Christmas Gifts in the Workplace

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Every workplace is different and no two bosses are the same but we all face the same conundrum during the festive period:

“Should I buy my boss a Christmas present?”

Well there is no right or wrong answer and each situation has to be judged on its own merit…


Illustration Credit:


  1. Is there a precedent? Have gifts previously been exchanged in your office? – Although there’s nothing wrong with being the trendsetter and starting a new tradition, you should be careful not to upset the apple cart.
  2. Are you going to look like a suck up? – You don’t want to risk alienating your co-workers by schmoozing your boss and making everyone else look bad!
  3. Is your organisation small enough that you could realistically get a little something for everyone, so nobody is left out? Or if you’re part of a bigger company, perhaps you could agree to exchange gifts among your team or department only?

Getting Gift Ideas

Once you’ve determined whether it’s a good idea to spread some festive cheer through office gift giving, you’ll need to work out what to get. If you’re a crafty person and you love to get creative, a handmade gift from the heart will always go down well. If you’re dipping into your wallet for your gifts, you don’t need to spend big. Most people will be more appreciative of the thought you’ve put in rather than the money you’ve spent.

What are they like?

In this guide we’ll have a look at some great gift ideas for your boss or colleagues, by picking some of the more common categories of co-worker!

1. For the Sweet Tooth

girl eating biscuit

photo credit: Cate.Sevilla

Whilst not everybody feels the same way about getting a sweet sugary fix, it’s fair to say that most of us do! Delicious cakes, luxury biscuits and exquisite chocolates are rarely unappreciated, making sweet gifts a popular choice for keeping as many people as possible happy. And even the most health conscious calorie counters tend to relax the rules a little at Christmas. After all, it comes but once a year!


2. For the Style Guru

style guru

photo credit: Mecaniques

Fashionistas and the style conscious will always stick out in any working environment so if you’re confident enough you know their tastes, this is a great avenue for gift giving ideas. A nice watch strap from Paul Twice would be perfect for any fashion enthusiast

Perhaps a classy but understated pair of black leather gloves would go down well with your boss for their morning drive to work in that luxury saloon? Never underestimate the value of a good accessory. Nice bag, hat or scarf you could see your colleague appreciating? Think about real life situations in which they could utilise them to prevent yourself buying something frivolous that will never get worn.


3. For the Ruthlessly Efficient

efficient worker

photo credit: plantronicsgermany

Every workplace has one – that person who lives, breathes and sleeps work. You may think they need to relax and enjoy something out of work, but hinting at this could be awkward. If they love work, get them a gift to help make their work life easier. A wireless Plantronics headset might sound pretty uninspiring to you or I but to the busy boss always on the go, they might find it a revolutionary time-saver. There’s also the chance of a few extra brownie points for you if you show you’re thinking about practical workplace efficiency savings!


4. For the Outdoor Adventurer

outdoors person

photo credit: radzfoto

A few tell tale signs can help you identify this fresh air fiend: Heavy duty waterproof jacket? Muddy wheel arches of their car? An envy-inducing lack of excess meat around the middle? Chances are this person likes getting out in the countryside. Think about activities they may enjoy whilst out and about and see if you can find a gift they could usefully use or enjoy in the great outdoors.

  • How about a nice compass or a map holder for the rambler or cyclist?
  • For something a little more fun, stunt kites delight young and old alike.
  • Or perhaps they could do with a nice warm bobble hat!

5. For the Gadget Geek

gadget geek

photo credit: Pedro Glez.

These days there’s a gadget to streamline and simplify almost every aspect of our daily lives and we all know someone who can’t get enough of these devices! During the festive season you can take your pick from any number of Christmas gadgets flooding the market in the hope of making it into stockings and Secret Santa stockpiles. Popular office gadgetry might include fancy clocks, watches or even a desk bound remote control tank!


6. For the Pampering Fan

pampering facial

photo credit: Vook tv

Everybody needs a bit of R&R time, but perhaps some more than others! Whilst stretching to a full spa break might be pushing the boundaries of what’s appropriate for a work colleague, spa gift sets are an excellent choice for both female colleagues and metrosexual men. Think skin creams and bath salts rather than deodorant sprays!


7. For the family man/woman

They might have photos all over their desk, a heart-warming family desktop background or bags under their eyes. All are tell tale signs this person has children, and they’ve probably mentioned it once or twice too. Things to do with the kids will always be appreciated by the busy parent so why not consider fun and simple games that can be enjoyed by all the family? Alternatively you could pick a tasteful photo frame or get a nice personalised mug, mouse mat or drinks coaster for their desk.


8. For everyone else!

work planning

photo credit: pennstatenews

If you’re really stuck for ideas and the person you’re buying for isn’t covered by any of the suggestions in this guide, there are always…





  • Gift vouchers (pick a department store or online retail giant and they can choose anything they like)
  • Gift hampers (there are always thousands to choose from around Christmas time)
  • Stationery (because everyone uses stationery!)

This guide was put together to help all those Secret Santas who aren’t sure of what to get their workmates for Christmas. I hope you enjoyed it.

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