10 Do’s and Don’ts of Giving Holiday Gifts at Work
December 22, 2020
BR Holiday Gifts

‘Twas the day before holiday break, when all through the office, not an employee was stirring, not even a…Just kidding. (We actually couldn’t think of anything that rhymes well with office.) However, no employee would have been stirring anyway because many of us are still working remotely. Regardless, the holiday season is upon us and many companies are still trying to keep up their usual cheer.

The holidays are a time for being appreciative of what you have and showing gratitude. One method for showing our gratitude towards others often comes in the form of a gift box wrapped neatly with a bow. This practice is also common in the workplace, though it is not required. As cheery of a tradition as gift-giving is during the holiday season, it can also be tricky to navigate in a professional setting. To help you out, we’ve developed our 10 do’s and don’ts for holiday gift-giving at work.

Don’t purposefully leave others out

The point of giving gifts is to make the recipients feel good. It isn’t to make everyone else feel bad. When deciding on who you’re buying gifts for, determine who’s on your list and when and where you will give them the gift. Some offices prefer office-wide secret Santas while others leave it up to the employees to determine. Whichever option you’re going with this year, don’t flaunt it, especially in front of anyone who wasn’t involved.

Don’t give any inappropriate gifts

While this one shouldn’t have to be said, we want to make sure we’ve covered our bases. Don’t. Give. Inappropriate. Gifts. Plain and simple. If you even have to question if it’s inappropriate, you probably should avoid it. If your grandmother wouldn’t love it, I don’t think your coworker will love it either. And I can tell you for a fact, the HR team will definitely not like it.

Don’t be remissive to other’s beliefs

The holiday and gift-giving season is closely tied to many different religious holidays; however, you can’t assume that everyone is celebrating the same holiday as you or if they’re celebrating at all. It’s wise to stay away from any religious gifts unless you work for a religious organization or have explicit confirmation that the religious gift you’d like to give will be received well. Again, if you have to question it, it’s best to simply come up with a better idea.

Don’t feel pressured to be involved

Some of us simply aren’t gift-givers, and that’s totally fine. Giving gifts should make you feel just as good as the person receiving them. If it instead makes you feel like you’re being forced into something, then it isn’t worth the trouble. Simply decline the offer politely, and perhaps, send out a holiday e-card instead to show your appreciation for your coworkers.

Don’t forget your common sense

It’s the holiday season, and we all want to have fun and be merry, but we still must be professional. Do you know the scene in Elf where Buddy buys his dad that risqué Mrs. Claus nightgown? I know you know what I’m talking about. Unless you were actually raised in the North Pole, you have the common sense to not buy that gift. Don’t be that guy, don’t be that clueless.

Do decide on how you’ll exchange gifts

We touched on it a bit earlier, but it can be extremely helpful to determine how exactly you’ll be exchanging gifts with your team. Are you going to be doing a secret Santa amongst your department or is it more of a personal thing? Is your team having a holiday party this year instead of gifts? You’ll really want to know the answers to these questions before you go shopping. And if you’re giving gifts remotely, you may want to mail the gift, but make sure the recipient is comfortable with this first.

Do set a reasonable budget and stay within it

Budget is another important question to ask when deciding if your team is doing a gift exchange. Some of you may be familiar with the “Christmas Party” episode of The Office where Michael Scott gives Ryan a $400 iPod when the budget was $20. “Cringe” does not begin to describe the way that episode (among many others in the series) makes me feel. Michael Scott is funny in fiction but painful to watch in reality. Do not be Michael Scott. Set a reasonable limit that everyone is comfortable with and stick to it.

Do give thoughtful gifts

A good gift isn’t necessarily a gift that is expensive or flashy. A good gift is a gift that shows thoughtfulness and that you put time and care into it. Take some time to actually think about your coworker and what they enjoy. Even if you can’t come up with anything, homemade cookies and a nice mug always make a great gift.

Do give it a personal touch

This one ties in with thoughtfulness. Even if you could not think of something more personal than cookies or a gift card, there’s always a way to give your gift a more personal touch. Maybe that means including a handwritten note along with it or wrapping the gift yourself with a nice bow. Effort in gifts will always show, and that’s what makes receiving them so special.

Do have fun

Again, giving and receiving gifts is supposed to make people feel good. It truly is the time to show others how much you care and appreciate all that they’ve done for you even though it may be only in the workplace. If you aren’t having fun, I suggest you return to the top of this list and re-evaluate your options.

This year has been a struggle for so many. Before 2020 is over, consider how you can help spread some cheer to those around you, whether that means giving gifts or something else. Even if we’re all working remotely, the holidays should help bring us together. Our team at BrandResumes wishes you all a happy and healthy holiday season.

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By Emily Provost

Emily is BrandResumes' Content Specialist and is an Associate Resume Writer. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Publishing Studies with double minors in Marketing and Journalism from Hofstra University. She has had editorial experience working as an editor for various publications from Hofstra and worked as a writing tutor for undergraduate students.

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