That’s a Wrap

Holiday gift-giving at work can be an etiquette minefield,” says Mamaroneck’s Melissa Leonard, an etiquette-and-protocol consultant for 20 years. While the gift-giving culture can vary from one office to another, she adds, gifts are usually a nicety, not a necessity. Not sure what or whom to buy for? Leonard offers these eight expert tips:

1. If new to the company, ask someone with more tenure if gifts are discouraged or welcomed. 

2. Accompany any gifts with handwritten notes thanking the recipient(s) for their help.  

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3. Just say no to gag gifts and potentially offensive gifts, like those with any sexual, political, or religious connotations.

4. Give Amazon, Visa, or specialty gift cards, to ensure your gift is something the recipient really wants.

5. Check out shops like HomeGoods for discounted but nicely presented gourmet teas, mugs, stationery, and gourmet chocolate items — the last can be served to guests if not to the intended recipient’s taste.

6. Consider a donation to the recipient’s favorite charity in their honor, for a thoughtful and meaningful gift.

7. Stash some small items — like $10 Starbucks gift cards — in your desk, to reciprocate any surprise gifts you receive.

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8. Do sufficiently admire — and write a prompt handwritten thank-you note — for anything you receive. And definitely do not re-gift it to someone else in the office!


What to Spend?

The Boss: Usually not necessary, says Leonard, but never more than $40 to $60
Executive Assistant: $75 to $200
Support Staff: $50 gift cards 
Colleagues: $10 to $20 (or bake something) 
Secret Santa: Within the spending limit, usually $30 max

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