift cards from top brands like Starbucks, Target, and WalMart, along with hundreds of other companies!
So whether you’re buying or selling gift cards this holiday season, come to EJ Gift Cards. With our simple buying and selling process and customer satisfaction guarantee, you’re sure to have a great experience on our online gift card marketplace!