Office Gifting at Christmas

Meet Stacy!


Stacy is a Southern-raised, 40-something, never (yet) married gal with equal parts outdoors-loving, hill-country preferring, stars-gazing “daisy” girl and success-driven business owner. Stacy received a BBA from Baylor University, and a MBA in International Finance from University of Exeter on a full Rotary Scholarship. She resides in Texas with her german shepherd rescue, Angel, and runs her own corporate finance and M&A advisory firm. Stacy is new to the 4word team, and she'll be guest posting for us throughout the rest of the holiday season.

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Navigating Christmas gifting at the office can be tricky. It’s one of those things that may be on your “to do” list and can often run across your mind in between working on year-end deadlines and squeezing in Christmas parties, decorating, mailing cards and all the other holiday rush.

If you’re like me, you may even have thought at the end of last Christmas, "Okay next year, I’m going to plan in advance and do it really right." But often, it can come down to a last minute scramble… for some of you, this blog may have even served as a reminder! But here we are… and what to do?

Well, if you worked in the same place last year, it can be helpful as you’ll have a better idea of the office gifting “m.o.” I’ve worked in a number of places and seen a lot of different practices – from personalized thoughtful gifts to simple cards, to little items like an ornament and even a full blown white elephant exchange party, which can get pretty crazy. But knowing what most of your peers have done in the past can help you figure out what is most appropriate for your particular office.

If you weren’t at the same office last year or are just looking for ideas, I have a few suggestions and things to keep in mind for your gifting this year. You might also want to take a peek through last Friday's post, which included links to several fabulous gift ideas.:

  1. Christmas is a wonderful chance to let someone know you appreciate them. Use this opportunity to do just that by including a note with something on it as simple as “I appreciate your smile in the mornings" or “I’ve really enjoyed working with you this past year."

     Whether this is the main gift itself as a nice card or just attached to your gift as a small signature and note card, it’s the expressed gratitude that will have lasting meaning to that person.  Everyone wants to know they are valued.

  2. If you have a hard time drawing the line on gifting across a large number of peers that you see and work with on a frequent basis -- best practice is to give everyone the same kind of item, keeping it simple and small as a thoughtful gesture to all. Ideas can include an ornament, coffee mug with candy, Starbucks card for a cup of coffee or something for their office like a paperweight or small photo frame.
  3. Don’t feel obligated to give your boss something that really stands out as super expensive or over the top. That can be awkward for your peers as well as your boss, and likely, your boss will appreciate the thought all the more if it is genuine and not clearly set apart from others.
  4. Keep it professional and be appropriate in gifting but enjoy the process too. If you would enjoy spending time with your niece or daughter baking cookies for the office, this is the time to do it. One year a very professional and well-respected woman at my office did this and gave everyone a handful of assorted cookies on an ornamental Christmas dessert plate.

     When she shared with us how much fun she and her daughter enjoyed preparing these for us, we all thought, “Wow, not only is this a great little gift, but she used it to get quality time in with her daughter during the holidays!"  Now that’s multi-tasking professionalism that only a woman can do!