NEW YORK – You may be a perfect Santa when it comes to giving gifts to friends and relatives, but remember that the rules change when it comes to giving to co-workers and bosses.
So before you start passing out presents, make sure you're following your office's gift culture.
If you've been at an office for less than a year, ask around about your company's guidelines and expectations for gift giving. So warns Jodi R. R. Smith, president and founder of Mannersmith, a Boston-based etiquette consulting firm. She says that some companies have specific policies prohibiting employees from giving their boss a gift because it can be seen as currying favor.
If you are allowed to give gifts, give those that are professional, simple and elegant. Try picture frames, business stationery or fountain pens. You might also make a donation in the recipient's name to a charity you think he or she might support.
If you aren't sure which holiday your recipients celebrate, give carefully. If possible, pick a neutral time to donate.
Instead of wishing people a happy holiday, tell them you have enjoyed working with them this year. Don't choose gift wrap that is overtly religious or tailored to a particular holiday.
Give your gifts discreetly. You don't want to create tension in the office by presenting packages in front of others. If you're giving to the boss, make an appointment to speak with him or her, and present the gift then. If you're exchanging gifts with only one or two close co-workers, pick a time outside of work to make the exchange.