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  • Writer's picture Natalie Budnyk

Should I get a gift for my boss?

Updated: Nov 28, 2018

The answer is, probably "yes" if your goal is to make the recipient happy. That can't be stressed enough. The goal needs to be their happiness because you can never give genuinely if your goal is to benefit yourself. Do not get someone a gift if the goal is one of the following: to get a raise, brownie points, everyone else is getting gifts for their teams, they gave you a gift so you feel obligated to give them one, you think the gift is really cool but have not thought about whether they will think it's cool. If your reason is any of these, it's time to reevaluate your gift giving process.

My sister would tell you to write a nice card instead of buying something. If you haven't found something that is PERFECT for your recipient, then please do that. Buy a nice card and write an honest note about how the person changed your year, made it better, helped you through something tough, made you laugh. Or, scroll right on down to the last section of this post and give the gift of social impact. That's so much better than an Amazon gift card. Also, we hate Jeff Bezos.

If you feel like you really want to get your boss/coworker/landlord/old man who dry cleans your coats something that is indeed a thing, then below are some nice options.


You know what everyone does? Eat. As long as you know what your recipient is allergic to / doesn't like, a food themed gift is usually a no brainer. Just be smart about it and make sure it's special. If you have any doubt about whether your boss is a coffee or tea drinker, don't get them a french press for their desk. Possibility of a gluten allergy? No Panettone for them. Below are some chic and/or cute gifts for the foodie in your life.

Rivsalt Himalayan Salt & Grater - for the boss that brings local honey to work and has a linen apron

Popcorn Maker Set - if your boss has a child, this is the one.

Cheese Vault - for the boss that saves the leftover meeting cheese for later

Cheese Pairing Set - for the boss that would never

Customized Granola - a breakfast gift card option that is not Starbucks

Cherry Bombe the Cookbook - for the boss lady because all of these recipes are written by ladies!

Les Diners de Gala - for the art director who keeps pitching logos written with ketchup


The holidays are all about treating yourself (and others!), but I guarantee your boss already got a lot of chocolate/wine/edible arrangements. The Spa Approach is a lovely compliment to the lethargy of the season and a welcome permission to take a break for those of us who are going to be answering emails with one hand and carving a ham with the other. Please use this opportunity to say "I am my own boss" and buy yourself a present too.

Harper + Ari Exfoliating Sugar Cubes - write "this is soap" on the card so they don't eat these

Poketo Circle Comb - for a sophisticate with long hair (like if JVN is your boss. #goals)

Gummy Bear Jelly Hand Cream - a good one to get for everyone on your team to keep on their desk

The Evening Bag Edit - you have to really love your boss at this price point. I am my own boss.

A Bark Box - if your boss' dog is their self care outlet. Bonus points if you buy this for the office dog.

Cacao Coffee Scrub - a combo of the two things everyone else got your boss, but for their bod!


Do not let your coworkers steal your cute pens, and do not let them settle for Staples brand steno pads. Instead, get them some stuff that they will be excited to use in the office instead of obligated to dig for in the communal supply cabinet. If you work in an art department or some kind of creative environment, this is the category you should peruse.

Tonal Palette Sticky Notes - very pretty. very useful.

Pretend Store Pocket Founder - if your boss is the founder of the startup you work at, this is the one.

Pretend Store Pocket Art Director - alternatively, if you work with designers, they will giggle at this.

bando Paradiso Greetings Pens / Skinny Dip Just Peachy Pens - pens that you won't want to chew on

bando On The Line Charging Cord - for the boss who's always asking to borrow your phone charger

Hustle Hard Faux Leather Journal - for the boss who likes to make an understated statement


My family had a big discussion over Thanksgiving about how the holidays should be about spending time with your loved ones and giving back to the community rather than stressing about or expecting presents. The other suggestions above are operating on the assumption that a well thought out gift will effect the recipient emotionally and make them feel seen and loved, but some people's love language is not gifts. If you can sense that about your boss or your team or anyone you're buying for this season, giving back is a great alternative. If you have a charity that's close to your heart, a nice card that says "$xx was donated to (a charity) in your name" can be a much more appreciated gift than something tangible. If you want to wrap something, below are a few cool businesses with a mission to give back.

Bombas - a sock company that donates a pair of their antimicrobial, arch support socks to the homeless for every pair you buy (socks are the #1 thing shelters are in need of!)

Yoobi - a school (read "office") supplies company that donates supplies to schools in need

Feed - proceeds from your purchase go to programs that provide school lunches for hungry children

Figs - for the healthcare professional: buy a pair of scrubs and a healthcare provider in need will also get a pair (I'm not a doctor, but these also look really cute and comfy)

WakaWaka - a solar powered portable battery (hello new phone charger!) with a mission to provide accessible energy to people in remote areas

WWF Species Adoptions - these cute stuffed animals act as a donation to all the causes the World Wildlife Fund supports (forget your boss, your niece will flip out when you tell her you adopted her a penguin)

All of the websites linked here are generally great gift sites. I've really done you a huge favor by putting them all in one place. If you don't see something on my specific list that's perfect for your boss, definitely peruse the "gift" sections of these sites for some more inspo!



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