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< Back Career Advice

Think before you gift this holiday season

Rachel Nauen | December 14, 2017

Gifts at work

think before you gift this holiday season

Workers getting into the holiday spirit this season: Make sure your gift is remembered as generous and thoughtful, not crazy. According to CareerBuilder’s annual holiday survey, 22 percent of workers say they plan to buy holiday gifts for their co-workers, and 22 percent plan to buy a gift for their boss, similar to last year’s findings.

Of the workers who plan on spending on their co-workers or bosses this holiday season, 43 percent are planning to spend $11-25 on each gift, and 27 percent will spend $6-10. Female workers this year are more likely to give gifts to colleagues (28 percent) than males (16 percent).

Some workplaces do white elephant gift exchanges, others exchange treats; but sometimes holiday gift giving goes awry. The following are among the most unusual gifts workers have received from co-workers during the holidays:

  • A coaster with their face on it
  • A nightgown
  • Chicken earrings
  • Coupons from a grocery store
  • Roasted grasshoppers
  • Saran Wrap
  • Jar of glitter
  • Party dip recipe
  • An ornament shaped like an engagement ring
  • Wooden cat statues
  • Used candles

Tips for office gift giving
Here are some tips to ensure your gifts leave the right impression on your co-workers:

Review the rules: Some offices may have policies on gift giving, so make sure you check with your boss or HR before buying any presents.

Stick within a budget: Oftentimes, teams will agree on a maximum amount to spend on gifts. While you don’t have to stay exactly on budget, spending way over or way under could send the wrong message.

Consider your corporate culture: Do you work at a more laid-back office where gag gifts would go over well? Or is your culture more traditional and a gift card or fruit basket might be better received?

Be discreet: If you are only giving gifts to a select few co-workers, don’t make your other colleagues feel bad by making a huge display out of presenting your presents. Send the gift directly to their home or set it on their desk before work.

Not feeling so generous toward your co-workers? Read 10 things your co-workers have done that make you want to quit