Don't blow your image in the office this holiday season by placing Grinch boxer shorts in the Yankee Swap or gifting the boss with expensive tickets to a sporting event. Stay professional with these holiday gift ideas.

1. You can give gifts to your closest work colleagues, but give the gifts discreetly—preferably outside of the office. The last thing you want to do is hurt anyone’s feelings. Keep the gift simple and moderately priced—and don’t be surprised if they don’t have a gift in the wings for you.

2. The best way to give to a boss or supervisor is as a department or group. Set a deadline and have an envelope at your desk for anonymous contributions. It’s okay to suggest an amount, but let it be known that the amount and even participation is entirely up to the individual. Then, purchase a gift with the proceeds.

3. A bottle of wine is a great and affordable hostess gift outside of the office, but when it comes to corporate gifting, consider food rather than alcoholic beverages.

4. If you draw the name of a co-worker whom you don’t really know from the Secret Santa hat:

  • Delicious baked goods are usually a safe bet.
  • Gift certificates to a coffee or tea shop, movie theater, bookstore or online book seller are perennial favorites.
  • Ask around—find out what his or her favorite charity is and make a donation.

5. If you are giving a significant gift to a client, call the corporation’s HR department to find out if gifts are allowed or if there are any restrictions on the type of gift or its value. It would be awkward if you gave something meaningful or expensive and then your client, in turn, has the burden of either returning it or donating it.

To honor the giving spirit of the season, suggest your office donate a book on professionalism or your field of expertise to your local library. Or, motivate your entire team to volunteer during the holidays instead of exchanging gifts.

For information on Emily Post Business Etiquette Programs contact Steven Puettner, Director of Sales, at or 802-860-1814.