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How to Avoid an Office Gift Giving Faux Pas

How to Avoid an Office Gift Giving Faux Pas


December: a month of festive fun, goodwill and appreciation of those around us.. As the holidays soon approach, there will be many things on everyone’s mind; including presents!
However, one thing that might not be so prevalent on everyone’s mind is the potential for any gift giving faux pas! So in order to help with this, we have prepared a brief guide with sacks of advice on giving gifts within the workplace.



If you’re wanting to give gifts to your team to show appreciation, why not suggest a secret Santa system? This promotes inclusivity in the workplace, as everyone who would like to receive a gift will be guaranteed to get one.

The best way to organise a secret Santa would be to firstly make sure you know exactly who would like to take part, don’t assume and force anyone to play along if they don’t want to! When you know who is opted into the gift exchange its time to put names in a hat, pick your co-worker and keep it under wraps. As hard as it is to keep secret Santa an actual secret – keep your lips sealed! Make sure to  set a price limit that is agreed by the whole group. That way no one will feel as if they have under spent or overspent. It’s best to set this price limit between £10 - £15, as this should be a sensible amount of money for all colleagues.


Cultural conscious
When giving gifts in the workplace try to make yourself aware of other cultural traditions. Take some time to understand whose cultures may not celebrate the holiday season in the same way as you do, by doing this you can avoiding any chances of offending or embarrassing another colleague.


When receiving a gift always make sure to show appreciation! You are not obligated to send a present in return but a simple smile and saying thank you will do just fine, offering gratitude for their sincerity. If you want to make that extra effort why not send a handwritten “thank-you” note or an email!

If you’re wanting to show appreciation towards your colleagues but don’t want to break the bank, sending a card is a great way to do so. Leave a personalised Christmas card, showing appreciation for their help throughout the year and wishing them a Merry Christmas! It might not seem like much, but a little goes a long way.


Being Professional
Always remember to be appropriate when giving gifts. Stay away from gag gifts or items that could be seen as too personal, inappropriate or offensive. For example, mugs or cards with inappropriate imagery or language on them.Every office has a different culture, so ensure that you understand what is and is not appropriate for where you work.

If you and a co-worker are good friends inside and out of work, it might be a better idea to exchange gifts outside of the workplace. This way you won’t be at risk of potentially offending anyone around you and it eliminates the chance of other co-workers feeling left out.


Giving gifts around Christmas is all about making others feel special and appreciated. Putting that bit of extra effort into your gift’s presentation could add that extra bit of festive cheer and really make someone’s day.You could even use some environmentally friendly alternatives such as brown wrapping paper, newspaper or wildflowers/pinecones etc...




Being able to give your colleagues a gift around the holidays is a lovely thing to do. It shows appreciation for hard work and heightens everyone’s festive cheer! But remember to be conscientious, professional and equal to everyone to avoid any gift giving faux pas and to give everyone that wonderful festive feeling..