The age-old maxim "it's the thought that counts" still applies to gift etiquette. But let's be honest -- nobody relishes the thought of a fruitcake, padded socks, or a sleigh themed tie. If you are making the effort to offer someone in the workplace a gift, you may as well spend a few minutes actually putting thought into it.

Where to begin? Examine the lifestyle of the recepient and score something that complements it. Do you have to go nuts and get something exotic? Pricey? Totally unexpected? No. It's not about how much you spend, it's about letting the giftee know that you let personal reflection guide your decision.

As you'll see in the gift guide episode of The Inc. Life, I am a huge fan of putting a fresh twist on classics. And utility. Who doesn't want a great book about business or sports or music? How about a cool set of DVDs?

Another idea? Everybody needs a little pampering. Beauty products for men and women are always a hit. Hit Sephora's website and check out their gift selections. Just stay away from overly fragranced items. Decorative, lightly scented candles are an inexpensive luxury for the home or office.

And you can always appeal to someone's stomach. A wonderfully eclectic food product like Vosges' new cheese and chocolate set will elicit glee from anyone on your list.

If you want to go luxe, check out the array of leather jotters, BlackBerry covers and portfolio holders from Brit brand Smythson.

As for me? I'm craving iPod earphones that actually fit.

Here are some resources for your shopping list: