Work appropriate holiday giving….
It’s that time of the year for company holiday parties, office decorations, and the acclaimed gift exchange. Let the celebrations begin! To avoid potentially awkward situations, you may want to take time to think over gift giving: who do I give to and what do I give? You want to make a memorable and lasting impression without being the laughing stock of the lunchroom for the next year. Here are some simple suggestions to give work suitable gifts during the holiday season.
First, it’s always a good idea to check with your human resources department (if one is available) to brush up on the company gift-giving policy. Next, who will you give a gift to? This is a personal decision. Whether it is your boss, supervisor, colleagues, employees or support staff, consider how to politely present your gift so that it shows your appreciation, without playing favorites, kissing up or displaying superiority. Take heed when giving to a boss, since you don’t want to appear to be gaining favoritism. You’re best bet is to wait until you see others give, then the coast is clear.
Keep to a simple budget. Don’t spend an excessive amount of money for it may appear you are pretentious or trying to outdo someone. Keep it valuable yet practical and unless it’s a gift exchange party, it is best to give away from the crowd in a reserved setting. Your gift should be modest yet useful, and should reflect their personality and interests!
Things to avoid when gift giving:
Food, including alcohol. Eating and drinking certainly brings people together, but each person makes their own personal choice about intake. Many are on diets, have various food allergies or choose not to eat certain items for religious or cultural reasons. Unless you know for sure that the recipient drinks a specific type of alcohol, it’s a safe bet to steer clear of this idea all together.
Clothes, intimate apparel, or jazzy jewelry. It’s not just your Auntie Fannie who thinks a fashion statement means giving a knitted sweater with an oversized Rudolph stitching, or that Christmas tree light-up neck tie, or reindeer bell necklace and matching earrings. Not everyone enjoys wearing the latest holiday gear. Resist temptations to purchase clothing and jewelry …. don’t guess on sizes, trends, types, or colors for others at work.
Anything scented or musical This includes strong perfumes, scented lotions and candles, holiday stuffed animals that sing, or sensor activated items like buttons, statues, decorations, etc. While a bouncing kitty meowing to “Jingle Bells” may seem fun and cute the first five minutes, it will quickly become annoying and disruptive to others listening ALL DAY long. Out of respect for others, keep away from the smelly stuff and musical props.
The key to gifting is to remain respectable. Avoid offensive gag gifts or tricks. Although the idea may seem humorous, your comic gestures could backfire with consequences to follow. The recipient of your gift should not feel disrespected in any way, shape or form. Instead, stick to some of these work-friendly suggestions: gift cards, books, desk items, picture frames, calendars, something for their pet or kids, CDs/ DVDs, or office supplies like a nice pen or organizer.
Aleesa Janssen is the Hospitality Staffing Specialist for Workforce Solutions in the Houston/Galveston region. She is a trained chef and has over eleven years of experience in the hospitality industry.