Holiday giving is very tricky. No matter how you choose to celebrate you should be sensitive and courteous. For many the holidays are a difficult time of year, personal, family or financial problems are magnified. In addition, people celebrate in many ways. There is Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, just to name a few. The last place you want to upset someone is at work, so consider the following:Going desk-to-desk to collect money is not acceptable, neither is sending out a mass email specifying the people who still haven’t anteed up. Holiday drives and donations are great, but if they single people out who can’t afford to participate they are not in the holiday spirit.
1) Celebrate Thanksgiving-Find out if there are any non-profit organizations that deliver meals to needy families. Make a list of the items they require and post in the break-room. People can sign up without feeling pressured.
2) Host a gift drawing, but again make sure it’s not mandatory. Be considerate about the gift you submit. Sweets, alcohol, etc. are off limits in a day and age of strict diets and struggles with addiction. A fun tumbler or commuter mug is always welcome and say a little more about your gift giving efforts. By giving something unique and thoughtful you are also standing out at work in a positive way.
3) Direct supervisors should always try to do something for their employees. Don’t over buy. An extravagant gift can be irritating to someone who would rather have the money to buy groceries. Likewise, if there is a significant salary gap between you and your staff don’t be cheap, they will notice. Treat all staff fairly. A $5 coffee house gift card, a gift set with whimsical office supplies (think Jonathan Adler highlighters, sticky notes, etc), or even a business card holder (Business Card holders are very inexpensive) are useful and well-received by almost anyone.
4) If you feel compelled to buy for a boss the same rules apply. Extravagant gifts can make people uncomfortable. A lovely notebook or journal is useful and thoughtful. Don’t push your own ideals on others. You would love to get your boss into yoga so she stops complaining about her neck pain, but your gift of a yoga mat will not likely be a turning point in her life. So give in and buy her the new commuter mug you know she will use.
The short version:
Be sensitive to other’s beliefs.
Be sensitive to other’s financial situation
Be practical (executive Zen gardens are out)
Buy reasonably priced gifts
Image above: 1. Dylans Acrylic Tumbler $12; 2. Jonathan Adler Highlighters $10; 3. Sarah Pinto Notebook $10; 4. Kate Spade Sticky Notes $25; 5. Embossed Metal Card Case $6; 6. Lilly Pulitzer Thermal Mug $15