The holidays are here—which means you're stumped trying to figure out what to get your boss, your cubemate, and your receptionist (as if finding the perfect gift for your brother-in-law wasn't hard enough).
Well, we're here to help!
First, let's start with some ground rules. Nothing overly cheesy (engraved "Best Boss Ever" pens—we've seen ’em, and they don't work even ironically), overly expensive (remember Michael Scott and the iPod?), or overly personal (don't even think about clothes). And don't go down the alcohol path unless you're 100% sure your boss is a wine or whiskey aficionado.
Also, don't go bankrupt. If you can talk your department into a gift exchange or name-drawing situation, do—almost everyone's a whole lot merrier when they don't have to drop $20 per person for a 15-person department.
On that note, we've rounded up a selection of gifts that fit the bill. They're fun, they're festive, and they're all under $50. Browse away, then add your own suggestions in the comments section!
For Your Boss
Como Metal Vase , Crate and Barrel, $49.95
Deliver holiday-red flowers to her desk in this gorgeous silver vase, and you'll give a gift that she'll be proud to display on her desk all year round.
Personalized Decanter, Gifts.com, $39.95
For the whiskey-loving boss in your life, gift a decanter that's much more appropriate to display on his desk than, say, a bottle of Jack.
All Occasions Card Set , Kate Spade, $30
You're always looking for ways to make your boss' life easier, right? This simple but oh-so-beautiful card set will make sure she's never trekking across town to find the perfect card again.
GlobalGiving Gift Card , GlobalGiving, Up to $50
If your boss is the type who can (and does) buy himself anything he wants at any time, give him the gift that keeps on giving: a GlobalGiving gift card . He’ll get to pick the projects he wants to support (like helping kids stay in school ), and see how his money has been put to work through regular updates from the field.
Scratch Map Deluxe , Uncommon Goods, $29.95
For the boss who loves to travel (and brag about it), this scratch-off map will give everyone who enters her office a peek into exactly where she's been.
A beautiful coffee table book that relates to one of his interests is always a great gift, but if you're not quite sure what your boss is into, this one, which showcases a century's worth of "personality and power, art and commerce, crisis and culture," pretty much covers it all.
For Your Co-workers
Bubble Wrap Calendar , Amazon, $29.95
Seriously, we can't imagine anyone who wouldn't get happy just thinking about popping a bubble every day. Just, you know, maybe save this for the co-worker a few cubes down.
Owl Tea Cup , West Elm, $14
For any tea-drinking colleagues, pick up this cute owl mug and a box of their favorite tea. They'll be warm (and thankful) all year long.
Geek Wisdom Book , Restoration Hardware, $10.49
Have a co-worker who nerds out just as much as you do? This collection of mini essays is by, for, and about geeks.
Pocket Bocce , Restoration Hardware, $7.99
A compact version of everyone's favorite lawn game. You know, for those Fridays when your boss is out of the office.
Do/Ponder/File File Folders , Knock Knock, $9
Any gift from Knock Knock is a home run, but we particularly loved these fun file folders. (Your passive-aggressive co-worker will love going to meetings forevermore.)
Someecards Desk Calendar , Urban Outfitters, $14.99
January's rough. Help your co-worker start each morning with a good laugh.
Coconut and Pistachio Bark , Real Simple
For a seriously cheap, and seriously delicious, gift for all of your co-workers, whip up a batch of this three-ingredient yummy bark.
For Your Work Besties
Motion Activated Candy Dispenser , Sharper Image, $39.99
Know a co-worker with a sweet tooth? Pick up this candy dispenser, filled with his or her favorite candy (or, um, yours), and she'll be the most popular officemate ever.
Moleskine Evernote Classic Notebook , Moleskine, $24.95
For the work friend who just won't break down and buy an iPad, gift the new Evernote Classic Notebook by Moleskine, which uses Evernote's Page Camera feature to capture the pages of your notebook with your smartphone and make them searchable.
Ice Sphere Molds , Williams-Sonoma, $12.95
A couple of these, a bottle of whiskey, and you and your work bestie can drown any work-related sorrows in a classy way every weekend.
A TaskRabbit Gift Card, TaskRabbit, Up to $50
If you have a co-worker who has more holiday to-dos than you do, so help him or her out with a gift card to TaskRabbit. These friendly assistants will do anything from present wrapping to tree trimming to errand running.
Dachshund Letter Holder , Anthropologie, $32
The perfect desk accessory for the dog-lover in your office to hold her incoming mail (or, sure, photos of her dog).
Pi Bottle Opener , Uncommon Goods, $30
The perfect desk accessory for the beer-drinking math lover in your office (come on, we know you have at least one!).
World's Smallest Walkie Talkies , Kitson, $12.95
So she can fill you in on all that's happening in the big meeting.
For the Office Gift Exchange
Oontz Portable Wireless Speaker , Amazon, $39.99
A serious crowd-pleaser: Like a Jambox, but cheaper, this speaker is the easiest way to bring tunes to a great party (or a great break room happy hour).
Table Topics Original , Table Topics, $25
Even people who have everything will be pumped to receive the ultimate dinner-party conversation starter.
Spice and Herb Salt Tower , Provisions by Food 52, $25
Foodies in your group will snatch up this gift set of yummy gourmet salt (think fennel thyme and smoked paprika).
Mo's Milk Chocolate and Bacon Bar , Vosges, $7.50
Chocolate. Bacon. Need we say more?
Memo-saurus Desk Organizer , ModCloth, $9.99
Everyone needs a friendly T-Rex at the office, right? This fun prehistoric guy will hold your co-worker's pens, pencils, and reminder notes (and scare away intruders, to boot).
War on Error Erasers , Paper Source, $6.95
We know: Mistakes happen. But fear not: These tiny green GIs are ready to attack any errors that make their way onto office notes or paperwork.
Desktop Drum Set , $16.95, Kitson
Your musician wannabe co-worker will love you. (Apologies in advance to those who sit next to your musician wannabe co-worker.)
More Gifting Ideas
TopicsBosses , Holidays , Gift Guides , Work Relationships , Break Room , Workplace Relationships , Co-Workers
The Daily Muse is the daily publication of The Muse, your ultimate career destination that offers exciting job opportunities, expert advice, and a peek behind the scenes into fantastic companies and career paths. Learn more, contact us, and find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.More from this Author