To gift or not to give?
That’s the decision many of us have to ponder on when it comes to buying presents at Christmas. Do we need to buy our bosses presents? We all have heard of stories of innocent gifts gone wrong or seen that lone colleague giving a gift to the boss with other colleagues looking on in amusement.
If you are the boss reading this, spare your employees the agony of stressing out and encourage them to donate to charity or pooling together funds for a Christmas potluck party. But if your company has a culture of gift exchange that involves the boss, here are some advice to heed on what not to buy for your bosses:
Do books make great gifts? Yes and no. You may think that giving your bosses books with titles such as “Anxiety management for new managers” or “Leadership woes and how to solve them” seems to help them become better at their job, but the contrary may be true. A study suggests that reading self help books may not make you feel better and it could leave one feeling worse. The research, conducted by a team of psychologists at the University of Montreal, found that people who read self-help books show more depressive symptoms and higher sensitivity to stress than those who do not read such literature. In fact, the worst case scenario could be that your boss may even put you next on the list for a severance package or torture you till you submit your resignation letter. Self-help books implies that one needs improvement in one area or another and while they may appear to be innocent gifts, it is wiser to steer clear of them for the sake of antagonizing your bosses in ways you never know.
Whether it is lingerie for women or boxers for men, they should never be on your Christmas list for your bosses! Honestly, when was the last time you bought innerwear for your significant other and got the sizes right? Even if you think you may know their body measurements, buying lingerie or underwear is simply weird and inappropriate for your boss, regardless of the occasion. Do not attempt to buy lingerie or boxers for your bosses no matter how cute or fancy the design is lest you may risk being labelled a pervert and lose your job.
Perfume are popular gifts during the Christmas season, but picking the right one can be tricky. What smells good on you may be repulsive to someone else. Choosing the right fragrance means you have to know the receiver well enough to pick a scent that suits their tastes and personality. If the perfume is not to the receiver’s liking, the perfume may end up being used as the air freshener in the washroom. Meanwhile, gifting deodorants to your bosses may send off a misleading interpretation of personal hygiene altogether, so it is best to stay away from gifting fragrances altogether.
Everyone of us has probably re-gifted a present at some point in our lives, whether it was for a birthday or a Christmas gift exchange. If you look around your house, there are probably a few items that you have gotten in the past that are sitting un-used and unopened in their original packaging. Some of these could be perfectly good gifts that prove to be useful gifts for others. While that sounds like a legit reason to re-gift, most of us are just eager to get rid of the lingering gifts, with little thought given to the preferences of the receiver. One of the worst scenario when you receive a re-gift is to realise that the gift bears a personalized name that is not yours. That is why you may offend others and end up being thought of as being insincere when you do a re-gift. And your boss is probably the last person you would want to re-gift considering the stakes involved.
Are gift cards considered good presents? Some would argue that they are good presents as they allow the recipient to buy exactly what they want. If your boss loves coffee, getting him a Starbucks gift card may be a good choice. Gift cards are certainly safe options for your boss, but you may come across as a boring person who does not put much thought into the gift. Also, one rule in giving gifts is not to reveal the value of the gift, so gift cards emblazoned with the monetary value may not be deemed as acceptable social etiquette. Similar gifts such as store vouchers are also a no-no as some stores do not accept them for online transactions creating a hassle for using these vouchers. These vouchers may also become useless as they may not be accepted for purchase for all types of products within the store and certainly worthless if the company winds down suddenly. Surely your boss deserves to get something other than gift cards for Christmas?
Even if your boss is a fitness buff or an experienced muay thai fighter, signing them up for gym memberships could have negative connotations. Either they will appreciate it or feel insulted by the gift. After all, people are sensitive about their bodies. Not many people focus on being healthy as a priority during the merry season. Between the eggnog and the Christmas turkey, diets are being blown left and right. Therefore, gifting someone with a gym membership could be seen as a slap in the face. You wouldn’t want to offend your boss by hinting that he is not in perfect shape especially during this time of the year.