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Stumped over workplace gifts?

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in Office Management

You know exactly what to buy for your best friend, but when it comes to holiday shopping for co-workers, you’re stumped.

Buying gifts for people you don’t know well takes a bit more thought. Use these do’s and don’ts when choosing gifts:

Your boss, or your boss’s boss:

Do consider making a charitable donation in his or her name or having a tree planted in the boss’s honor.

• Don’t give gift certificates with dollar amounts on them. It is far better to give an inexpensive gift that is thoughtful and original.

Clients on the boss’s list:

• Do look into custom-printed fortune cookies, M&M’s in company colors, a gift certificate to the local coffee house (with a note that says, “Take a coffee break on me”), or a business card case with your boss’s card tucked inside.

• Don’t give a paperweight, since the client probably has 10 of them tucked away in a desk drawer.


Do give something useful, regardless of your budget. Examples: a $5 certificate to the local coffee house or juice bar, or a set of clever sticky notepads.

• Don’t buy gifts for everyone. Start with people you have a strong connection to, who have helped you through a difficult project or who gave you a gift last year. Keep a few gender-neutral gifts (such as business card holders) on hand for “oops” moments.

Whatever you choose to give, remember to keep spirits up through small gestures, such as anonymously putting candy canes in everyone’s inbox, or offering to stay late so a co-worker can leave early to finish shopping.

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