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Dec

Best and Worst Holiday Office Gifts

Be the hit of the holiday season by choosing these great gifts and avoiding those duds.

The holiday season brings out the best and worst gifts in all corporate offices. To avoid being the talk of the office for that bad gift, get inspiration from these universally enjoyed gift ideas below.

Edible gifts (No, not those kind of edibles)

Everyone loves food, especially indulging in sweet treats during the holiday season.

Good edibles: Wine and fruit subscriptions are always a good idea; and for an extra special touch, splurge for a year-long subscription for top clients or employees that worked especially hard throughout the year. Organizing a catered lunch for the entire office is also a fun and simple way to show appreciation for the whole team.

Some gifts can become a tradition for you and your company. Our company sends out large gift boxes of Godiva chocolate to top partners in December. The gift has become such a holiday staple our clients look forward to them each year.

Worst edibles: Actual THC edibles. Seriously. These gifts may seem fun and edgy, especially with the legalization of marijuana in many states, but they are more likely to send the wrong message, offend the recipient, or put your staff to sleep. Make sure your brownies are just brownies!

Novelty gifts

Novelty gifts add a touch of humor and personality—as long as they remain useful or relevant to the recipient.

Good novelty: One gift we recently discovered are Foot Cardigans. The company, backed by Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban, is a subscription service that delivers a pair of fun and flamboyant socks to subscribers each month. The New York Times declares: “In Silicon Valley, flamboyantly designed socks—like those sold by Foot Cardigan—are worn as a badge of honor demonstrating you’re a member of the startup world that eschews the traditional suit-and-tie uniform.” But we think they’re just plain fun!

Worst novelty: One well-intended gift giver shares an experience of purchasing a novelty gift that was all wrong.

“One of my clients is an executive at a large nonprofit and he admitted to once giving one of his employees Preggie Pops [for morning sickness] because she was having stomach issues,” says Kristie Santana of National Coach Academy. “It turns out the employee was actually not pregnant and was simply experiencing upset stomach from failed attempts at dieting for the last several weeks. The employee was a good sport about it though.”

Experiential gifts

Since we are in the midst of the experience economy and experiential events are all the range, try giving experiential gifts.

Good experiences: You’d be surprised by how much people appreciate you sending a masseuse to their office during the stressful holiday season. Or offer employees an additional paid day off of their choosing. Better yet, give them the whole week off between Christmas and New Years, and pay them for it!

Worst experiences: When gifting experiences, it’s important to make sure the experience is one that the person will truly enjoy. For example, don’t gift your employees a weekend trail ride. Some of them might be afraid of horses or unable to ride. Likewise, don’t gift a client tickets to the latest play or concert unless you know without a doubt that they would enjoy it.

A word of caution

Get to know the people you are buying gifts for first. As keynote speaker and company culture expert Chester Elton advises, “Be thoughtful and make sure you aren’t stepping on any cultural, religious or personal taboos…such as gifting ham to Jewish people or alcohol to Mormons or Muslims.”

With these best and worst gifts in mind, give your employees and clients things they will actually enjoy.

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