Workplace Gift Giving: What Not to Buy

Many of us work in a place where we will buy gifts for our co-workers during the holidays. While you should never feel obligated to purchase gifts for your workplace during this time of year, if you are going to buy gifts it is important that you buy things that are appropriate for the workplace.

Last year we put together a list of appropriate and cost-effective co-worker gifts which are timeless options for your co-workers, but this year we want to remind you of what types of gifts you should NOT buy. Buying gifts can be a like walking a tightrope of what is acceptable and what is not depending on your workplace and your co-workers.

Below is a list of what NOT to buy your co-workers this holiday season.

Workplace Gift Giving: What Not to Buy

Gifts That a Too Personal gift giving

i.e. Perfume, jewelry, clothing, etc – a good rule of thumb is that anything that is meant to put on someone’s body should be left out of your gift options.

The only exception to this might be a pair of fun socks or winter gloves if they are to the person’s taste.

There are too many opportunities for a personal gift to not be received well so it is best to keep your gift more general in order to avoid any potential awkwardness.

Inappropriate/Joke Gifts

It can be tempting to give someone a gift that you think is hilarious or a bit off-colour but it is best to avoid these types of gifts in the workplace! Your gift can easily be misunderstood and can cause tension between you and the gift receiver or can make you look bad/unprofessional if the gifts are being opened around others in your workplace and they see what gift you gave.

Expensive Gifts

Keep the cost of your co-worker gifts low. Spending too much money on a gift can make the recipient feel awkward, make them self-conscious that they didn’t spend that much on you, create pressure for them to match your spend, and/or make it seem like you are trying to show off.

Gifts They Won’t Use

Try to keep your gifts simple and only dive into something more personal if you are SURE that the recipient will like it. Do not risk giving wine to a non-drinker or cookies to a diabetic, instead try to do some research on your co-worker and make sure they can use the gift that you give them.

Be sure to avoid these 4 types of gifts in order to give an acceptable co-worker gift this holiday season. And if you’re having trouble coming up with a good gift to give your co-workers check out our guide here for some great ideas!