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Office gift etiquette

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‘Tis the season to be jolly! For some, it’s the season to be stressed, as you finish last-minute shopping or decorating the house. Whatever your feelings, here are a few tips on gift giving in the office.{{more}}

Buying the supervisor/manager a gift. Stay clear of buying a gift individually for the person you report to. This may be seen as “currying favour” by your co-workers and could backfire next year. If your work team “as a team” contributes towards a gift, that’s acceptable, but don’t go out on a limb by yourself.

Secret Santa. If you decide to participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange, there should be a few basic rules. Set a price limit – $10, $15 or $20 – let the group decide. Don’t get expensive, but buy a good gift – this is not the time to seek revenge on someone who may have annoyed you all year by buying a really bad gift. Get something the person can appreciate, and if you don’t know his/her taste, be discreet and try to gather a few hints from co-workers. It’s okay if you decide not to participate in the office Secret Santa; however, this decision may not be popular with some co-workers and, depending on your office politics, the decision could work against you later.

Recycled gifts. Be very careful with recycled gifts. If someone gave you something and you decide to give it to someone else, the gift should be new and unused; remove the name tag and make sure that the gift will not be recognized by the new recipient, original giver or anyone they might know.

Homemade gifts. There is no need to spend lots of money. If you are the creative type, a handmade gift is just as meaningful, if not more meaningful, than a store bought gift.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.”
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