6 Holiday Gift Guidelines For Your Co-Workers And Bosses

Woman giving colleague a gift
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I got this from an AOL reader:

Dear J.T.,

Last year, I was shocked when my new co-workers and boss exchanged holiday gifts the day before Christmas. We didn't do that at my former employer. I was really embarrassed! Everyone gave me something and I looked like a fool. This year, I want to make sure I get them each something. But, it's totally overwhelming. How do I do this fairly and still make a good impression?

If you are thinking about giving your co-workers and boss gifts this holiday season, here are some simple tips to ensure the presents are a huge success:

1) Spend the same amount on everyone. People are price-conscious these days. They know what you spent. Even though "it's the thought that counts," if you give Bill a $5 box of chocolates and Mary a $20 bottle of wine, feelings will be hurt.

2) $20 or below is the way to go. Gifts shouldn't be pricey. They can make people feel uncomfortable. They can even feel like bribes if they are seen as too expensive. Not everyone can afford to distribute office gifts. Besides, most folks want to spend the money on loved-ones over office mates, so keeping the price low is ideal.

3) Everyone or no one. If you are going to give out gifts, give them to everyone in your immediate department. Nobody likes to feel left out.

4) Don't spend more on the boss than the co-workers. You'll look like a brown-nose if you go over-the-top on a gift for your manager. Use the same rules as above. Better still, give your boss the same gift everyone else is getting for consistency.

5) Consider a "chip in" gift for the boss from the whole team. Pass an envelope with everyone's name on it and let people contribute what they want towards your manager's gift. Then, you can spearhead the gift buying with the money collected. It lets everyone be a part of the manager's gift and nobody outdoes anyone else on the team.

6) Avoid joke or controversial gifts. As they say, "Everyone thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor." Skip the funny presents - the joke may fall flat. And then, you'll be the talk of the office for all the wrong reasons. It's the season of good will and kindness - the gift should reflect that.

Following the above guidelines should make shopping for office gifts easier. Just remember, don't stress! It's the thought that counts. Choosing to give gifts to your co-workers and boss says a lot about you. As long as you use the tips above, your gifts will be much appreciated!

What other tips can readers share? Any suggestions on great gifts for the entire office?

And if you enjoyed this post, then perhaps you'd like another I wrote here on AOL:

How to Get a Raise in 60 Days