Stop Giving These Boring Gifts To Your Colleagues
STORY: Diane Lam
17 December 2019
It’s not easy to buy Christmas gifts for your colleagues. You tell yourself that no one really needs another coin pouch, hand cream, or a candle, but the season of office gift-giving is in full swing, and you don’t have any better ideas.
As people who have amassed a sizeable collection of Bangkok-made passport cases and barely-used hand creams, we’ve got a few suggestions on what you can give in lieu of the usual booooring presents:
DON’T GIVE: USB flash drives
Thumb drives are becoming increasingly obsolete, thanks to our growing dependence on the cloud. Lots of computers don’t even come with a regular USB-A port anymore.
What you should give instead: A power bank. The slimmer, the better. Because nothing incites panic like a phone with only a 10% charge. Alternatively, you can get the person a lightning cable so they’ll stop asking to borrow yours.
DON’T GIVE: Hand creams
At this rate, we can start repurposing our collection of hand creams as body lotion and still be using them by next Christmas.
What you should give instead: Shampoo and conditioner bars (who hasn’t been tempted to try these after stepping into Lush?). Not only are they a bit of a novelty, but unless your colleague is bald, they’ll have no problem using them.
DON’T GIVE: Keychains
No adult needs more than one, maybe two, keychains. We simply don’t have that many sets of keys to carry. And anyway, it’s 2019, people use smart locks.
What you should give instead: An electric wine and bottle opener. Practical, yet always missing precisely the moment that we need one. And with an electric wine bottle opener removes a cork in seconds, your colleague will be a hit at every party.
DON’T GIVE: Passport cases and luggage tags
Your colleagues likely own an abundance of these, but opportunities to use them are few and far between #workworkbalance
What you should give instead: A foldable, clip-on memory foam travel pillow, because the flimsy sponge one is just about as useful as the one that’s on the airplane.
DON’T GIVE: Picture frames
Unless your colleagues are super sentimental, they probably won’t use these – and at any rate, most people would rather choose picture frames that already match their home décor.
What you should give instead: A ticket stub organiser – now that it’s almost 2020, even your most sentimental colleagues probably don’t have a lot of 4x6 photos lying around, but we can guarantee that they have a box full of concert tickets, boarding passes, and Instax prints just waiting to be dealt with.
(Not boring, but…) DON’T GIVE: Anything TOO personal
In most cases, you should avoid giving your coworkers anything that could be misinterpreted as a romantic gesture, especially if you single anyone out as a recipient of the gift. Don’t give one coworker a hand-drawn portrait when you’ve given everyone else a bag of gummy bears. Flowers, a scrapbook of memories, or expensive jewellery are also ill-advised unless the gift comes from a group.
What you should give instead: Indoor plants or succulents are a good alternative to flowers. And if you want to give them something artistic, stick to something that feels a little more neutral – pottery, hand-lettering, or a painting that’s not in their likeness are more appropriate for office acquaintances.
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