Ahhhh, holidays in the workplace. Whether your office participates in a White Elephant or you sneak around putting gifts on everyone’s desk, holiday gift giving at work is sometimes stressful and expensive. We’re here to tell you it doesn’t have to be!
Here are a few ideas that will keep you on the Nice list:
- Fun coffee mugs: Whether you design your own at CafePress.com or find some fun designs at a local gift shop, funny or thoughtful coffee cups not only help the environment, they are also inexpensive and useful.
- Festive socks: Ok, so it can be weird buying your coworkers an article of clothing, but socks are pretty tame. If your office—or your cubemate—is of the ham-it-up variety, pass out a bunch of festive holiday socks this season.
- Reusable water bottles: If your coworker goes through plastic water bottles, or refills the same one over and over, give them the gift of an upgrade.
- Lottery tickets: Pair lottery tickets with chocolate bars a la Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If they win, awesome! If they don’t, chocolate!
- Gift cards: Arguably the least imaginative (but, alas, the most useful) are gift cards. Spice up the ho-hum tradition, by buying gift cards to the local coffee shop in assorted values and having the co-workers draw for their gift. This way everyone gets something, there’s no presumed favorite, and it adds an element of fun to the exchange.
- Really nice pens: If your favorite pens keep ending up in everyone else’s desk drawers, do them (and yourself) a favor—buy them their own!
- Buy lunch: If you calculate the cost of buying gifts for everyone in your office, you may find it’s cheaper to just order in pizza and shout, “Happy Holidays!”
Whether you use the ideas or not from this list, when giving a gift to someone you work with, it’s usually best to balance professional and personal. Remember that the best gift is one that’s given with sincerity; if all you can afford is a card with a personal note saying how much you enjoy working with them (or something else that is nice if that’s not exactly true), then do it.