Should I get my boss a gift? Do I have to participate in my company gift exchange?

We’re continuing our Holiday Office Guide. If your office is hosting a gift exchange or you’re answering questions about holiday gift etiquette, here’s your guide to keeping things appropriate:

holiday office gift exchange

Should I get my boss a gift?

Generally speaking in the office gifts should come from upper management and not the other way around so you are absolutely not obligated to get your boss a gift. Of course, if you and your boss have a great relationship and you want to show your appreciation, it’s not inappropriate to give something small and meaningful like a card or homemade treats.

Do I have to participate in my company gift exchange?

Gift exchanges are generally optional, although highly encouraged. If you’re opting out because of budget constraints, consider creative ways to participate like baking homemade treats or offering to take over kitchen duty for someone else (this is a real thing in our office, and trust me, that gift would be a hit).

Can I spend more than the spending limit for the gift exchange?

Buying a gift that’s over the spending limit is frowned upon. There are limits for a reason and giving an overly expensive gift can make others uncomfortable. Stick to the limit.

Is giving alcohol or gag gifts inappropriate?

This totally depends on the office. Because some offices crack open beers on Fridays, giving a six-pack wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary. But if your office doesn’t usually engage in activities that involve alcohol consumption, you might not want to go that route. Same with gag gifts – it depends on your culture and your work environment. But, no matter where you work, make sure your gifts cannot be seen as obscene or derogatory.

How does your office handle gift exchanges? Leave us a note in the comments!

About Katie Williamson

Katie Williamson is a Senior Marketing Associate at PerkSpot, providing creative insights and challenging the way we think about the workplace.

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