One thing I did for the first time ever this year was give my bosses at work Christmas presents. I mean, I’ve gotten previous bosses “cop-out” gifts like chocolate and wine, but this is the first time I got them some “real”, more personal gifts. To not beat around the bush, I got one of them a signed NHL hockey puck, and the other a signed diecast F1 BMW car (the former is a big hockey fan, and the latter a big car fan). As I was wrapping them, my roommate jokingly called me a kiss-ass, which I just laughed and shook off, but it made me wonder– is it appropriate to give gifts of this type to your boss? I think it all depends.
In my case, it made sense and didn’t seem too out of the blue. I’m generally pretty quiet and keep to myself, but when I have something to talk about, I don’t hesitate. I’ve had several conversations with my bosses about what some people might consider uncomfortable (salary, workplace issues, etc.), so they know I’m quite forward when I need to be. I’d say I have a very good relationship with them. The company I work for is relatively small, so it wasn’t like I was giving a gift to an owner of a multinational company whom I’ve never met. I also wasn’t trying to suck up or anything like that. It was more of a, “Hey guys, thanks for allowing me to be a part of this company. I love my job, I love what I do, and I have a lot of respect for you. I know you’re into hockey and you’re into cars. Here’s a little something to say thank you and Merry Christmas.” Not presumptuous, not pretentious, not invasive. The gifts were more personal than a bottle of wine, but not so extravagant that it seemed bribey or kiss-ass-ish. In the end, it was well-received. They loved it. I’m sure just some Christmas cards would have done, but I believe that taking it just a small step further to show respect and appreciation can go along way. Not that there should be any ulterior motives or expectations.
I thought I’d write a bit about that as a couple of my friends asked me if they should get gifts for their bosses, and if so, what type of gifts. And it really just depends. Do you communicate with your boss on a regular basis? Do you plan on staying at the company long? Do you even like your boss and/or your job? Do you communicate on a personal level with them, or is it strictly professional? A gift may not even be necessary. If in doubt, a card with a bottle of wine or box of chocolates is usually a safe bet.