Workplace Gift Giving Dos and Don’ts


Workers can expect holiday cheer this year in the form of bonuses and gifts according to CareerBuilder’s Annual Holiday Survey conducted by Harris Interactive.

Forty-five percent of employers are planning on giving their employees holiday bonuses, with 40 percent planning to provide the same size or larger bonus than last year, according to the survey of thousands of hiring managers, human resource professionals, and workers.

In addition, 35 percent of employers plan on giving their employees holiday gifts this year, while 22 percent of workers plan on exchanging gifts with co-workers this holiday season, and 21 percent are buying a gift for their boss.

According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation, more than half of consumers hope to receive gift cards or gifts of books, CDs, or DVDs this holiday season. Other gift favourites, in order of popularity, are: clothing and accessories, consumer electronics, jewelry, home décor, personal care or beauty items, and sporting goods or leisure items.

While many of these items may be good gifts for friends and family, the CareerBuilder survey found the majority (78 percent) of workers who plan to buy gifts for their co-workers expect to spend $25 or less on each gift, including a frugal 10 percent who plan to spend $5 or less.

You may be feeling a bit frantic if you are seeking a last-minute gift for a co-worker, employee, or boss, but according to Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director of Prosper, “last-minute shoppers are savvy bargain hunters who know just how to get everything they need to finish their gift lists.”

While most gift exchanges between co-workers contain relatively standard holiday gifts, some gifts stand out as particularly extraordinary. When asked to share the most unusual gifts received from co-workers, workers in the CareerBuilder survey reported receiving:

  • 50 pounds of fresh Louisiana shrimp
  • A toothpaste squeezer
  • A hand-painted porcelain clown with silk clothes on it
  • A unicorn calendar
  • A painted concrete chicken
  • A plaster cast of a co-worker’s hand
  • Camouflage toilet paper
  • Homemade laundry detergent
  • Stamps
  • A talking fly swatter

While I would actually appreciate receiving some of these items, a number of employees apparently need advice on appropriate gifts for co-workers. Office Team offers these do’s and don’t for workplace gift giving:

DON’T: Feel it’s necessary to exchange presents

DO: Let colleagues know you enjoy working with them and have valued their help throughout the year

DON’T: Break the bank when shopping for coworkers

DO: Offer homemade treats or other meaningful presents to show you care

DON’T: Give overly personal gifts, such as jewelry, to those you don’t know well

DO: Select items that are practical, especially those that can save individuals time

DON’T: Pick a controversial or inappropriate present (e.g., religious-themed gift)

DO: Ask around to determine what is appropriate based on the office setting and recipient

DON’T: Overlook the details when preparing presents for others

DO: Keep in mind that a nice package and thoughtful note can make more of an impression

DON’T: Scramble to reciprocate if given an unexpected gift

DO: Express your appreciation by writing a heartfelt thank-you note

Calgary Author’s Book is a Gift

Robert (BawB) Chomany has a holiday gift arriving from a printer this month. It is Volume III of his inspirational book series, BawB’s Raven Feathers (

With hundreds of thousands of books published every year, many self-published authors struggle to find readers. But BawB has been successful in getting the hardcover editions of his books (also available in e-book and soft-cover) into stores in two provinces and even Waikiki, Hawaii.

BawB, whose books alternate brief chapters of prose with adult rhymes, said “you are just as likely to find me twisting a wrench, or riding my motorcycle, as you are to find me holding a pen, writing.”

“I write while I’m smiling,” he added, “and I hope to share that smile with whoever reads my words.”

“I would hope anyone working for or with me would read this material,” said Beth Kallman Werner, President of Author Connections. “It can serve to lighten each reader’s spirits and maybe change their perspective for the better, which of course is good for emotional health, attitude, and in turn, productivity.”

Anyone looking for a creative Christmas gift can find Bawb’s books in any New Age store around Calgary as well as in Drumheller and Invermere, B.C.

Tag Goulet is co-founder of, a publisher of books on how to get started in a dream career, and Academic Director of the International Association of Professions Career College. To contact Tag visit