Tis the season! With the holidays upon us, it’s the time of year when office parties and gift giving abound. It can be stressful trying to decide how to approach gift giving with your co-workers, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are six simple tips to ensure the celebrations stay merry.
1. If you decide to give gifts, know you’re doing it voluntarily.
Your decision to give gifts to your fellow co-workers is 100% a voluntary decision. Most people do like to celebrate the holidays, but you may come across someone who doesn’t want to participate in gift exchanges. It could be for a number of reasons. Maybe their budget is tight and they can’t afford it. So, don’t get upset if everyone you give a gift to doesn’t give you one back. Instead, embrace the idea of giving without expecting anything in return.
2. If you plan to give one co-worker a gift, you may have to give them all a gift.
The simple rule to remember here is that no one likes to be left out. If you give a gift to one co-worker and not another, that person may feel excluded. And you don’t want that to happen. Inclusion is the name of the game. Also, if one of your best friends works with you and you’ve bought that person a more elaborate gift than everyone else, wait until after work hours to give the gift so you can keep all workplace gifts fair.
3. Use kind words.
Sometimes it means more to a person to hear kind words than receive a gift. Consider giving a holiday card to each of your co-workers with a message about why you enjoy working with them or that you hope they have a great holiday season and you wish them a great new year. Remember to keep it professional and sincere.
4. Avoid giving cash and keep gift spending to a minimum.
Sure, sometimes it’s nice when your family gives you money for the holidays, because it allows you to purchase what you really want. But, when it comes to work, choose to give a gift instead. It’s more thoughtful and shows heart.
5. Suggest a department-wide secret Santa gift exchange.
Why not suggest drawing names and buying a gift for that co-worker? If your department leader will allow, everyone could gather together for lunch or snacks at the end of the day and exchange gifts. This will ensure that everyone gets a gift (at least those who want to participate), and you don’t overspend on the celebration.
Many departments also play dirty Santa, a game where participants bring a wrapped gift and then on each person’s turn they can either choose an unopened gift or steal an opened gift from a co-worker. If your gift gets stolen, you can steal from someone else or pick a new, unopened gift. Just remember with any gift exchange, you are still in a professional environment. Avoid gag gifts or anything inappropriate.
6. Approach a gift for the boss with caution.
The holidays are not an avenue for you to earn brownie points with management. If you’re considering buying a gift for your boss, it’s best to ask your co-workers if they would like to contribute. Make it a gift from your department rather than just you. While you may have a gift idea in mind and want to volunteer to get it, just remember the importance of including all of your co-workers.
The holidays should be a fun time full of cheer. Remember, if you’re ever in doubt about your company’s gift-exchange policy, always consult your manager first. Happy gifting!