I recently read the article “Should You Buy a Holiday Gift for Your Boss” on TheBillfold.com. Before reading this article, I had no idea that buying your boss a Christmas gift was uncommon. My Dad owns a small auto parts store in Rhode Island and has always been very close with the staff. Every year my Dad holds a holiday party and the staff get together to give him a gift card to a favorite restaurant or even some Red Sox memorabilia. (His two favorite things are food and the Red Sox!) Maybe this is why I never questioned whether giving your boss a gift was appropriate, but it seems that employee to employer gift-giving may be more complicated than I thought!
Have You Ever Bought a Holiday Gift for Your Boss?
When trying to decide whether to give a boss a gift, there are many factors to consider. Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to buy your boss a holiday gift.
Do you Like Your Boss? – Is it still appropriate to buy your boss a gift if you really dislike them? I’ve never really had a boss that I didn’t like (I know, lucky me!) so I’m not sure if I would buy a boss I disliked a gift. I think that giving a gift is about showing appreciation so if you don’t like your boss buying a gift might not be necessary (also, you might want to find a new job!).
Do Employees Give Group Gifts? – A group gift is a great option. At my Dad’s store everyone usually puts in about $5-$10 and we end up getting a nice gift for my Dad. This is an easy (and budget conscious) gift-giving idea. It’s rare that you can get a great gift on your own for just $5-$10 but when 20 or more people give $5 you can have $100. That’s more than enough for a gift card to a nice restaurant. Also, there is always a designated gift buyer so you won’t have to worry about doing the shopping!
Do Other Employees Give Gifts? – If employees don’t give group gifts, another question to consider is whether ANY employees give the boss gifts on their own. Will you be the odd one out if you don’t give a gift or worse, will you be considered a suck-up if you do? If it is common practice for employees to give gifts then I would say go ahead and send a small gift. If it is not, whether you give a gift should depend on your connection with your boss.
How Long Have You Been Working There? – Have you been working for your company for years or did you just get the jobs a few weeks ago? If the company is large and you have only been working there for a short time you may not even have met the CEO or “main boss.” In this case, would you give a gift to your manager or the person you report to? The time you have spent working at a company can also effect the connection with your boss or company.
How Much Money to Spend? – It is appropriate to set a budget, especially for Christmas gifts. Going over budget can lead to an after holiday meltdown (at least that’s what happens to me) so setting a budget is key. What you spend is entirely up to you but don’t worry about spending to impress. Your boss should appreciate any gift you give them!
What Should You Give? – I believe that you should never give money as a gift to your boss. Try to make your present a little more personal. A gift card to a favorite restaurant or a nice bottle of wine can seem much more thoughtful than just plain cash.
Can You Give Homemade Gifts? – This is actually a question I don’t have an answer to. Is it odd to give a homemade gift to your boss? I’m big on homemade gifts as I love to cook! I think that there is nothing better than getting a holiday cookie platter (I look forward to receiving one from my aunt every year!) or homemade jam. These are usually gifts that I make for family or close friends. What do you think, would this be too personal to give to a boss?
If you decide that you don’t want to give a gift another nice option is to send your boss one of your family’s Christmas cards. This way, your boss knows that you consider them part of your close friends and they are made to feel appreciated. While it seems small, my Dad always hangs up the employee Christmas cards. It just goes to show even a little goes a long way so buying an elaborate gift isn’t necessary. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, so remember not to do anything that you don’t feel comfortable with.