There’s one holiday bonus that most people would rather pass on, the company gift exchange. And yet, every year, we all browse Amazon for hours trying to find the perfect gifts for our assistants, co-workers and even our bosses. We want a gift that shows we know the person, without being too personal. We want a gift that seems luxurious and expensive without actually spending a lot of money. We ask a lot from these yearly statements of affection.
And no person seems like a trickier giftee than your boss. Honestly, I think it’s harder than finding something for your mother-in-law. So I’ve put together some general guidelines to help with gift-giving etiquette and how to find an awesome executive present.
- Presentation matters. You know how everyone says that it’s what’s on the inside that counts? It’s not always true. Go the extra mile to have a gift professionally wrapped or buy a pretty bow. This is part of the reason that gift baskets are always a popular choice. They just look nice. When it comes to Christmas gifts, the appearance is a big part of the punch.
- Don’t try to out-lux them. Your boss makes more money than you. You know that. So you don’t need to impress them with the most expensive gift imaginable. Focus on getting a quality gift that will appeal to their sense of status, but don’t worry about getting the biggest brand-name available.
- Traditional gifts are popular for a reason. It’s pretty tempting to find something other than the same old fare when it comes to gifts. But sometimes, these staples are popular because everyone likes them. Instead of turning up your nose at holiday classics like gift baskets and scarves, look for one that specifically relates to your boss.
- Don’t get too personal. A professional relationship deserves a professional gift. So even if you know some odd details about your boss’s life, I wouldn’t try to involve those in your gift. Just because your boss recently ended a long-term relationship, they don’t necessarily want perfume or cologne from their employees, even if they’re trying to “get back into the dating game.” Basically, if your boss would be uncomfortable having your gift sitting on their desk, then it’s crossed a line.
- Gift cards aren’t always the most practical gift. Gift cards have a place in our holiday, but it’s definitely not for your boss. For one thing, your boss presumably doesn’t need more money. If they really want something, they can probably buy it. For another, it lets your boss know exactly how much money you were willing to spend on them. And finally, giving a gift card takes almost no thought at all. The point of giving a gift to your boss is to show your thought and appreciation. Save the gift cards for your college-aged nieces and nephews.
- Don’t be afraid to team up. If you have a wonderful idea that’s a little larger than your budget, don’t be afraid to join in with some co-workers. Your boss will appreciate a big, thoughtful present and know that everyone contributed to the holiday gesture.