If you haven't bought Holiday gifts for people at work yet, good, because there is distinct etiquette involved in how this works. Of course, if the people in your office think of Weird Al as their etiquette guru, you might want to ignore this and buy custom bobbleheads for all, but otherwise, think about these things.

Presents go down and not up.

Your boss gets you a present. You do not get a present for your boss. It's okay to do a small group present where all the direct reports chip in. But this should be a token-something like a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine (assuming your boss a. eats chocolate or b. drinks wine). It should not be something expensive, and if not everyone contributes, it still comes from the whole staff.

You do not play favorites with presents.

You're not required to buy presents for your direct reports. If the company does year end bonuses, that's great. If you do buy presents for your direct reports, they need to be the generally the same for everyone. You don't get your favorite a Coach Bag and your least favorite a $10 Gift Certificate to McDonalds.

You can think outside the box.

It doesn't have to be an actual present. One of the best gifts ever? An extra day off in December. This can be pretty easy if your staff is exempt, but a bit more complicated if your staff is non-exempt. Make sure you get permission before offering this, but your employees will love you.

A departmental lunch can be a great gift.

But keep dietary things in mind. Lots of people have unique diets these days-whether it be for health, religion, or trendiness. If your department is too "diverse" on the diet front, you may want to skip the catered meal.

Here's what you should actually buy.

I asked actual humans to divulge what gifts they've received from bosses in the past. These are the ones they loved. Note, there's a lot of variation-that's because people are different.

Probably alcohol if that's allowed. Or a gift voucher, or something to eat. Hamper type thing. Nothing that is a keepsake, I wouldn't like that from a boss.

I strongly prefer consumable gifts because I'm always fighting clutter.

My boss gave us all an amazon gift card for 100 in a hand written Christmas card last year. I liked that very much!

Something from one of those expensive but beautiful food catalogs like Harry & David.

My boss used to give us chocolate or nice biscuits (cookies). One year she gave us a pot of bulbs that would flower over Christmas/New Year, which was nice.

We've gotten charging pack (charges electronics like phone when out and about) which was a hit and duffel bags which was a fail, everyone had too many.

Expensive European chocolate.

Fun event with the team or with families - basketball game, theater tickets, something like that.

Last year our director gave everyone in the office personalized note cards with the company logo and our name on them. I love mine!

My company gives out $25 Publix gift cards at Thanksgiving and Christmas in lieu of the turkey and ham - makes me happy.

My employer, a large corporation, gives turkeys & hams as well. We always donate ours to the food bank. The food bank sends a truck on that day for the purpose, because many/most of the employees donate.

One employer had a yearly thing where Christmas bonuses were given in the morning, the first Friday in December, then there was a fancy lunch out, then all staff had the afternoon off to Christmas shop. A lot of people liked that a lot.

I once got a Christmas tree ornament, which I actually liked - it was pretty - but obviously I wouldn't recommend it unless it's a small company and you are positive your employees celebrate Christmas. (It didn't have any religious imagery, but still.)

We have a company party. This year it's during work hours. Up through this year, employees get $10 for each month of service. Quite a few have maxed out at $2,000.

We got a gift card to a local grocery store as a Thanksgiving Thank you. I thought that was sweet because the store has a gas station attached to it and you can use the gift card for gas too.

One year around 2002 we got Omaha steaks from our boss, which seemed weird at the time but was actually totally awesome. Probably now that's both too extravagant and not politically correct or something. Those were the good old days though. Certainly more original than the Starbucks cards we got in recent years, practical as they were.

I've thought about this for a day and there's nothing better than a crisp Hundred. I've received this. It's the best surprise

Published on: Dec 10, 2015
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