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Holiday Office Gift Giving Etiquette Print E-mail
Do you face any dilemma when it comes to holiday office gift giving? Here are answers to a few commonly asked questions on gift-giving to help you practice good social etiquette.


Do I need to buy gifts for all my co-workers in the office?

You do not have to feel obliged to get a gift for everyone in the office. You could get gifts for people you work closely with and/or to those who have helped you a lot in the past year. Do be discreet and avoid giving gifts publicly.

If you are in the spirit of spreading some cheer and joy to everyone in the office, you could buy chocolates, candies, cookies or festive snacks to share.

Is it appropriate to buy a gift for my boss?
That depends on a few factors. Firstly, find out what your company’s policy is. Some company policy prohibits it. You also need to consider your company’s culture. If other employees are not practicing gift giving, you should not do so. Otherwise, you may be seen as currying favour with your boss. Lastly, avoid getting a gift for your boss who does not celebrate Christmas.

My boss has the habit of buying gifts for staff during Christmas. Do I need to get a gift for him/her in return?

Your boss may give you a gift as a gesture of goodwill and in appreciation of your help. It is okay to give something in return but you are not obliged to reciprocate. However, you should give a thank you note to show your appreciation, at least.

What kind of gifts should I get for co-workers?
Do not go overboard on the gifts. Gifts do not have to be extravagant. They just have to be thoughtful. Spend within your budget and choose personalised gifts for each person, depending on their likes, hobbies and lifestyle. However, you should avoid gifts that are too personal (for example, lingerie, perfume/cologne, etc.), religious or sexual.

Some safe suggestions are:
-    an unusual paperweight
-    diffuser
-    food gifts in nice festive packaging
-    a mug for the co-worker who keeps using disposable cups
-    hand cream for female co-workers
-    a cookbook for someone who loves cooking
-    movie vouchers for the movie buff

Remember, if there is an absence of clear protocol at your workplace, always use your common sense and good judgment when it comes to office gift giving.


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