Monday, December 8, 2008

To Gift or Not to Gift?


Today, on my lovely day off, I began my holiday shopping. Before I dragged myself out into the cold and down to the holiday shops in Union Square, I made a list of everyone I needed to shop for. The usual suspects were there: Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, Granny, Boyfriend, Friends.

As I shopped, I realized that I forgot to include my bosses on my list. Last year, I bought my two bosses a hand soap and lotion set from a small boutique. I spent about $20 of each of them. They gave me $500 cash. I cried when I opened there card and found five $100 bills.

This year, I don't expect to get $500 cash at all. Last year, my old bosses only had to give me a gift. My two bosses now are direct managers to nine people in our department. I highly doubt they'll shell out that much cash.

I plan on buying them each a little something. They are great bosses and I want to show them that I appreciate that. But, some people have told me that you should never "gift up," meaning you shouldn't or don't have to give your boss a gift.

What do you think?

30 comments:

Phoebe Caulfield said...

I was at the Union Square market this weekend too! I got hugging salt and pepper shakers :) I love those booths.

Yeah, I would say not "gift up" for sure. I always think it's safer to bake some cookies, even, rather than buy something. Also, 500 bucks! Your bosses were sweet!

liz said...

I'm making all of my co-workers cookies and wrapping them. I am far too broke to purchase gifts and all the people in my office LOVE baked goods.

Stacey said...

I always buy my boss a little something. Her son is 18 now, but they still go to the movies at least twice a month together. So, I always buy her a $25 gift cert. (I have bought the same gift for 8 years now) to her favorite theater. It isn't much (as my salary is significantly less than hers), but she loves her mommy/son movie days and she always appreciates the gift. If she wasn't such a great boss I wouldn't even bother, but she really does go to bat for me throughout the year, so I think it is a nice gesture. I wouldn't feel pressured to give, but if feel so moved you should!

ScoMan said...

The last place I worked people gifted up, down and sideways. I didn't see a Christmas there though. They told me on December
5th I wouldn't be back in January, and that the 19th would be so I didn't go to their Christmas party.

Where I work now (and have worked the past few years) there is none of that gifting culture. Just a nice meal together on our last day of the year.

I feel that I have been very helpful =p

Blaez said...

i've worked where all the lowpeople chipped in money and got a nice gift for the higher ups.

i've also worked where no one did anything

and the place i work at right now and the higherups and us lowbies are going in on a secret santa exchange -set price at about $20 bucks -drawing names out of a hat. there is an email that is going to circulate tomorrow with everyone's "likes" on it just incase the person you draw is not the person you would know well.

me, personally, i would not buy for my immediate boss. and i doubt she'd by for me. or any of us. however i did hand out holiday cards to everyone in the office and so did my boss's boss. (i was first --score holiday brownie points for me :)

aleksiedancer said...

I only had one boss ever give a gift to me (oddly, the only boss I 100% disliked). I think if you are close to your boss or really like him/her, you should give something small

lisa said...

I think it depends on the gift. Something overly extravagant will come across as inappropriate, like you're trying to curry favour. But a small yet thoughtful gift is a great gesture.

S. said...

It totally depends on the relationship.

I still think it's nice to "gift up" though, I think it makes your bosses feel good and making people feel good is what holidays & gift giving are about right!

Sunny said...

It depends on a boss, I guess. I'm planing to send the boss an e-card, that'll be it.

<3 J. said...

Oh, you should definitely get them a little something. Especially since you did last year, and they obviously appreciate you enough to give you um, $500! That's so awesome!

I always got my bosses little things for their offices, like a nice candy jar for my female boss to put on her desk, and a NY calandar (he was from NY as well!) for my male bosses desk. Just something small to say "Thanks!"

LENORENEVERMORE said...

sounds like u have great boss! Lucky you...It's cliche but it's always the lovely thought that counts...get something f your boss; deserves alittle somethin-something...;) Merry Christmas!

High-heel gal said...

I have never given my boss a gift, other than perhaps a Christmas card (and usually not even that). Maybe that's because I know they're not going to get me anything. (buying for 50+ teachers would be a stretch!) I know, that sound mean of me, but I look at it this way - I have to live on a budget because my boss doesn't pay me enough (in my mind) so therefore, I can't afford to buy him a christmas present.

I think you should at least get your bosses a little something though. Five hundred dollars last year, now that's a bonus!

Tricia said...

Get all 9 people together - have everyone chip in $10-20 and then buy one gift for each boss. That way it doesn't break anyone's bank and you can buy something nice for each boss.

kimmers said...

