Should you give your boss a holiday gift?
As the most wonderful time of the year draws ever closer, it is a season of giving, but should you give your boss a holiday gift? There are a few different schools of thought on the matter. Just over a quarter of employees give their boss a gift during the holidays according to a survey conducted by Spherion. But should you be one of them?
Risk looking like a suck-up
The biggest danger that you face when giving your boss a holiday gift is how you appear to your colleagues. Though it may seem like a harmless spreading of holiday cheer, it may cause your fellow workers to look on you as something of a suck-up or teacher’s pet. This can lead to some unpleasant situations in the workplace if you aren’t careful.
An office pool for the boss
One way to avoid being seen as a suck-up or teacher’s pet but still get into the good graces of your boss is to organize an office pool for a gift. Get everyone in the office to put in a few dollars and then buy something that can be given as a gift from everyone – you get to give the boss a gift, but get to avoid any unpleasantness.
Another thing to watch out for when you buy your boss a gift is inadvertently insulting them. You may think buying them a gag gift is funny, but your boss might not share your sense of humor. Flowers and chocolate may seem like a harmless enough gift until you discover that your boss is on a diet and has hay fever. If you do decide to get your boss a holiday, then make sure you do some research first without being too obvious about it.
On the flipside of this, if you get your boss something too meaningful, then they may get the wrong impression about your relationship – nothing makes a workplace environment more uncomfortable than rumors that you have a thing for the boss.
Another way of avoiding being seen as a suck-up or teacher’s pet is to organize a Secret Santa exchange. Have everyone who wants to take part put their names in a hat or on a service (such as Elfster) and set a gift limit. Then everyone is included in the present giving and only those who don’t want to get involved miss out.
A gift in return?
If you do give the boss a gift, make sure you are not doing it because you expect a gift in return. Though it may be awkward if your colleagues don’t appreciate you giving the boss a gift, seeing you get one in return when no one else in the office does can make your work life miserable.
The work environment is often politically difficult to navigate, but if you can be as diplomatic as possible when it comes to Christmas gifts in the office, then giving the boss a holiday gift won’t make it any more problematic than it has to be.