Ask B: Holiday Gifts at the Office

Dear B, 

I’ve recently started a new job – my first “corporate job” – at a company with 400 people – and am loving it. It’s challenging, exciting, and I have a great group of colleagues. At my last job, there were only five employees including my boss, and so I would always buy holiday gifts for everyone. Since I now work for a large company, what is office gift giving protocol?

Santa Sloan 
Congratulations on your fabulous new job! It sounds like a dream of an opportunity, and a well deserved one at that. Ah holiday gift giving at the office – it can be a slippery slope indeed! In my MBB opinion, if you work for a tiny company (such as your last position) and have a close relationship with your boss and colleagues, small holiday gifts (while not mandatory) are a lovely idea – you could give them a beautifully wrapped loaf of your famous gingerbread or even a personalized paperweight. Conversely speaking, working for a large company doesn’t require you to give gifts to each employee and your boss. Instead, in some offices, staff will pool together for a modest but gracious gift for the boss, such as a gift certificate to his or her favorite restaurant. In terms of your direct report or supervisor and close group of colleagues or teammates, it’s up to you. If you’d like to give them holiday presents, again, stick with something conservatively priced and thoughtful, such as an initial notebook  or tin of divine peppermint bark. Also, consider exchanging gifts for this select group outside of the office so as to not hurt other’s feelings. Happy holidays! 

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