Appropriate Gifts for Bosses

Do’s and Don’t of Giving Gifts to your Boss

Giving a gift to your boss can be tricky business and can result in undesirable consequences if some simple guidelines are not followed.  Here are some tips to select the most appropriate gift for your boss.

  • Consider a group gift  –  Going in on a gift with your colleagues can be a great
    Gift box

    picture by Nemo @ Pixabay

    way to avoid any appearance of impropriety or ulterior motives.

  • Be discreet  –  If giving a gift on your own, do so discreetly.  Don’t advertise it to the entire office or brag about how much you spent.
  • Keep it simple and sincere  –  Check your motives.  Your gift should be given out of a sincere desire to show your boss appreciation.
  • Keep it within your budget  –  Extravagant gifts will be connoted as an attempt to curry favor and will make your boss and your coworkers uncomfortable.
  • Gift in the proper chain of command  –  Don’t skip your immediate supervisor and give a gift to your boss’s boss.
  • Beware of alcoholic gifts  –  Certainly, you should only consider such gifts if you know that your boss will appreciate such a gift, but you should also confirm that there are no corporate rules banning such gifts in the workplace.
  • Avoid extremely personal gifts  –  Gifts such as flowers, jewelry, perfume or intimate apparel should certainly be avoided.  The general rule of thumb is to  steer clear of any gifts that “touch the skin”.
  • Never expect anything in return  –  A gift should not be given with the expectation of receiving a gift, a raise, a promotion or anything else in return:  this is in line with the point above that the gift should be given based upon a sincere desire to express appreciation to your boss.
  • Never send a gift to your boss’s home address  –  This can be seen as too personal.  If the gift you’re thinking of giving is not something you’re comfortable giving at the office, then it may not be an appropriate gift to begin with.
  • Don’t give competitively  –  Never try to one-up your colleagues or try to “buy” your boss’s favor by giving expensive or extravagant gifts.
  • Never give cash!  –  Cash is seen as too impersonal and interpreted as putting a specific price on the relationship.


Ok, Let’s be Honest…

We want to avoid the pitfalls of giving inappropriate gifts; however,

Women's shoes

Picture by Lulek41 @ Pixabay

we’d also like to endear ourselves to our boss.  We don’t want to be the only one in our group or department to NOT give our boss a gift or to give an inferior gift.

Although we should not be expecting anything tangible in return, we may hope that our tokens of appreciation to our boss will be reciprocated by his/her appreciation of us as more than just replaceable cogs.  There’s nothing wrong with that and in today’s competitive business place it makes good business sense.  After all, bosses are people too, so they will naturally respond positively to expressions of appreciation.

Put yourself in your boss’s shoes (metaphorically)!  Doing this will help you assess the appropriateness of any gift you are considering giving.


When to Give a Gift to your Boss

Here are a few of the most appropriate times to give a gift to your boss:

  • On his or her birthday –  Generally, you would only give a birthday gift if you are close to your boss on a personal level; otherwise, it may be best to go in on a group gift.
  • During the winter holidays –  Many office settings have parties and gift-giving during the Christmas/Hanukkah/New Years timeframe, so it is a very appropriate time to consider giving a gift to your boss.  However, keep the gift generic enough and be careful not go give a Christmas gift to your Jewish or Muslim boss.
  • Boss’s Day –  Many people are unaware that many countries celebrate a National Boss’s Day.  This holiday was actually instituted in the U.S. in 1958, though Hallmark did not begin creating cards for it until 1979.  In the U.S. and Canada, Boss’s Day falls on October 16th (or the nearest business day).  Many other countries have an equivalent holiday, but do not all celebrate it on the same date.
  • Other major celebrations / milestones –  Other appropriate times to consider giving your boss a gift may be to celebrate completion of a major project, to thank him/her for assisting you in some significant way, as a going away present (e.g., either your boss or you are leaving due to retirement, promotion or taking another position).


What are the Best Boss Gifts?

Here are a few boss appreciation gift ideas that are “safe” and fall within the guidelines specified above:

  • A Card:  A simple “Thank You” card where you express, in your own words, your appreciation for your boss and all that he/she does.
  • Baked Goods:  Homemade baked goods such as cookies, brownies, cupcakes add a nice personal touch without being too personal.
  • Gift Cards:  Though cash is taboo, a monetary gift card for a local restaurant or a specialty store (along with a note of appreciation) is generally considered acceptable.
  •  Gift Baskets:  A gift basket of chocolate, snacks or fruit makes an excellent gift.  Perishable items are generally not viewed as being too personal and most gift baskets fall within the appropriate price range.


Gift Baskets make Excellent Boss Gifts

If you’re considering giving a gift basket to your boss, check out the wide selection of high quality, unique gift baskets at our partner, California Delicious.  They have a vast selection for every occasion and for every personal preference.  Below are a few of their most popular gift baskets.

California Gourmet Cutting Board Gift Deluxe

Starbucks Coffee, Cocoa and Chocolate Gift Basket

Father’s Day Grill Gift

Beer Gift Basket for Dad

BBQ Gift Box for Dad

Golden State Wine and Gourmet Food Gift

Grand Splendor Gourmet Gift Basket

Nuts About You Gift Crate

Regalo Valley Wines Gourmet Gift Basket

Delicious Meat and Cheese Gift Crate Ultimate

Delicious Meat and Cheese Gift Crate Deluxe

California Sparkling Cider Gourmet Basket


Please let me know your ideas on good gifts for your boss.  Share your stories and ideas in the comment section below.  If you try out a California Delicious gift basket, please share which basket you chose and how your boss liked it.
Best wishes,
Patrick @ Family Staples


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About Patrick

Single father of five wonderful children. Left the hectic corporate world to start my own online business to allow me the flexibility to spend more time with my kids, while encouraging other parents to do the same: making the most of their time with their children during their formative years. For more details, go to:


Appropriate Gifts for Bosses — 1 Comment

  1. I like that you have a website on choosing the right gifts for your bosses. It can be very challenging to choose a gift for your boss. You don’t want to buy something inappropriate.

    So, your gift ideas are really great choices for someone to look into if they need to buy a gift for their boss. I will visit your site often as the holidays are approaching.

    Thank you for sharing!

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