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The Do's and Don'ts of Office Gift-Giving

The season of gift-giving is upon us, bringing the sometimes-awkward ritual of the office gift exchange. How can you manage a successful office celebration and gifts with minimal stress and bad feelings? The OPEN Forum offers these tips

  • GiftModel good manners.
  • Keep it simple, low-cost and public.
  • In work groups, keep it private.
  • Don’t give a private gift to the boss. (But if you are the boss, receive graciously and quietly.)
  • Receive gracefully, no matter what.
  • Never give gifts that might be perceived as intimate.

And if you are at a loss for ideas, try the following for a "good gift":

  • The gift of giving back. Collect items for a local charity, adopt a family in need, or spend time volunteering.
  • The gift of thoughtfulness. Staffers especially like it when the boss thinks hard about what they might like.
  • The gift of utility. Try these gifts that are not expensive, not specific to a religion and not overly personal: plants, work-related books, subscriptions, cooking items, candy, fruit, restaurant certificates, or online gift certificates.

And for a dose of humor, check out this article from Slate detailing some of America's worst office parties, bonuses, and gifts (a sack of potatoes, anyone?)