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8 Helpful Tips For Choosing The Right Gifts For Your Boss


Building and sustaining a healthy interpersonal relationship with the team leader, manager, supervisor or boss is essential for an employee. This results in a relaxed work environment and helps boost productivity and will also often assist the potential future growth of an employee.

Now, getting a gift for your boss is an excellent way to express your appreciation for him and the good work he does as a manager or team leader. That said, choosing an appropriate gift for your immediate superior is not always the easiest thing in the world. You’ll need to be mindful of your company policy regarding gift-giving to your superiors, take into consideration the workplace dynamics, and choose a gift that is a thoughtful one (i.e., something that will please your boss but will not convey the impression that you’re looking to curry favour with him), what occasions are deemed right or appropriate for gifting, and so on.

So, we can see that gifting a present to your boss can be somewhat of a tricky affair. This is why in this article we have listed 8 essential and helpful tips for choosing a gift for your office superior. The tips cover all the different aspects of gift-giving to your boss, including some great gift ideas.

8 Tips for Choosing the Right Gift for One’s Boss

1. Review Your Company Policies

Before you set out choosing a gift for your manager or supervisor, it is essential that you review the existing firm policies regarding gift-giving. Does your company allow giving gifts to managers, supervisors, etc.? There are firms that strictly prohibit this practice in order to prevent favouritism within the workplace. There are others that list certain types of gifts as acceptable while prohibiting others (such as cash gifts). Bottom line: always check with your Human Resources department first whether or not you are allowed to give gifts to your superiors.

2.  Appropriate Gift-Giving Occasions

Some of the common occasions that are considered proper for presenting your boss with a gift include National Boss’s Day (October 16 in the U.S. and March 24 in the UK), birthdays (especially milestone birthdays), major holidays such as Christmas, etc.

You may also consider special occasions, both personal and professional, in your boss’s life such as a wedding, the birth of a child, a successful business deal, a promotion, etc. as proper occasions for congratulating your boss with a special gift.

Finally, on occasions when your manager or team leader has been particularly caring and considerate or when they have helped you out of a tricky situation (sometimes going out of their way), it is alright to show your gratitude by presenting the person with an appreciation gift.

3. One-to-One Gift-Giving

Employees can actually go for either direct, one-to-one gifts to their bosses or choose to settle for a collective gift (or, sometimes both depending on the occasion and again, the workplace dynamic). For example, if it is in your office culture to present appreciation gifts to your boss on proper occasions and if your co-workers do the same, then there is no reason why you should refrain from sending an appreciation gift to your superior.

On the other hand, if one-to-one gift-giving to your team leader or manager is commonly frowned upon within your office environment, then you would rather not do it yourself either. However, it might still be okay if you share a particularly close professional relationship with your immediate superior.

In such a scenario, simply consider this: would you feel okay if your colleagues got to know about the gift-giving or would you rather feel a little awkward about it? If the latter is the case, it is perhaps best not to give a direct gift to your boss.

4.  Collective or Group Gifts

As for collective gift-giving, things are understandably much simpler. Make a collection and buy your boss a classy, thoughtful gift. It is perfectly alright for this type of gift (precisely because it is a collective one) to be on the expensive side. In fact, your boss will often expect it to be so!

There is however still scope to get a little creative with the collective gift idea. For example, instead of taking up a collection, each employee can bring his own gifts for the boss and then surprise him with a little party during the lunch hour (an after-office party will work great, too).

5.  How Much Should You Spend on the Gift?

This is again something where you need to be a little tactful and observe some delicacy. You don’t want your gift to be too cheap or too generic. On the other hand, a too expensive gift will often carry the risk of sending a wrong message.

So, the trick is to be thoughtful and modest. For example, if you know your manager is a fishing enthusiast, you can very well consider a fishing jacket or a simple set of fishing gear (consisting of, let’s say, baits, a net, traps and bite indicators). However, you would better not go overboard and buy your boss an expensive set of fishing tackles.

To reiterate, the idea is to stay modest and maintain that delicate balance when choosing the gift.

6.  What Is An Appropriate Gift?

In other words, how do you ensure that your gift will be liked and appreciated by your boss? This is not difficult as long as you pay attention to the hobbies and interests of your boss. For example, gift cards to their favourite restaurant or coffee shop are a great idea. Or, if you know your boss is a classical music enthusiast, you may consider getting concert tickets for your boss and his/her spouse.

Also, gift hampers are often a great idea. Ask your boss’s personal assistant whether he is fond of speciality tea or coffee and the brand of his choice. You can then prepare a gift hamper with that brand as the centerpiece, accompanies by a number of snacks delicacies.

7.  Personalized Gifts

No matter the occasion or who you are giving to, personalized gifts are always a good idea since they add a special touch of warmth and intimacy to your gift. So, whether it is a group gift or a direct one, you may consider personalizing the gift in some manner.

The most common way to personalize a gift item is to add monogrammed initials of the recipient to the gift. However, there are also other ways to personalize a gift. For example, if your boss is in the habit of repeating some quote or phrase ad inifinitum, you may get a coffee mug or a t-shirt with that quote printed on the items. This will often make for a fun and informal gift.

Again, if your manager is especially fond of certain sports or movie personalities, you can consider adding the image of the movie or the sports star on to the gift.

8.  What to Give Your Boss: Some Great Gift Ideas

Gift hampers: Hampers make for popular gift options due to their versatility. Depending on the scale and occasion of your gift, you can choose from a number of different themed hampers or gift baskets coming in different price points. For example, you can go for a really expensive and deluxe hamper for a collective gift or may settle for a more modest one for a direct present.

Fun or gag gifts: These are great for creating a lighter and more relaxed work environment. However, do consider the personality of your boss as well as the general work environment of your office to decide if they will make for an appropriate gift.

Other good one-to-one gift ideas for your manager, team leader or boss include:

  • Office Plants
  • Notebook Set
  • Cool and Trendy Gadgets
  • Desk Toys
  • Reusable Utensils (if your boss is in the habit of bringing his meal to the office)
  • Travel Gear
  • Gift Cards
  • Coffee Mugs or Drink Holders

… and many more. As mentioned, just stay familiar with your boss’s interests and hobbies and this will help big time in choosing a great gift for him.

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