Top 10 Gifts for Your Boss

Posted April 18, 2023

At some point in your career you will be celebrating a boss’s birthday and it is important to know the best etiquette to participate in the celebration. Giving a gift to your boss can be a generous gesture without going overboard. It can be easier to think of a good gift with a few tips and suggestions in order to determine what the most appropriate gift for your boss might be. 

In the following article we will discuss why it is a good idea to get your boss something for their birthday, tips for selecting the perfect gift, and suggestions of types of gifts that go over well in the workplace. 

Why should you get a birthday gift for your boss?

Gift giving can let your boss know that you have forethought and planning when it comes to sentimental times of the year. Remembering their birthday with a gift also demonstrates you care and respect them as a role model. When you remember to get your boss a gift it can potentially enhance their opinion of you or at least encourage your boss to keep you in mind when employment roles are being considered.

Tips for selecting a birthday gift for your boss

There are a few guidelines to consider when trying to find a memorable birthday gift for your boss. The gift should be appropriate for professional boundaries while also coming across as thoughtful. Take a close look at the following tips to help guide your gift selection:

Review your company’s policies

Before you go to buy a gift for your boss, make sure that there are no company policies prohibiting gifts at work. If there isn’t anything listed in company policy consider asking HR if there are restrictions on certain gifts such as alcoholic beverages, cash, or other items such as gag gifts that might be deemed inappropriate for the workplace. 

Find a balance between cheap and expensive

Set a budget for your gift that doesn’t appear too cheap or too expensive so that you can maintain your professionalism. If your gift comes across as cheap it may seem un-thoughtful, if it’s too expensive it may appear like you're attempting to capture your boss's favor in an unethical way.

Consider your boss’s interests

Think about the interests that your boss shares with their employees so that you’ll get something they will be sure to enjoy. Start by making a list of a few hobbies, or TV-shows they quote, or snack foods you know they enjoy at work. For example,  if your boss always drinks the same brand of coffee at work, consider getting them a gift card or a pound of coffee from their favorite coffee shop with a branded or personalized coffee mug. 

Think about your boss’s personality

An effective way to determine what your boss might enjoy for their birthday is to consider what their personality is like. For example, if your boss is on the more serious side, they may not respond very well to a mug with a joke or vulgar quote. On the other hand, a mug with a funny quote might be the perfect gift if your boss jokes around in the office on a regular basis. 

What is your relationship with your boss?

If your company is split into departments or if you work for a smaller company where you engage in conversations with your boss on a daily basis a gift that is personal might be appropriate. For example, if you converse with your boss about personal matters and interests like sports or pop culture it might be appropriate to get them a personalized gift like tickets to the big game or to the next performance of their favorite musical. But be sure to check return and exchange policies in case your boss can’t use the tickets. If you don’t know your boss well, steer clear of fan favorite gift items and choose something more general for their birthday gift. 

Consider your paygrade

It’s appropriate to consider your own paygrade when choosing what to give your boss for their birthday. If you only make $30,000 a year it would be perfectly acceptable to go with a gift basket or snack box. However, if you make over $150,000 a year it would be more appropriate to select a specialty bottle of whiskey or a brand-name watch instead. Being generous but not exceeding your personal budget will always come across well to your boss.

Look at past gifts from coworkers

You don’t have to give exactly the same gift your boss received in the past, but thinking about these gifts could help spark an idea for a similar gift or determine your price point. For example, if your coworkers gave your boss gift cards, candles, and personalized gadgets it might be appropriate to go with an item for their office like a personalized pen set to maintain the status quo.

Coordinate a combined gift with coworkers

If you don’t feel confident selecting a gift for your boss and you worry about how you will be perceived if you get something inappropriate, suggest putting together a combined gift from the entire team. This option allows you to save money and get something nicer for your boss while also avoiding any awkwardness and appearing like a thoughtful team member. 

10 great gift ideas for your boss

There are many options for appropriate gifts for your supervisor, manager, or boss. Here are 20 great gift ideas that are appropriate and thoughtful for your higher-ups: 

1. Gift card

A gift card is a simple way to provide something thoughtful for your boss while remaining within reason. Placing the gift card in a birthday greeting card, or envelope could be enough of a gesture, or you could consider putting the card in a coffee mug or pencil holder that they can also use on their desk. Some great places to get a gift card might be their favorite coffee shop, restaurant, or lifestyle store so they can get something for their home or office. 

2. Gift basket

There are many themes that can be good for a gift basket in the workplace. You can choose the size, cost, and theme based on the tips listed above. There are premade gift baskets sold in stores or online or you can choose to create it from scratch to make the perfect gift for your boss. A great example of a good gift basket for someone who loves movies might include a gift certificate to the theater, a popcorn kit,  soft drink, classic theater candies, a soft blanket, and served in a big popcorn bowl. 

3. Mug or desk toy

A mug or desk toy with a fun color, pattern or your boss's favorite TV-show character displays your thoughtfulness without breaking the bank. They can then add it to their collection of cups to use at work. Desk toys can help reduce stress or create conversation starters at your boss's desk. In relaxed work environments you can get your supervisor or manager a fun desk toy inspired by their favorite show or joke.

5. Specialty tea or coffee

A specialty tea or coffee can be the perfect gift for someone who enjoys caffeinated beverages at work to stay energized and productive. Getting a sampler set or a specialty blend of coffee or tea can be the perfect gift for a birthday no matter what season it is.

6. Office plant and planter

Plants that do well indoors are great for decorating and making the office more welcoming. A potted plant that doesn’t need a lot of water or sun can be a kind gesture as a gift that is also practical for the office. If your boss already has plants or talks about gardening at home, an indoor office plant might be the perfect birthday gift for them.

7. Business card holder

Business cards can get worn in wallets, lost or crumpled up when kept in pockets, so a business card holder can be very beneficial to a manager or boss. A personalized or stylish business card holder will keep your boss’s cards secure and neat while still fitting well in their pocket.

8. Notebook set

For any boss that takes a lot of notes during meetings, a great gift for them might be a notebook set with matching pens. You can select the print, color, or sentimental phrase on the cover of the notebook that would suit your boss’s interests. If your boss has a lot of leather furniture in their office, getting them a matching leather notebook might be perfect for their birthday.

9. Travel gear

If your boss travels a lot for business or pleasure, consider getting them a travel set for their birthday. A travel-themed gift ensures it is something that will be of use to someone who flys a lot for work. Travel gear might include neck pillows, toiletry bags, baggage tags, passport holders, suitcase cubes and more. 

10. Specialty alcohol

A nice bottle of wine, a whiskey sampler or a specialty drink making kit may be a perfect gift for your boss if you know they enjoy alcoholic beverages. This consumable gift doesn’t expire quickly so they can choose when to enjoy it and they can use your gift to celebrate a personal life event, holiday or business venture in the future.

Whether you are very close to your boss or if you only talk to them occasionally getting them a gift for their birthday is a kind gesture. It will make your boss feel special and make you feel good for remembering to get them something. Keeping in good terms with your boss is always a good idea and getting them a birthday gift can be a great way to stay in touch. 

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