Most offices have a Secret Santa drawing that they do every year around the holidays. If you are not an enthusiastic shopper, then finding a gift for a coworker can be stressful. Fortunately, there are a lot of great gifts out there for coworkers that won’t cost a lot and will make them feel like you really gave it some thought.
Figuring Out the Right Gift
A good way to figure out what you can buy for your coworker is to observe what you see them doing for enjoyment. Some people enjoy reading while others are more interested in a particular sports team or celebrities. You can purchase something for a coworker that shows you know a little bit about what they like.
Many people openly share their hobbies and interests with others. This always makes it easier when you are attempting to buy a good gift for them. If you know that they are in need of a particular item at home or that they have a passion such as writing, travel or comic books then it makes it easier to find them something they will like.
What to Give
Gift cards are sometimes thought of as being impersonal. If you plan to give this, it is suggested that you include it with other items such as a small gift basket, chocolate or candies.
Small knickknacks and decorations like snow globes or small figurines are very popular around the holidays. Snow globes are nice because they can contain a variety of designs. Figurines such as those from the Nutcracker are also appreciated. If you know that your coworker enjoys a particular piece of music then think about getting them a music box.
You may find that your coworker is a collector. Anything that someone collects always makes for a thoughtful gift. Whether or not you are able to buy a collectors piece for someone will probably depend on the price. Collectibles show that you know the person, but be careful. A coworker may have very specific items that they collect and this may not be obvious to you. For example, they may collect only Thomas Kinkade figurines but you won’t know that unless you look closely or ask questions. Try taking a look at what they have in their office or cubicle and look for items that are similar.
Be Careful Buying Food or Clothes
You may want to avoid giving food as a gift unless you are sure the person is interested in that particular food. You do not want to give anyone a gift that will make them have an allergic reaction or one that they do not particularly like. This is a waste of money for you and shows the coworker you know little about them. Fruit cake should only be given as a ‘gag gift’.
Buying clothes for a coworker should also be done with caution. Avoid buying clothes unless you know your coworkers style really well. But a good set of gloves or a nice scarf is generally a safe bet.
Pay Attention to the Rules & Suggestions
If you are participating in a secret Santa program or something similar, you will probably have a list to go by that the coworker has provided. Typically these programs also have a cap on how much money should be spent. This helps to avoid favoritism and jealousy in the workplace.
Any gifts for coworkers you purchase should be appropriate and inoffensive. If you do not know a lot about the person you intend to buy for, try to stay with the basics. Buy items that you believe anyone will enjoy.
(Quietly) Ask for Help
Giving a gift should not be difficult but it is good to spend a little time thinking about what you will give before you purchase. You may be able to ask other people you work with for suggestions on what the person you are buying for would like. Very often, people get to know each other while they are working together and are able to recommend something that a person would like very much.
Be careful not to be too loud or obvious when asking for suggestions. You don’t want your coworker to know you are having trouble. Most people will appreciate your extra effort, but you don’t want them to think that you don’t pay attention to them or that you have not been appreciating their stories and conversation over the years.