Can I Give Handmade Gifts to My Boss?
The appropriateness of giving handmade gifts depends on what it is you are making and how closely you work with your boss on a daily basis. Scented candles are nice and may show off your talents and outside interests, but not everyone appreciates scented items. Art is also a matter of personal taste. If you give a painting, pottery, or any display item, keep it small.
No matter how talented you are, your gift should not make your boss feel obligated to display, use, or consume anything you make.
The two most important considerations when giving handmade gifts to your boss are:
1. Give in Accordance With Your Boss' Interests - Not Yours:
Has you boss ever shown any interest in the items that you make? Making corn husk dolls requires skill, but is a specialized interest item that will not have mass appeal.
Your family and friends may appreciate a handmade gift because of their personal relationship with you, do not count on the same automatic appreciation from your boss. Handmade gifts should either appeal to the personal tastes or interests of your boss, or have some practical use.
When giving handmade gifts to a business professional the gift should still have value and convey appreciation - not "handmade with love."
2. Show Respect for Your Boss' Lifestyle and Beliefs
Will the gift you make compliment your boss' lifestyle outside the office? Baking bread or cookies for a person with Celiac disease (gluten intolerance), diabetes, or who does not normally consume such food items is not a gift that will be well-received and may even end up in the trash.
Giving a handmade Christmas stocking to someone who is Jewish, Muslim, or does not celebrate Christmas is disrespectful and may even be considered offensive.
Business Gifts Etiquette Tips
Before giving any gift, but especially when giving a handmade item, consider how personal your relationship is with your boss. If you see your boss from time to time a handmade knitted sweater is too much. But if you have a close working relationship with your boss, a knitted scarf might be fine.
Remember, your number one goal when giving your boss a holiday gift should be the same as any gift you give to loved ones - will it make him/her feel good, or uncomfortable?