Ooooh,strongly disagree. I think *not* gifting your immediate boss is bad form. I think the key is small and thoughtful. Nothing expensive, nothing too personal, but definitely gift them.

Melly said...

I think that's a strange rule.

There's nothing wrong with gifting something small to your bosses - especially if you'll be gifting with other coworkers.

Holiday gifts are meant to spread cheer, appreciation, and thoughtfulness. I can't imagine why you'd leave someone out that you see every day :)

Amanda said...

I think it's a nice gesture but it depends on the work situation. If you like your bosses I think it's a good idea. It shows that you value the relationship. If you don't like your bosses and think they may see it as sucking up then I wouldn't.

Somewhere In Between said...

I'm close with my boss and his whole family, and last year, I got the family a gift of Omaha Steaks (I know how busy they are, and to have the high quality steaks with everything easy to make was a big help for the family). I'd say if you gifted last year and have the desire to, then don't worry about what anyone else says.

Angela said...

I'm going through the same thing!!! I love to bake, so I think what I'm going to do is give everyone in my department-the other girls, our VP and CEO-cute little baskets of baked goods and maybe some good coffe or something (lame) like that.

Skywalker said...

I work for the govt so there are rules about gifts. Special Occasions only.

As for coworkers, I would give gifts to people who are friends and as separate thing apart from work.

*Just Jen* said...

I don't think you really HAVE to gift up. But I like to. My boss is very easy going, he let's me work from home when my son is out of school or if I am sick, he won't make me take sick hours if I work from home. He is an avid golfer, so I was going to get him a gift card to Dick's Sporting goods, but he and his wife just closed on their first home last Friday, so I am going to get a gift card from Target so they can use it for stuff they may need for their new house. He manages five other's and while I don't EXPECT a gift from him, he usually get's us all something each year. So my vote is to gift, if you really like your bosses. LOL

The Awkward Type said...

i would give them a gift. Especially if you really do appreciate them... I think its rude, to get a gift and not give one. Do u give a card on Bosses day? If so, I would give them a nice small present for the "holidays"

*V said...

I agree that you shouldn't out-do your bosses (since you will almost feel required to do the same yearly) but give a gift that you will be proud for them to recieve. If you go & hide when they are opening your gift- not sucha a good gift idea. Personal touch (even for the big wigs) is the best way to go. Who cares if it's 30 bucks- If it reflects on your working relationship as well as on a personal level- you're good.

Happy Hunting!

(If I bought a gift for my boss- he'd recieve a playboy and a bag of Peanut MM's. Serious. Dirty ol' Man he is!!) Hee Hee

Suz said...

$500?!? I would definately get them a gift, even if you don't expect one from them. They sound like great bosses. Even though you don't have to, I think you want to when you have a great boss. Just something small with a nice card to show you appreciate them.

Me? I won't be getting a gift for my boss this year because great is not a word I would use to describe him. But I always got a small gift for my old boss.

Dolce said...

I have no idea. I hated my boss last year. I was the only one who reported to him directly and the only person who he didn't give a Christmas gift to.

God, he was such an asshole.

MO said...

Holy cow, $500 cash is AWESOME! I believe that if we spend every day with these bosses, for all those hours, than they deserve a small gift of appreciation and showing you care. I always send a nice Christmas floral arrangement and they love it.

Me! said...

I think you should -- just a small token to say "I'm glad I have a job" and "Thanks for being my boss." My company has a strict policy of no gifts to managers / senior leaders over 25 bucks. In the end, it's the thought that counts!

Shelby said...

Our department pitches in a gives the boss a gift. He used to give us all individual gifts (last year was tickets to Justin Timberlake) this year our department has tripled in size so I'm not expecting much. I think there is no harm in a small thoughtful gift with a nice card to go along with it.

Now I have to bring up another question...do you bring back souvenirs for your boss when you go on vacation, or not? I have such a hard time with that one.

Giovanna Diaries said...

It depends on the relationship I would say. I always exchanged gifts w/my bosses. I usually spent around $40. I'm still friends w/my bosses from NY and email them on a monthly basis. Now my husband is my boss so I defintiely got him a gift this year. But this year I spent considerably more....

Sockit2me said...

Someone once gave me some good (albeit funny) advice. Do with it whatever you think given this gift situation. The advice was this. "Never leave an ass unkissed" .....blessings for the season...fa la la, la la la, ...la la la!!!!

kokostiletto said...

i've had this question as well... b/c obviously we make less than the boss and it might be awkward... i will definetely get mine a card though...