Work-Place Gift Guide

Aaaand it’s suddenly upon us. I’m pretty sure I just blinked, and here we are again, on the precipice of another Christmas holiday. And guess what? I’m still not any more organized than I was last year…. shocker.

I HAVE bought most of my kid’s gifts, but when it comes to gift-giving and extended family or co-workers, I never seem to be able to get ahead of the game. This year with my new job, we’ve drawn names at random for our Secret Santa! On the plus side, that means only one person I’m buying a gift for, but the down side is that sometimes we know our coworkers less than we’d like to admit to. Perhaps the same could be said about some extended family even?

So what do we get them? While it would be easy to just say “gift them money” it’s also nice to know that there was a little thought into the present. That being said, that doesn’t always have to equate to an expensive gift either.

“THOUGHTFUL GIFT ≠ EXPENSIVE GIFT.”

So while our Secret Santa exchange DOES have the benefit of an accompanying “about me” page for gift ideas, it got me thinking about what possible gifts others could give without spending an arm and a leg (we’re already doing that for our kids!!).

So we’ll start the list of ideas here:

#1 FOOD GIFTS

I love food gifts so much it bears repeating – FOOD GIFTS. Here’s why I like them: the money is never wasted on a food item. Especially when you’re buying some of their favorite snack foods or gifting them with dinner at a beloved restaurant. Does your coworker always go to the same place for lunch? Get them a gift card or ask the restaurant if they have prepaid gift certificates for lunch (if they’re not a chain restaurant).

I mean seriously. When was there ever a food item gifted that wasn’t eaten?! Except for fruitcake. Don’t like that (I hope you’re taking notes).

#2 HOBBY FARMING

Find out what they enjoy. Maybe you’ve heard them mention a time or two about how they played golf on several occasions (new golf ) – or they’ve talked multiple times about a new book they read (personalized bookmarks and gift cards to Barnes & Noble); perhaps they’re a traveler (personalized luggage tags). Talk to your co-worker and find out what they are interested in. Find a gift that speaks to them.

#3 OFFICE SPACE

I don’t know about anyone else reading this but one thing I DON’T need more of is pens, or hand sanitizer. But I love dressing up my little cubicle with things that make me happy – things that make it feel more like home. Face it, we spend more time in our workplace than we do almost anywhere else, so why not make it an inviting space. Wax warmers, picture frames, motivational …. anything (calendars, posters, etc), really anything that would make the space feel warm and welcoming.

#4 PRACTICAL ITEMS

So you might feel that this doesn’t necessarily warrant it’s own category but hear me out first. Typically when I buy gifts I like to find things that are cute, fun, a little whimsy, etc. But we forget about truly practical items like a mini space heater for a cold office workplace. Maybe they need a new wireless mouse, new cell phone charger, portable vacuum (also great for their car) – I don’t know what you might deem as practical, but I think it’s worth considering. Sometimes just having a “functioning” work space is better than having one that’s well-decorated!

#5 PERSONAL USE ITEMS

Lotion is always a yes in my book – clean scents usually work best for most people I know. Generally people have an aversion to one scent or another (I don’t care for flowery smells, others might not like the muskier scents). Unscented is always an option here too. In addition to lotions or hand creams, lip balms are a popular gift item as well. Outside of those two I think mini-manicure sets are fantastic – especially for that one nail that keeps snagging on everything under the sun. I also like a combination of tide wipes and wet ones (I am the messiest person sometimes – see accident-prone). I think even these gifts can be personalized to the taste or needs of coworkers, if you know them well enough.

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