|  December 3, 2012

What are affordable and appropriate gifts to give coworkers?

The holiday season is officially here, and gift-giving isn’t just personal.  Depending on your team and your company, exchanging gifts for the holidays may carry over into your office (yup, we should all get paid extra for this!)  This leaves you to figure out what gifts are appropriate to give at work, and how to keep it affordable.

First, here are a few rules of the road for holiday gift giving at work (and then, we’ll get to some gift ideas):

  • Do not overspend/show off – Even though it may make for a better gift, I don’t recommend over-spending in the office.  It can make the recipient feel uncomfortable (especially if they didn’t spend a similar amount on you!) If you take it too far, it can also cause resentment amongst coworkers who couldn’t spend a lot on gifts.  I’d say the max you should spend on a holiday gift is $50 and the average should be between $20-$30.
  • Keep it religion neutral – Even though you may know your coworker celebrates Christmas, it’s not the time to buy them an overly religious gift.  Since religion is a topic that is usually left out of office conversation, it’s better to steer clear of religious gifts.
  • Make sure it is work appropriate – You may find those coffee table books or quirky beer mugs/shot glasses at Urban Outfitters to be hilarious, but it’s better to err on the more conservative side with office gifts.  Anything borderline inappropriate should be saved for the secret santa exchange with your friends.
  • Keep it somewhat work related – Though you definitely can make a gift a bit personal, if you are on the fence, it’s always better to stick with work-related items.  A few great options are below but there are endless gift possibilities just in the genre of desktop items.  For a really original gift, Etsy will be your new best friend.
  • Pair every gift with a thoughtful note – More important than the gift itself, is the sentiment behind it.  The holidays are a great time to show your coworkers (or boss) how much you appreciate them and all that they’ve done for you this year.  Even if you opt not to buy a gift (or if that’s not the norm in your office), a nice note really goes a long way.

And now… a few gifts I love and wouldn’t hesitate to give:

More Kate Spade…


  • Desktop items including cute calendars, mousepads, paperweights, etc.
  • Tech accessories like quirky usb cords, iphone/ipad cases and more
  • Other items that can be for professional or personal use like travel cases, frames, and journals/calendars

What great gifts have you bought for coworkers in past years? Leave us your ideas in the comments!

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