Boss on Your Holiday Shopping List? Read This Before You Make the Purchase


Considering buying a gift for your boss this holiday season? While there is nothing wrong with wanting to give a gift to someone you work closely with on a daily basis, there are office policies, and politics, that need to be considered. Here are four tips to help you navigate this sometimes-tricky subject:

First Things First: Consider Whether Gifts Are Common or Expected

Before you consider what to buy your boss, take a moment to consider whether they would be comfortable receiving a gift in the first place. While they may like buying something for their staff during the holidays, they may feel uncomfortable receiving gifts. If you are new to a company or department, ask your co-workers about what the dynamic is like with gifts. Some companies may actually have rules regarding personal gifts. Read up before you start buying.

Don’t Be Michael Scott: Keep the Spending Reasonable (i.e. Don’t Make Everyone Else Look Bad)

There was an episode of The Office where Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) ignored the $20 limit on a White Elephant gift exchange and brought a new iPod. Predictably, that did not sit well with those around the office. When buying a gift for your boss, or anyone else in the office, keep the spending very reasonable. Going overboard may give those around the office the wrong idea, plus it puts your boss in a very awkward position. Even if you can get an insanely good deal on something, if it seems a bit to “lavish” think twice about gifting it.

Keep It Work Appropriate

While different employers have different rules regarding the workplace, it’s a good idea to generally keep your gifts on the very straight and narrow. Gag gifts are a no-no, as is anything that can even be seen as remotely offensive (even for gifts that aren’t going to be staying in the office). Think about it this way: if you wouldn’t put the gift on your desk for everyone to see, don’t give it to your boss.

Something Homemade Would Be Appreciated

Do you bake? Woodwork? Knit? If you have a talent, why not use it to make your boss a gift? A batch of your famous chocolate chip cookies, or a knitted scarf you made in your free time make the perfect holiday gift for your boss, as it keeps money out of the equation, and gives the gift a little personalized flare.

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