Am I supposed to give gifts at the office?
Who should I be giving gifts to – my boss, people who report to me, coworkers?
Where does gift giving start and where does it end…and more important, what’s an appropriate gift?
This time of year is always stressful, not only do you have the cram 3 months of work into about 2 months, prep for the new year kick-offs meetings, budget planning, etc. But, you also have the whole family thing: which house will you go to, the in-laws or your parents; kids studying for finals, etc. Crazy time of year for sure. Definitely calls for a drink (or 3). And, on that note, alcohol is always a good item to give at the office – lord knows we can all use some!
However, before the what to give, let’s talk about the who to give it to. If you have people reporting to you, no question they must get a gift and don’t go cheap.
Coworkers? Generally, no, but if someone has been critical in you surviving the office this year…yep they should get a gift.
Now, the tough one…the boss. But, before talking about what you should get him, let’s get something straight. You should expect a gift from your boss. After all, without you they’d just be another multiple six figure salaried person awaiting their severance package and next job at a higher salary.
But, does that mean you must give them something? Generally, it’s probably the right thing to do. If you are one of 4 or 5 reports or less…Yep you must gift-up. Are you one of 20+…probably not necessary, unless you are one of the few “go-to” people for your boss, his “right hand man/woman” in that case…Yep gift-up. However, if you run into “the man” in the hall and he looks at you with the (oh shit what’s this underlings name again) and drops the “hey bud”…yeah, screw it NO GIFT FOR HIM.
So, if you are going to give, what should it be? Well, let’s take one thing off the table first and foremost. If you are a man and are giving a gift to a female – employee, boss or just hot office woman – keep it politically correct. Yes, I know, you’re thinking, “CV say it aint so…you are never PC.” True that. But, let’s put it this way. You don’t want to be like Cubicle George and give gifts like a sexually charged Santa sweater.
A good old stand-bye gift is wine. Don’t cheap out with some jug or box wine. Nope, spend the equivalent of 2+ lunches and get him something decent. Mention, “I had this a few weeks ago and thought to myself (insert boss-man’s name here) would like this…enjoy!” If for some reason you have the one boss-man in the world who doesn’t drink than I suggest 2 tickets to the local movie giga-plex theater as a date night for him and his significant other and suggest a movie the you recently saw (or read about on the web 10 minutes before).
Bottom line, unless you are literally known as a minion with a number to the boss, step up, get some utterly generic gift for your boss and move on.
Lastly, a suggestion to help you get through the next week or so – make sure to bring a corkscrew and clean coffee mug to the office. You don’t want to be caught unprepared for office drinking opportunities. Because, after all this is about the only time of year you can drink in the office. Just blame it one a group Holiday Party…if your boss remembers to arrange one.
Cheers and Merry Christmas!