Now that Christmas is quickly approaching, people already have or are starting to shop for gifts for their friends and families. When it comes to purchasing gifts for your loved ones, the task may be pretty straightforward, but what about giving gifts in the workplace? Is it even appropriate to give presents to fellow co-workers?

The answer all depends on the culture in your workplace. Some businesses allow the exchange of gifts among fellow workers, while some do not. If your business doesn’t allow the act of giving gifts or strongly oppose it, then don’t break policy. However, if your workplace does allow gift-giving, then here are some tips that you should consider before shopping for your co-workers.

It’s Optional

Exchanging gifts should never be a mandatory event in the workplace. By all means, invite anyone and everyone in the office to participate, but no one should feel obligated to purchase a gift for someone. If someone doesn’t want to take part, then you should respect his/her decision. You should never bash another employee because of their unwillingness to participate. Some co-workers may be on a tighter budget than you, and some may not want the extra burden of finding a thoughtful gift. Regardless of the reason, gift-exchanges should be completely voluntary with no repercussions if a co-worker doesn’t participate.

Pool Together

Looking to get a gift for your manager, employer, or boss? Pool everyone’s spending power! Combining everyone’s money will allow you to purchase a thoughtful item that may be more expensive than usual. These types of gifts are usually given to a higher-up employee that many perceive to be a mentor or coach. However, the receiver should never know who and how much each person donated. This goes back to tip #1, where donating money should be completely optional without any repercussions to those who don’t participate. Also, the donation should be minimal so no one feels uncomfortable for not donating as much money to the fund.

Cheap Office Gifts - Food

Don’t Get Too Personal

Now that you’ve established that you want to get a gift for a co-worker, avoid any item that’s too personal. That means no jewelry, roses, perfumes, colognes, or other intimate products. Employees frown upon these gifts because it puts the person receiving the gift in a very awkward position. Even purchasing items as an inside-joke would not be appropriate in the workplace. You could offend someone in the office with your gift, which will damage your relationship with that person. Therefore, make sure your present is appropriate and not so personal that it makes everyone in the office feel uncomfortable.

Have a Budget

An excellent way to make sure you don’t purchase anything too personal, is if there’s a set budget for gifts. There should be a group or workplace rule in which all participants have a low monetary limit, so no one purchases an expensive gift. That’s because an extravagant present from a co-worker can make others and the receiver feel uncomfortable, especially if a limit was set. The luxury gift may seem like a bribe or a cocky statement about your finances, so you should avoid it. Also, you can expect more people to participate in gift-exchanges with a low budget limit.

Always Say Thanks

If you received a gift, whatever it may be, you must give a sincere response to the giver. Verbally thanking the person or leaving a handwritten note will usually do the trick. Either way, you should take the time to thank the person who gave you the gift. Since gift exchanges should be voluntary, the person who bought you the present put some thought and effort into purchasing it. They spent time and money on getting you a gift in the spirit of the holiday, so a simple thank you can show your appreciation to them.

Gift-giving should never be a daunting task to anyone, yet employees are still nervous about it in the workplace. Don’t be. By learning more about your workplace culture, you’ll understand if the holiday is celebrated in your office. If you are allowed to give gifts or thinking about starting a gift-exchange, these tips will help you ensure that there won’t be any awkward or uncomfortable moments for any participant.

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