The do's and don'ts of holiday gift giving at work (and isn't awkward)

The holiday office parties are around the corner….

You know the awkwardness of “who and how” you give holiday gifts in the office is coming….

Let’s be real, holiday gift giving in the office sometimes can be overwhelming depending on how many people work in your department, if you actually like your boss, and would if your work doesn’t even have any kind of holiday gifting traditions?

Here are my top do’s and don’ts for gift giving at work this holiday season.

Do these things:

  • Do ask your co-workers what the holiday gift giving situation has been like in past years. Don’t try re-creating the wheel if there is already established traditions that everyone enjoys. If it’s your first holiday season with the team, try and participate in what has been done in the past.

  • If you have a team that you oversee, try and carve out some budget and get everyone something. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but a little something to show your personally grateful for your team and recognize their efforts goes a long way.

  • Do try and be a little thoughtful in your gift choices. This can be as small as a co-workers favorite snack to munch on. Again, it does not have to be expensive.

  • A group gift to the boss is always a nice touch. Include everyone in this gift opportunity.

Don’t do these things:

  • Don’t try to make gifts “funny” unless it’s a white elephant and expected. Keep the funny gift in good taste and not anything that will make you look vulgar or crude.

  • Don’t give gifts in front of some co-workers and not others. If you’re not giving everyone gifts this year because of budgeting, then give the gifts on personal time or when others are not around so it doesn’t look selective. The last thing you want to do is make someone feel like they aren’t included on your gift list.

  • Don’t spend a lot of money. Set a budget and stick to it. The fact that you are going out of your way to participate is enough. You don’t need to feel the need to spend a ton of money on holiday gifts if it’s going to cause you stress.

Here are my office gift ideas that you can always be safe with:


  • Starbucks gift cards ($5-$10)

  • Christmas cookies

  • Chipotle gift cards ($10-$15)

  • Fudge

  • Anthropologie candle ($15-$30)

  • Bath bombs wrapped in holiday clear wrap

  • Amazon gift cards ($15-$30)

  • Movie tickets

For The Boss

  • Concert tickets (from someone you know they would like to see)

  • Sports memorabilla to their favorite team

  • Nordstrom gift card ($50-$100)

  • Restaurant gift card ($50-$100)

  • Spa gift card set-facial, massage, pedicure, etc.

  • Subscription box service you know they would use or make life easier for them

  • Lululemon or Nike gift card for the active boss ($75-$100)

  • Apple airpods

Tell me in the comments what gift ideas you found to be winners for you. Let’s share some ideas for the upcoming holiday season and happy gift giving!

Make sure you share this post on your social media so we can share the love on ideas.

Marisella Bodrero