Holiday gift giving isn’t just about a once a year transaction. Rather, it’s an opportunity to show your team members who you are as a person. This is particularly important in cases where you’re office interaction is limited and when you’re trying to be recognized as management material. How you choose your gift can make you either the butt end of a joke, where all you’re seen as is a joke, or it can work in your favor to showcase your strengths. If strengths are all you really have, the right gift can also humanize you to your colleagues and make them see you as “one of them.” In this way, the holiday gift exchange is more of a political maneuver that just another end of year event.
As a pairing to my other post, “Top Holiday Gift Idea for the Office,” I decided to write a more general piece that offers a host of ideas for all of you stuck with not-so-secret-Santa or some version of a white elephant party. But rather than just shoot out another list, of which there are already so many, I’ve taken a more strategic approach. Each of the two gift ideas below offers a solution or bridges a gap in some way.
Gifts That Subtly Say “Promote Me. I’m Awesome.”
If you’re trying to create talking points with someone in leadership, it would be a great idea to give them a subscription to a magazine like Entrepreneur, Forbes, Inc, or Fast Company. Since this is essentially a “gift to come”, make sure it’s paired with a more tangible present they can enjoy immediately. The genius behind a magazine subscription gift is that it creates monthly opportunities to have ‘water cooler’ talks about key ideas. Of course, this also means you’re going to need to subscribe to the same magazine. It’s an effortless way of creating conversation that highlights you as being on-trend in business.
Forbes’ Jacquelyn Smith offers another great idea in her article titled, “The Best Holiday Gifts For Your Boss,” where she writes: “If he or she has a special hobby like photography or golf, don’t get your boss a coffee table book or golf balls. Go one step further and reserve a tee time or a spot in a photography class, instead. This shows that you’ve paid attention to his or her interests.”
Gifts That Show You Have a Sense of Humor
Gifts that show a sense of humor and a generic one at that which can be applied to a white elephant party setting, are even trickier. Here you’ve got to think of everyone rather than focus on just the preferences of one person. Brit + Co has a great article by Anjelika Temple with a long list of totally affordable gift ideas that are sure to be a talking point at your white elephant party. The idea behind a white elephant party is to give a gift that is going to get “stolen” for the maximum number of times. Psychologically, this is important because you’re trying to directly link yourself to something that’s highly desirable – in this case, a totally great wild card gift. My personal favorite in this list would have to be the Nicholas Cage pillows and the fish bath plug.
When it comes to holiday office gift-giving, what you give speaks volumes about who you are as a person. All of us can recall boring, uninspired, or even inappropriate gifts that certainly left a mark on your relationship with our colleagues. If the gift is flat out cheap or thoughtless, it’s human nature to brand those feelings as representative of the giver’s character. Conversely, if it was a personalized, thoughtful, or creative gift, we equally impress those traits onto our colleagues. You should really be putting just as much thought into your gift idea as you do into anything else that matters for your actual job.
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