The Hill Life: Gifts for the Boss
Dec 12, 2012
Depending on your work situation, you may want to buy your Boss or immediate supervisor a holiday present. But this act of yule tide generosity is littered with pitfalls: What to buy?, How much to spend?, etc. Here are some tips on purchasing a gift for your Boss without stepping on a landmine.
Be Inclusive. Especially if you work in a small office, you should make an effort to include everyone in the gift giving. If all of your co-workers pitch in $5-$10, you can buy a much nicer gift and you can avoid creating animosity among your colleagues, who may see a solo gift as an attempt to earn brownie points with the Boss. So before you buy your own gift, think about buying a group gift.
Put Some Effort Into It. Anyone can buy their Boss a picture frame or a paperweight, but it doesn’t take a lot of effort to buy your Boss something he or she will actually like and use. If you spend any reasonable amount of time with this person, you should know enough about him or her to select a decent gift. And if you don’t, his personal assistant or another employee likely will. So what makes a good gift for a boss?
If your Boss travels frequently, he might like a club membership to the airline’s passenger lounge (assuming he doesn’t already have one). This way he can relax before his flight, have a calm place to go on a layover and access a private customer service rep. in case of emergency.
Tech Accessories. I know that a lot of Bosses are addicted to their tablet devices, so accessories for those devices could make good gifts. If your Boss has never warmed up to the keyboard on his iPad, this handy case has a built in keyboard, so he can type with two fingers on real keys. Neiman Marcus also has a lot of nice cases for iPad. I like this calf hair and leather one and this customizable one that comes in a selection of colors. And if you’re looking for inexpensive gifts, try a cord wrapper or a 5-in1 adapter so he or she can read USB drives and camera cards on his iPad.
Caffeine-Addiction Gifts. If your Boss can’t live without a cup-of-Joe (or Johan, if you buy into the Gevalia commercials), consider buying them a Keurig ($99) or Tassimo ($140) brewer for their office. Why drink office swill when you can have a single cup of coffee that actually tastes good? If you’re looking for something less-expensive, a french press coffee pot or a milk frother (for those who like lattes) could be a nice gift. You could also buy them gift cards to Starbucks or a local shop near their home or office.
If you’re dealing with a tea drinker, Teavana or Teaism would be a good place to start. I own this Bodum pot and I really like it. If you’d like a smaller infuser, you can pick up a traditional scissor infuser or this adorable lemon-shaped infuser. Or if your Boss is one of those healthy people who actually likes Kombucha, you could try a Kombucha brewing kit.
Food Gifts. If your Boss is a foodie, try a gift basket from a local specialty food shop or a gift certificate to a local restaurant. His assistant probably knows where he likes to eat.
DVDs. We used to give my former Boss boxed sets of DVDs. The reason was that he would often be stuck at the office for long hours–and sometimes over the weekend–waiting for votes. That combined with long flights home gave him some time to fill. So boxed sets from shows like 24 or the West Wing, or movie sets like the James Bond 50th Anniversary edition.
Other gifts that I’ve heard of people giving include: cufflinks with the logo of the Capitol or the Cabinet dept. where you work (perhaps your company has something similar?), golf lessons, bottles of quality wine or liquor, etc.
Non-Gifts. Let’s say your Boss doesn’t want a present or you don’t feel it’s appropriate to give him one, a heartfelt thank you note expressing your gratitude for their support, leadership, mentoring, etc. is always a nice gesture. Just choose a nice holiday card and leave it on their desk.
Another “non-gift” that I’ve heard of is having your Boss’s office deep cleaned. You can either hire a cleaning service or just ask your cleaning people to spend a little extra time on the space. Sometimes just having a spotlessly clean office can really help a person’s productivity and attitude.
Anyone else have suggestions for gifts for the Boss?