An Office Holiday Gift Idea
Finding the Right Gifts for Co-Workers

"I was looking for an office holiday gift idea and loved yours for giving a group gift rather than individual coworker gifts. The espresso machine I bought was extremely popular!" - Estelle in AZ

     Do you have to buy a gift for the co-workers you don't like?

     Are you supposed to get something for your boss?

     What if everyone else wants to do an office gift exchange, but you hate the gifts they give every year?

     What if you would like to get everyone something, but don't have much to spend?

With each year, I hear the same questions. If you need the secrets to finding great gifts for coworkers, these office holiday gift ideas and guidelines will help you decide what to give at work this year.

The Gift of Appreciation

Want to learn how to make your co-workers feel sincerely valued all year round, not just when you are obligated to at the holidays?   The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace is the book that can help you understand how to express your appreciation in ways that will make people feel encouraged and valued. Based on his teaching about understanding "love languages" and how they affect your family relationships, this book has been developed to apply the same principles to professional relationships, helping you to become a better leader, co-worker, and employee.  

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People

What is an appropriate gift for your boss?

Flower Bouquet - Photo thanks to silver marquis/

Group Office Gift Ideas:

Instead of exchanging individual gifts, wrap a small box with a slot cut in the top and take up a collection for a group office gift. You can either decide on a gift for the whole office, or a gift to be given by the whole office to a local or global charitable organization.  Post a picture on the outside of the box to represent the item chosen.

  • A gift for the whole group like a toaster oven for the break room 
  • live plants for the workspace
  • cappuccinos and pastries brought in one morning 
  • catered office holiday lunch
  • crates of Clementine oranges (which are usually on sale during the winter holidays)
  • or a donation to charity in the name of the whole team

Photo thanks to J D Hancock/

If you are giving individual office holiday gift ideas, give something small.

  • homemade jams
  • small plant for their desk
  • ticket to a professional seminar
  • a subscription to a magazine
  • a small lunch cooler with sports drinks inside
  • a gift certificate to a bookstore or Amazon 
  • a travel comfort kit (horseshoe shaped neck pillow, eye and ear plugs, etc.)
  • something for his/her desk like an organizer, lamp, fun mouse pad, mini vacuum, personalized stamp, or a set of strong magnets

10 Gifts Under 10.00

20 Gifts Under 20.00

Buying in bulk can save money on gifts and take care of everyone on your list at once. Order a sampler set of teas or coffee beans, and split it up, giving everyone in the office a different variety. Pair the coffee beans with a new mug, or the teas with an infuser or mug to complete the gift.

If you want to give a special gift to a person you are closer to, do it privately.

Don't risk hurting other co-workers feelings. Give a gift to this friend at lunch one day or invite them to your home for a party. Keep the gift small unless you have a friendship that extends outside the workplace.

If you are hosting or going to an office gift exchange, be clear on expectations!

Once you are clear on the expected gifts, decide whether you will go for something funny, outrageous or popular. Gift exchanges at work can be really fun if you think ahead to what your coworkers will fight over.

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Just a simple card with a handwritten message can show your recognition and gratitude.

Be sincere and write something like `It's been a pleasure working with you. I look forward to next year.' or 'You have helped me through many challenging projects in the last few months. I'm glad to be on the same team.'  Make it personal by mentioning a specific incident or personal characteristic of theirs that you especially value.

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