Every December, people have questions about office policies and exchanging gifts. Should you give a gift to your boss? Should there be a spending limit? Is it even a good idea to exchange gifts with colleagues?
Should you succumb to the additional stress that office gift exchanges add to your life?

Tips for the Office Exchange

Step One
Read your company’s policy: Does it allow gift exchanges among colleagues? If yes, then make a list of whom you wish to include. Remember, gift-giving is a personal gesture. Do not feel obligated to give to everyone who you interact with on a casual basis. Do, however, consider getting gifts for people within your department, particularly if you interact daily with them – unless you have voted as a group to adopt a no-gifts policy. Also, consider giving to colleagues who have become outside-of-work friends. If your company’s policy allows gifts for the boss, make sure it is not on the excessive side. You don’t want to be thought of as vying for favor. For all gifts, keep them aligned with your corporate culture.

Step two
Set a budget. Keeping to a preset limit is not unreasonable because spending more than you can afford might elicit some resentment when you’re having trouble catching up on bills. Just use your common sense and put some thought into it.

Some great ideas include:
1. Donate to a non-controversial charity in honor of a coworker
2. Office gadgets – useful items, not clutter
3. Edible gifts

Please avoid:
1. Personal items
2. Alcohol
3. Gag gifts or re-gifted items

Step three
Wrap the gifts attractively and present the gift at the appropriate moment. Remember, a gift is to show appreciation. You don’t want someone else to feel excluded or slighted for not receiving one.

Step four
It is polite to send a thank you note for any gifts you have received. Proper manners are a way to be thoughtful and show you care.
Whatever your choice is — whether to give or not — remember this is a season of differing beliefs. Please try to be sensitive to everyone.

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