Office Holiday Gifting Made Practically Painless

Now that you know how to pick the perfect gift for that “tough to shop for” family member, you should have no problem navigating workplace gift giving etiquette. You probably spend as much time with your coworkers as with your family–perhaps even more!–so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to avoid office holiday gifting entirely. Not to worry, for we’ve covered almost every scenario you might encounter at work this holiday season.

What To Give For Your Office’s Secret Santa Exchange

Love it or loathe it, the Secret Santa gift exchange is one office tradition that’s as ubiquitous as jazzy remixed Christmas carols. No matter your budget or the size of your office, follow a few of our key tips to make picking out a great Secret Santa gift for your coworker easy and fun.

Be mindful of the budget. To minimize awkwardness and financial discomfort among coworkers, many offices set a price cap for their Secret Santa tradition.  If your office hasn’t set an explicit budget range for Secret Santa exchanges, modern etiquette expert Maggie Oldham recommends a budget of $25. Anything more expensive could be perceived as extravagant, and anything obviously less may hurt someone’s feelings.

Do some sleuthing about your recipient. Whether you work in a big cubicle maze or a cozy open office, make an effort to connect with someone who knows your recipient well and ask some pointed questions. This small gesture will make your gift giving significantly easier! Do they secretly root for your city’s rival football team, or have a well-known affinity for chocolate-covered almonds? Even a few tidbits about your recipient’s likes and dislikes can inform the gifts you give.

Keep it office appropriate. It goes without saying that certain gifts aren’t appropriate for a professional setting. Anything worn on or close to the body like jewelry, apparel, cosmetics or fragrances is generally thought to be too intimate for gifts between colleagues and, unless you know your recipient’s tastes well, it’s also wise to avoid gifts of alcohol or especially fragrant candles. You can almost always safely skirt the “Is this okay to give?” issue with a small neutral gift of food, stationery, or something for their desk or office.

Our top holiday picks for Secret Santa exchanges:

Merry Mint Medley–This trio of gourmet holiday mint chocolates will delight absolutely anyone, at only $37.

Big Idea Sketchbook–Big ideas call for big pages. This oversized notebook with beautiful cream-colored blank pages lays completely flat when open, perfect for full-page writing and sketching. At $16, this will be a big hit!

Mugs Of Cheer Gift Builder–A mug and a treat is a classic holiday combination, perfect for the office.  Put your own spin — and price point — on this timeless combination with our Mugs of Cheer Gift Builder.  Choose from mugs starting at $6 and treats starting at $4, and make it as extravagant as you’d like.


Holiday Gift Ideas For The Boss

Thinking of giving a gift to your boss? Plan carefully. US News cautions that certain professional expectations may mean a Christmas gift for your boss isn’t necessary:

“Long-established rules of etiquette say that gifts in a workplace should flow downward, not upward – meaning that your boss can give you a gift but you and your co-workers shouldn’t give presents to your managers. This rule exists because of the power dynamics and pay discrepancies in the boss/employee relationship. The idea is otherwise an employee might feel pressured to purchase gifts for a manager, and it’s unseemly for managers to benefit from power dynamics that way.”

However, if you work for a small company or are sending year-end gifts to professional clients or business partners, it may feel more awkward to exclude the boss, in which case–gift on!

The boss WILL notice your gift. In our 2019 Business Gift Satisfaction Survey, we found that “the higher up in a company the recipient was, the more likely they were to report being satisfied with gifts from business partners.” In fact, 95% of “C-suite” recipients report being satisfied with their gifts.

Get the group involved. If the boss in question is not your business partner but, in fact, a direct higher-up, you may feel more comfortable giving a gift if it comes from a group. Check with your team to decide on an appropriate budget, and pool your resources to send something thoughtful and respectful.

Don’t splurge, but don’t skimp. Going overboard on a gift looks desperate–and everyone can tell when a gift is cheap or picked out at the last minute. A little planning goes a long way toward choosing an appropriate boss’s gift.

Our Top Holiday Gifts for Your Boss:

Wake Me Up Before I Go Go— Have your coworkers pitch in on this gift that will appeal to your boss’s caffeine-loving sensibilities, and you’ll ALL look good.

Beautiful in Brass — This cheese board is nothing short of stunning. Wow your boss with a thoughtful gift he or she can enjoy with friends and family.

