5 Things to Keep in Mind while giving Gifts to Co-workers


To give, or not to give: that is the biggest question— at least during the holidays when it comes to the workplace. Gifts -giving at work may be tricky after all. You have to strike the right balance between keeping it simultaneously professional and meaningful.

But if you feel so inclined to give a gift to a boss, coworker, or assistant, we suggest that you take the following into consideration to ensure that you do it the right way.

Know the Gift-Rules first:

Many organizations have regulations to give and receive on-the-job gifts. For more details, search your employee handbook or company website. You can also learn from human resources about corporate gift policies.  In order to learn about your office employees’ unwritten rules, you should talk to your colleagues. If you’re new to the company, ask colleagues for suggestions and it’s your first holiday season. Check out some examples of gifts given in previous years so you’ll get a sense of the price range and ideas, particularly if it’s more like a soan-papdi or a mixer grinder (sometimes iron and toaster too :-/) exchange.

Be inclusive and make a list of people to gift:

Nobody likes being left out in the workplace. Invite the entire office to join if there is a common interest in a gift-exchange. Yet bear in mind that not everyone has the same convictions. Don’t force anyone to join. Stress on the fact that involvement is optional, not compulsory. The last thing you want to do is make someone unhappy, this time of year in particular.  Chances are, you’re not with everyone on a first-name basis. So don’t feel compelled to buy a gift for that guy in accounting — unless he’s in your department, of course. But even then, the relationship really depends on it. If you are planning to give gifts, just keep those people with whom you interact on a regular basis. Gift-giving is personal in nature, and you should have some sort of relationship with the gift’s recipient.

Keep a check on the budget:

It can be tempting to be extra generous, but don’t let your pocket hurt too much by it — or the office competition. Especially if you’re considering getting your boss a gift, an excessively extravagant gift can make you look like you’re sucking up. 

Do yourself a favour and set a spending cap before shopping for gifts. It will prevent you from buying excessively extravagant gifts for coworkers, and hopefully, stave off the need for the next few months to eat ramen. Try to maintain a reasonable cap. You can also get them at cheaper rates if you take advantage of the holiday sales.

Avoid Being Too Personal with Gifts:

Don’t let the holidays distract you from the fact that you still need to meet the workplace culture’s general social guidelines. Even if you think your friend Gaurav really wants a nose-hair trimmer in accounting, it’s not the time to give one to the office gift exchange.

A gift that is too personal or private can make somebody uncomfortable. Nothing that will make the other person unhappy should be shared, and if you’re confused, the fact that you’re questioning it means there’s probably a reason for it. You can be neutral and professional.

Include a Gift Receipt too:

While we might think our gift idea is amazing, there are times where someone has already beaten you to the punch and the person has the product already, it doesn’t suit, or they just don’t like your gift. Make sure you include a gift receipt to give the person the option to return or exchange according to their will.


Gifts are a great way to show love and respect for your coworkers. Know your potential coworkers personally. If your boss is always thinking about his favourite sports team, get him/her something relatable. Wrap up some of that treat if they have a favourite snack. It should be something that reflects your gratitude, no matter what you choose.

Always try to attach a small hand-written note too. It will definitely convey your emotions in a better way.

What do you guys generally gift to your coworkers? Do tell us in the comments 🙂


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