It’s that time of year again. The office is atwitter with excitement. Everyone’s too antsy to actually get anything done. And your boss is quietly expecting a gift from each and every one of you.
Most of your coworkers will go the traditional route, looking up articles on what they should buy the boss. And because of this tactic, many of them will fail. Which leaves room for you to race ahead, wow the boss, and show everyone that there’s a NEW favorite in the house!
Before you is a list of traditional gifts for your boss, followed by the alternatives you should choose instead. Because while boring may be safe, it will never EVER get you noticed in a sea of button downs and khaki.
When it comes to GIFTS FOR YOUR BOSS, nobody ever got a raise for buying boring…
A book by some famous entrepreneur that they probably already own (despite whether or not they should…).
A book that YOU, YOURSELF find insightful. Maybe something completely out of left field?
Why: Besides being thoughtful, giving your boss a book that inspired you is an incredible compliment. It’s telling them you think great things about them. And one day when they pick it up to read it, they’ll remember where it came from. Not only because you wrote a touching note in the jacket (wink, wink!) but also because there’s already a story attached to it – yours!
What: We recommend something you wouldn’t see on Forbes’ Best Books for Business list. Pick a memoir by someone fascinating, a deep study of the field you work in, or an artistic book that’s relevant to what your boss does. If your boss has a noticeable sense of humor, then comedy may be the direction they secretly crave. For the funny boss, Bossypants by comedian, Tina Fey is a wise choice, because well, the title speaks for itself.
A scary looking fruit basket from gosh knows where.
A CSA share from a local farm.
Why: It shows you care about local agriculture! And that you want to contribute to your boss’ health in a very beautiful way. A CSA allows people to invest in their farm or local agriculture venture by contributing either up front or throughout the year. The money you put forth helps their business to succeed and pay for itself along the way. In turn, they give back weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly boxes of their goods. Meat and cheese shares are also available from many farms as well. If you can’t afford the whole run of a CSA, just stop by a local farmer’s market and get a one-time fresh basket of goodies.
A ridiculously expensive fountain pen.
A bunch of personalized pencils!
Why: Because this isn’t 1983 (or 1953 or 1933). Giving your boss a pen that cost more than your mattress screams, ‘I make too much money and don’t know what to actually do with it!’ Personalized pencils are retro, fun, and come aplenty. Plus, with a pencil, you always have the option to manually delete.
How it Benefits YOU: You better believe your boss will be passing these bad boys out to their colleagues. The term ‘old school’ may get thrown out there a few times, all in good fun. And it wouldn’t surprise us if during this whole process, your name got mentioned more than once.
A gift box of hodgepodge mish-mashery, fit for any bomb shelter. Including tiny jars of jam, cheese balls, stale crackers, pate, olives stuffed with various objects, etc.
Something local, that looks delicious, and that is actually safe to eat.
Why: Sure, there’s nothing quite like a sausage log that’s been sitting out all day. Or a cheese spread whose contents you can’t pronounce. But gift boxes like those are probably meant for people that don’t have a refrigerator at their disposal. Or standards for their edibles.
What: If you’re dead set on getting your boss something they can sink their teeth into, start fresh. Go for things that are local (that word again, we know…), not made by a machine, and that will add something unique to their kitchen’s collection of goodies.
Try any of these:
- A gift certificate to a local winery or a nearby wine shop or one online
- Cheese cutting tools or charcuterie supplies
- A couple of handpicked items from local vendors at your nearby farmer’s market, wine shop, or butcher
- Locally sourced spices – like the gangster-themed Chicago brand, SPICE HEIST (shown above)
- A Local Coffee Roaster Bean Flight
One of those atrocious desktop pendulums or sets of hanging metal balls.
A work of art for your boss’ work space that inspires.
What: Do some digging to see what they like or how their office is decorated. If you know their motto, get art that reflects that in words.
Why: Seeing their own quote or catchphrase everyday will fluff up any boss’ feathers. It’s an affirmation that they have power and are surrounded by people (like you) that look up to them. Nice choice, future favorite.
A neck pillow for the ‘busy business traveler’.
Something else that will keep them motivated during travel. Not something that’s going to put them right to sleep and that they probably already own a dozen of.
Why: Do you want to impress your boss? Isn’t that why you’re here? Well, then don’t even consider buying them something you can find at a gas station. Shame on you for even considering it!
- A book on traveling tips or traveling off the grid
- A brain teaser game to play on their voyage
- Something cool to store memories into, like a travel journal or pocket-sized pair of binoculars
- If you like the neck pillow idea, try for something way cooler like a ‘Nap Anywhere‘ (pictured above). If anything, it’ll make for a good laugh…
A (god awful) paperweight.
A desktop accessory that actually has a function, aside from keeping papers in place.
Why: Since offices are rarely as windy these days, it doesn’t really make sense to continue getting professionals heavy trinkets that serve no real purpose. In fact, these days it seems like it would be more likely that your boss would use one of those things as a weapon than as an organizer.
- A unique, handmade pen holder
- A cool docking station if they have a lot of gadgets
- A station for their glasses to remain safely perched
The same bottle of scotch they get every year
A locally made spirit, local craft beer, or wine from a regionally local winery.
Why: People like being given gifts that are produced locally. It’s like rooting for the home team. It tastes better, there’s less of a carbon footprint, and it ups your cool factor. People like being reminded that their city makes great things. Showing that you take pride in where you live will impress any boss. It will also trick them into subconsciously thinking you’re a loyal employee – which is always good in case you fall into some trouble in the future…
What: Most wet towns in the US have some sort of locally made something. You just have to do a little digging. Ask around, visit markets and gift shoppes, and obviously look online. This blog and its staff hail from Chicago, where we have a great deal of locally made libations to choose from. We’re spoiled, we know. If you live nearby, try some of our favorites below.
A coffee mug that reminds them that they’re a boss.
A mug that is amazing and makes them chuckle every time they pick it up.
Why: Because when they smile, they’ll be thinking of YOU.
Now that you’re the boss’ favorite…
You can thank us monetarily or by sharing this article with all the poor souls that seek the same fantastic fate as YOU. No boss could ignore any of these remarkable gifts. If there’s anything you think we’ve missed, you’re probably wrong. But feel free to leave a comment just in case you aren’t.
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