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How to Buy a Gift for Your Boss

You made a list, and checked it twice -- but when you checked it a third time, you realized you left off the person who's responsible for your checks. So what to do?

gift cards 

(Photo Credit: Lani Elderts/Flickr)

"As if buying a gift for your boyfriend wasn’t hard enough, what about buying a gift for your boss?" writes Jessica Sager at The Grindstone. "You really don't want to mess that up, because, well, the repercussions are a bit more lasting than getting dumped by some jerk, because most jerks don't pay your rent."

Sager offers a few guidelines in her article to get you off to a good start. We'd also add the following tips:

1. The usual rules apply: think of the person you're buying for, not what you'd like to get.

You love chocolate, but your boss is allergic. She loves baseball, but you can't see your way to purchasing anything having to do with a sport. Think beyond your own gift preferences. Put yourself in the recipient's shoes and you won't go wrong.

Anyone who thinks that this rule is too obvious to merit inclusion has never seen a non-drinker try to muster a happy face while unwrapping a bottle of wine. 

2. Cash is tacky, but gift cards are great.

There's no need to go overboard, either; if you want to give gifts above the $25 range, see if you can get the rest of the crew to go in on it with you. Otherwise, you run the risk of being more stalkery than thankful.

3. Don't kiss up too much.

There's a reason that most office gift exchanges put a dollar limit on the gift giving. The executives can afford to give out iPads if they so desire, but the interns wind up looking pretty shabby in comparison. Don't break the unwritten rules when you're buying gifts for the boss. It's bad for your bottom line, and it might be more awkward than anything else.

Tell Us What You Think

Are you getting your boss a present this year? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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