Gift Giving at Work

It’s the season of giving and many times people wonder what’s appropriate and inappropriate when it comes to gift giving in the office. The same rules apply in the office as exist for gift giving in general. But it helps to remember that it can be especially important to act appropriately in the office.

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Here are a five things to keep in mind when thinking about gift giving in the office:

1. Be respectful of different cultures. Be aware of how your co-workers celebrate the holidays. Some people celebrate differently than you do – and your gift should show respect for their preferences. I always try to get generic holiday cards that say “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” because different cultures and religions celebrate different holidays.

2. Don’t expect anything in return. If you are giving your boss a gift because you are hoping they’ll give you a raise, you may be very disappointed. Instead, focus on the rewards that come with giving the gift and sharing in the holiday spirit. Gifts should never be given with the hope of something in return.

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3. Don’t single people out. You may be closer with certain colleagues over others, but you should always be respectful of the team. If you have a special gift for a certain colleague, share it in private. It can be hurtful if people are end up feeling left out.

4. Keep it appropriate. You always want to choose a gift that is appropriate for the situation. The amount of money you spend is not as important as the message you send. So, giving someone a nice holiday card with a special message can go a long way.

5. Keep it legal. Many employers (especially government) have strict rules about the types of gifts they can receive from vendors and customers. So, make sure you check the rules or find ways to show your gratitude towards others in ways that respects their rules.

It’s a wonderful time of year to share in the spirit of giving and, if your budget allows, giving gifts is a great way to show your colleagues how much you appreciate them. But, sometimes the best gifts are not things. So, in the spirit of the season, remember that your gratitude and sincere appreciation can go a long way.

Happy Holidays to All,

Stacey Carroll

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