The Boss & The Holiday Gift — Yes or No?
By: Beth Slagle, Esquire
Actually, it’s the question that came up when I spent a day playing with one of my close friends who is an administrative assistant for a female attorney. The choice for her was simple — yes, she would buy a gift, but she labored over what to give and how much to spend. Is it too personal, am I spending too much or not enough?
There doesn’t seem to be a right answer since it’s largely dependent on the office environment, how long you’ve worked there, how well you know your boss and office gift giving guidelines (if they exist — larger companies often have these types of guidelines).
If you’ve made the decision to give a gift, here’s a couple of simple rules to follow:
- Don’t buy a cheap gift, just for the sake of giving the boss something. For example, “post-it” notes, scissors or a coffee mug that says #1 Boss don’t scream “happy holidays”, but maybe that’s just me.
- Don’t out-spend everyone else in the office. To your peers, it just makes you look like you’re sucking up. To your boss, (trust me) — it makes them feel Awkward (with a capital A), that is, unless they’re a greedy SOB and want lots of gifts. If that’s the case, then it’s ok to buy them post-it notes or #1 Boss mug. They deserve it.
- If you work with a team, then — ta da — excellent idea — buy a group gift. A gift basket or gift certificate to a local restaurant is a great idea.
- Stay away from personal items such as clothes, perfume or jewelry, unless you’re best buds (Note to readers from me, the lawyer — being best buds with your boss is not a good idea from an employment standpoint. Awkward around review time, raise time and disciplinary time. Save yourself the headache — avoid it, and just be friendly, but not best friends).
- Gifts don’t have to be expensive to be meaningful. Pick a reasonably priced, not-too personal item and go with it. Items such as calendars, gift certificates, stationary, photo frames, gift baskets, chocolates — all safe, good ideas.
Just don’t labor over the gift giving decision. Holidays are for fun, family and friends, not worrying about whether you’ve bought the perfect present for your boss. Go with your instinct and be done with it. And . . . Have a happy holiday!
What are your thoughts about gifting the boss?