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Business Etiquette - Guidelines for Giving Your Boss a Gift

Do I have to Give a Birthday or Christmas Gift to My Boss?

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Do I have to Give a Birthday or Christmas Gift to My Boss?

No. Business etiquette “rules” do not require you to give a gift to your boss for any occasion. In fact, giving an inappropriate gift to your boss could make your boss feel uncomfortable, alienate co-workers, or even appear as if you are trying to “buy” your way into your boss’ good graces.

However, if you want to give your boss a gift, the following guidelines apply:

  • Consider a Group Gift First: For birthdays and holidays, consider giving a group gift if you have co-workers and allow them the chance to participate. Trying to “show up” or “out gift” other workers makes you look bad and manipulative.

  • Be Discreet: If you do give a gift by yourself, deliver it privately without making a show in front of other employees or management.

  • Aim to Please – Not Impress: Keep the gift simple and sincere, and relatively inexpensive, and stay away from giving personal items.

  • Never Give Cash as a Personal Gift: A gift card is appropriate, but cash is not. Unless you are giving out bonuses from your company to your employees never give cash as gifts.

  • Do Not Give “Promises:” Never give favors, offers to take your boss privately to lunch or dinner, or “IOUs” as gifts. If you have nothing tangible to give, but want to make a nice gesture, give your boss a greeting card with a nice note(even better, have your co-workers sign the card, too).

  • Give Honestly: Always give a gift without expecting anything in return – this includes a gift, promotion, or raise!

Business Gifts Etiquette Tips: Never “brag” to others in the workplace about a gift that you gave to your boss, and if your boss does not seem to appreciate the gift, or does not give you something in return never bad mouth your boss to co-workers.

If you give anyone a gift (including your boss) with the expectation of receiving something in return, it was given for the wrong reason.

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