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Spending Guidelines for Giving Your Boss a Gift

Business Etiquette - How Much Should I Spend on a Gift for My Boss?


How Much Should I Spend on a Gift for My Boss?

If you are on a tight budget, but either want to, or feel you must give a gift to your boss, here are two things to consider:

  • How Well Do You Know Your Boss? Can you name at least two or three things you boss enjoys doing in their spare time outside the office? If not, your relationship is more on the professional side and it is not likely that your boss will notice or care much if you do not give him/her a gift.
  • Can You Really Afford It? Is your desire to give a gift based on the fear you cannot afford to not give your boss a gift? If your job security really is dependent upon giving your boss a gift, it is time to find a new boss. If it really is about the money think "downloads." A $10 iTunes card or Amazon card will get you ten "tunes" or ten books on Kindel.

Not Giving A Gift is Better Than Giving a Cheap Gift

There are not many too meaningful gifts that you can buy these days for $5.00 and a cheap gift will usually appear just that - cheap, insincere, or like a "token" gift.

Cheap gifts send the message that you are only offering a gift because you felt that you had to, or were too lazy to put any thought into the gift.

If you really do not have cash to spend, that's okay -- write a note card wishing your boss a happy birthday or happy holiday and jot a quick note about how much you appreciate them.

Gifts Should Convey the Right Message, Not a Price Tag

Giving extravagant gifts to get something in return, or outshine co-workers is never a good idea. Extravagant gifts do not make you look good and usually make the recipient feel uncomfortable.

Expensive gifts at work almost always seem out of proportion to any occasion, especially when compared to simple, less expensive gifts other workers are giving. The message you send is not how generous you are, but that you are a gift show off.

Before selecting a gift, ask yourself what message does the gift -- and the reason for giving the gift -- convey about you? The right gift should show that you cared enough to give an appropriate and thoughtful gift out of appreciation and respect.

Guidelines for gift giving in the workplace are simple: There are no "mandatory" holiday gift giving rules -- everything is discretionary based. Even the unwritten guidelines for exactly how little and how much you can safely spend on your boss depend upon your salary and position with the company:

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