The Office Holiday Party & Gift Giving: The Do's and Don'ts
When it comes time for the office holiday party, many people find themselves stressing over gift giving. Whether it's a Secret Santa event at the office or a white elephant gift, it can be hard to decide what is appropriate to give! By following these simple guidelines, however, you can choose an excellent gift that will be appreciated without going overboard.
- Keep it clean. Even if your department tends to get a bit raunchy at times, there's a good chance that the rest of the office doesn't. Keep your gifts simple and professional.
- Choose something that everyone will appreciate, particularly if you're drawing numbers or playing Dirty Santa. A simple, classic gift will be appreciated by almost anyone.
- Give non-perishable food products rather than fruit baskets or baked goods if possible. Around the holidays, everyone gets plenty of treats and goodies, and all too often, they end up being wasted simply because no one can consume them all. If you do want to share baked goods with your coworkers, they might be better left in the break room for everyone to enjoy.
- Stay within the stated budget. If you have a great coupon or catch a great deal, you might be able to get away with spending a little less, but try to stay close to the budget anyway. Other people know about coupons, too!
- Plan ahead and choose thoughtful gifts. When in doubt, gift cards are almost always appreciated.
- Understand office etiquette regarding gift-giving. Drop in at HR and ask about company policy or check into it online to be sure that you're not overstepping any boundaries.
- Go overboard. First, if you go overboard this year, it might tempt others to go overboard next year, creating a vicious cycle that you can't escape. It's even worse if you're someone's Secret Santa. Remember, the gift giver will eventually come out, and you can create a lot of trouble by giving inappropriate gifts.
- Choose heavily scented candles, perfumes, and soaps. Yes, there are plenty of great bath and body products out there. You may even think that they smell wonderful. Unfortunately, many people have allergies and other sensitivities, and scents are more personal than people think.
- Give personal items. Clothing, for example, is very hard to choose for another person, and there's nothing worse than receiving a gift that's not your size, color, or taste, especially from someone that you'll see every day for the next year and who will expect to see you wearing it.
- Wait until the last minute to start your holiday shopping for coworkers. It makes it harder--and much more stressful--to choose appropriate gifts.
Holiday gift-giving in an office environment can be a challenge. By starting early, putting real thought into your choices, and adhering to company etiquette, however, you can create a wonderful gift that your coworkers will be sure to appreciate. Start shopping now to take advantage of sales and promotions, get a better idea of everything that's out there, and choose appropriate gifts for everyone on your list.