The-Devil-Wears-Prada 2

Ah… the Holiday Gift Giving – a source of joy to some, while an endless supply of frustration to others. Aside from having a list and checking it twice, you have to think long and hard on what to give to whom. And to top it all off – if you are working in an office environment or a place of business with colleagues and bosses (and even if you don’t, owning your own company means you also have clients, partners or suppliers as well) – you also have to think about gift giving at work.

Now, who gets what in the office?

Before we get to the gift of things, let’s remember a few rules that apply to gift giving in the professional domain. While it is best to give a gift that is personalized, there’s a difference in giving a gift that is TOO personal. Remember, this may be a Christmas gift but at work, it really is a token of thanks and appreciation – it demonstrates that you value your work relationship with this person.

Quick tips to think about: firstly, avoid gag gifts (forever and for always!) and secondly, be aware of cultural, religious and etiquette faux-pas.

There is a delicate balance of showing appreciation and taking into consideration that appropriateness of the gift. Keep in mind that in addition to other religious holidays in December like Hanukkah, Kwanza, etc.not everyone celebrates Christmas, there are others who simply do not wish to celebrate Christmas. With that said, here’s our Guide to Gift Giving – The Office Edition – a quick guide on who gets what in the office during the holidays:


The Boss -Your safe bet if a group gift – pool your resources together and get a meaningful gift for the Big Cheese. If however, no one else wants to give up the Benjamin on this, pick something small and nothing too lavish for your Manager. Custom stationary, travel or work accessories are safe bets. You want to give a gift, not a bribe for a promotion. (But hey, if you get a promotion out of this, you are writing next year’s gift guide for the CEO!)

If You are the Boss – A worthy and trusted (Executive) Assistant is as precious as the artificial air you breathe at the office. This is no time for Groupon and discounted sale items of the rack. Give something thoughtful, useful and generally something she/he will get excited about. Think about tickets to the Opera, personalized gift baskets of gourmet food items or those ones loaded with the sweet promise of pampering and relaxation. But if you don’t know nothing about the person who reports directly to you (Shame on you!), don’t be afraid to take the gift card route. Just make sure it’s one from a Department Store like The Hudson’s Bay or Nordstrom so there’s plenty of ‘departments’ they can shop from. Wheeew… that was close!

The Colleagues – Personally, I have a work wife, whom I try to spoil rotten (if and when I can) so if that be the case for you too – work wife, work husband, work GF/BF – ’tis the season to show them how much they are appreciated. It’s probably safe to say that they have become your close friends and with friends, anything and everything goes. They make our Mondays to Fridays a little more bearable and sometimes, okay most of the time, they offer us comfort and a shoulder to cry on. I mean… cry tears of joy, of course.

The Beloved Client – First things first: check the client’s company policy in accepting gifts. Some companies are just not allowed to received gifts from clients and you have to respect that. After you’ve cleared that little issue out, try not to do the easy thing by giving them your company swag . While it seems like the most natural thing to do as you have already have the items anyway- mugs, caps, pens with your company’s logos, this may be a sort of unsolicited advertising your client may not be fond of. Instead, give something that conveys that they are valued and appreciated. You can never go wrong with a beautiful bottle of wine.

The Mailman, Barista and Other Important People Who Makes your Daily Grind Bearable – In my line of work, the mailman, the FedEx / UPS / Canada Post Delivery person is my Best Friend. I treat them with respect, kindness and just a healthy amount of fear. I’ve lost enough valuable mails to know going postal is more than just a funny term. Gift Cards to Starbucks/Tim Horton’s or the fail-safe gift idea of a box of chocolates are guaranteed to make them smile… and perhaps a little sorry that they deliberately dropped your parcel a few times to the ground.

The-Devil-Wears-Prada 4

So there you go! Twenty York Street’s Guide to Who is Getting What and Who is not Getting anything (at all) for Christmas in the Office. Did we forget anyone at work? If so, let us know!

Merry Christmas and Happy Shopping!



You May Also Like