Shaken, Not Stirred — For the bosses that work plenty of overtime hours, this gift will provide a night of relaxation and indulgence with a powerful Mad Men vibe.

Holiday Gifts For Clients & Partners 

In general, business gifting at the holidays is considered a very good idea: it can nurture relationships, reinforce your brand, and ultimately improve your bottom line.  Holiday gifts for clients and business partners are a Knack specialty–you can learn all about our business gift strategies, browse our best corporate gift ideas, figure out exactly how much to spend, or get free, personalized help from a gift concierge on our website.

Holiday Gifts for Individuals

Strive for unique and useful gifts. 83% of business gift recipients prefer items that are unique and useful.  Home entertaining items such as cheeseboards and knives, or elegant home bar items tend to have real staying power, reminding recipients of your generosity for years to come.

Avoid the temptation to put your logo on the gift items themselves. Branded sticky notes and computer mousepads? They don’t fly with discerning recipients, and can really ding your brand’s reputation. Instead, give something special from your city or their city, or find an item that aligns with their company values.  Put your logo outside the box and on your gift card, instead, and your gift will be much more memorable.

Whatever you do, leave a note. One particular stat from our business gift survey made us all sad: Of corporate gift recipients surveyed in the Midwest, a whopping 65% report that their gifts didn’t come with a personal note! A gift message, whether typed or handwritten, makes your recipient feel special and shows that you took the time to think of them.

Here are some of this season’s top sellers for business clients:

Black Tie This is the perfect client gift at the perfect price, just $50.  But the “gratitude” candle (poured by refugee women from Burma) artisan chocolate trio of 80% Dark Chocolate, Arabica Cherry Espresso Dark Chocolate, and Boharat Middle Eastern Spice Dark Chocolate, say it all.

Three Little Figs Paying tribute to the original fable, we’ve created a gift where each “little fig” has its own appetizer, and luckily, there’s no wolf huffing and puffing. This wonderful gift set is a welcome treat for anyone who loves succulent, sweet figs.

Sugar & Spice This tasty sampling of holiday favorites includes handmade shortbread squares from Heritage Shortbread (and their secret family recipe), smoky almonds, chocolate covered berries, two holiday-inspired chocolate bars from Theo Chocolate and Poppy’s twist on caramel corn featuring popcorn mixed with a white chocolate drizzle, crushed molasses cookies and sliced almonds.

Great Food Gift For Office Teams

Don’t discount the gourmet food gift. While the office might be inundated with boxes of snacks and treats at the holidays, it doesn’t mean people are tired of receiving food. In our corporate gifting satisfaction survey, we found that at least 60% of recipients prefer a well-curated gift basket of gourmet food.  But don’t be fooled by “towers” and “baskets” that have more packaging than actual consumables — check the weights before purchasing gourmet gifts to make sure that what you’ve selected will feed the crowd.

Salami Sampler Gift Set  Whether you’re bringing food for a party or thanking the office, this savory spread is sure to please. They’ll enjoy four selections of salami including OLLI Salumeria’s Calabrese Salame and Toscano Fennel Salami, Salt Blade’s Seattle Stick pork salami infused with dark chocolate and coffee, and a savory vegan fig Salami from Hellenic Farms. We’ve also included three artisan crackers, classic mustard, sundried tomato dip and Virginia peanuts dusted with herbs and spices. A great go-to foodie gift that everyone can enjoy. Selection feeds up to 20 people.

Sweets Galore  Send a shareable assortment of sweets to the office, to the teacher’s lounge or to a holiday family gathering. The gift includes handmade shortbread cookies, three flavors of artisan popcorn, toffee pretzels, dark chocolate caramels, assorted chocolate truffles, two chocolate bars and s’mores chocolate bites. Selection feeds up to 30 people.

Epic Cheese Course   This magnificent gift makes hosting a party a breeze. We’ve thought of everything they might need making this a perfect gift for new homeowners or the happy couple, or just to give to the gourmands in your life. The gift includes a beautiful marble cheese board, two dishes for tasty tidbits, metal cheese knives, cheese markers and an assortment of eight delectable foods. The appetizer selection has something for everyone – artisan crackers, black olive tapenade, truffle almonds, dried orange crisps, fig preserves, smoked olives, virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegar.

If you feel overwhelmed by gifting, you’re not alone. We’re here to help. Our 2018 Holiday Power Shopper can make it easy to solve all of your office gifting needs, from assistants to work spouses, without breaking a sweat.