Win Christmas: Top tips for your office holiday gift exchange

Welcome to December.

You’ve made it to the end of the year. It’s a time to relax! Just kidding, you probably have projects and budgets to close out. You are not sure what to do with your kids while school is out. There is a Christmas list of stuff to buy that rivals, Santa Claus. Oh, and there is also work to get done before the office party. This might include buying holiday gifts for your team.

Now, if you have been reading the news in the last five years, you know that the holiday season has become fraught with potential pitfalls. From sexual harassment allegations to people giving pets at the secret Santa gift exchange, you have to watch out and get it right.

There are a number of important things to think about during the holiday season. We know it is important to dress appropriately and not drink too much at the holiday party. Gift giving can be a lot more fraught though. I am someone who likes to give gifts and I wanted to share some of my top tips for getting it right in the office.

Keep it affordable

If you get something too cheap (unless there is a max limit on office gifts) or too expensive you can wind up looking odd and out of touch. It could also backfire and make the recipient feel like they owe you something or that you did not care enough to get something half decent. In my view, you should never, ever go over £50 max. In some locations, there is a legal limit for gifts and entertainment so be sure to pay attention.

Everyone should get something

Don’t leave people out. This is one of the reasons why like a gift exchange. Everyone gets something good. I also think it’s ok to give your boss something a bit bigger – maybe a bottle of wine – and then give cards to your team members. Another easy way to do this is to bring in boxes of holiday cookies for people to take home. Who doesn’t like to have treats around this time of year?

Simple is always better

You are trying to make people in the office feel appreciated and positive. There are loads of simple ideas out there including chocolate, a gift card, puzzles, family board games or a coffee table book. Also, keep in mind whether the recipients drink alcohol or if they have a kid who is allergic to nuts. They might not be very religious and may not celebrate Christmas at all. Be sure to make note of this as it will show you care and you are paying attention.

If you get it wrong, don’t worry. Most of the time people are grateful that you thought of them in the first place. If they are not very classy, you might hear a complaint or two but don’t let it get to you. If you are a recipient, be gracious and appreciative.
In the worst case scenario, you can always “re-gift” an item you dislike to someone who will love it.

Happy holidays and see you in 2019!

About the author

Joy Adams is a blogger and one of WATCs 2015 Rising Stars. She is a British-American businesswoman who has worked in both the public and private sectors in the US and UK. Joy currently serves on the Advisory Board for Vital Voices Europe, an organization dedicated to supporting and developing women leaders. She also writes a lifestyle blog for budding philanthropists and art collectors at

The Workher blog is all about taking your work life to the next level with practical tips and details on the latest news about pay, progression, and opportunities.





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