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As you’re finishing up an internship, or maybe just getting settled into a job, the holiday season can feel a little weird. Should you get something for your boss? How much should you spend? What’s appropriate or inappropriate to give? Our gift guide is here to help!

Etiquette

First of all, as an intern you shouldn’t feel obligated to give a gift to your supervisor. Money is tight, especially around this time of year! It’s okay to not buy something. However, you should still make an effort. A handwritten note or card is always a good gesture, particularly when you’re coming up on the end of your internship! But if you do have money to spare, make sure you’re not spending too much. It tends to look tacky, like you’re brown-nosing. Also, make sure you know your organization’s gift-giving policy! Some organizations have them, so make sure you’re in compliance.

If you do get a gift for your boss, make sure it’s appropriate for your company culture. If your workplace is more laid back, a more witty or amusing gift is fine, but if it’s pretty conservative, stick to more subtle choices. I have two rules for determining if a gift is appropriate. First, if the entire staff of the company saw your gift, how would they react? If it’s something your boss needs to open in private, it’s too personal. Second, only base your gift off what you know from the work day, like their general likes or hobbies. A great way to figure out what to get them is to take a look at their desk/office. How do they decorate it? What do they advertise about their life to their colleagues?

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be thoughtful; avoid gifts that are overly generic. But make sure your gift doesn’t cross the line into unprofessional.

Gift Ideas for Your Boss

1. For the coffee drinker: a cold-brew coffee maker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get it on Amazon for $17.99 here.

2. For the one who still carries business cards in their wallet: a customized card holder.

It’s available in a variety of colors and fonts, and is $13.95-18.95 depending on how soon you want it. Get it on Etsy here.

3. For the stressed-out supervisor: a custom soy candle.

Customize the candle with a thank-you message (available in four fonts) and pick one of 13 scents like cinnamon bun, lavender woods, or orange spice! Find it on Etsy for $16-30 here.

4. When they’re a little fancy: a gift box of biscotti.

I know it’s technically just cookies that are great for dipping, but something about biscotti just says “classy.” Get it on Amazon for $19.99.

5. For the boss who always says it’s too hot (or cold): a mini heater or fan.

Get the heater and fan at Target for $9.99 each.

6. If you’re not sure what to get: a tea variety pack.

The good thing about this 24-tea sampler from David’s Tea is that it’s only $25, and their tea is great quality. Each tea comes in a tea bag, so even if you’re giving it to a newbie, all they need is a mug and hot water! This sampler is all organic, and has black, white, green, rooibos, and herbal teas. If they don’t like regular tea leaves, try the other version of this sampler instead, which has some of my favorite fun flavors.

7. If you want to add a personal touch: a DIY gift.

Buy a mug from the Dollar Store, and fill it up with some cheap goodies! I highly recommend using World Market, they have lots of great little food items, bath and body products, and office supplies. You could also make some kind of baked good, stick it in a nice box or on a plate, and voila! Check out some great recipes (including no-bake recipes for those without an oven) here.

 

Whatever you decide on, just make sure you don’t commit a faux pas! Familiarize yourself with the etiquette of giving gifts, and make sure you follow your organization’s policies. Happy gifting!

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