Some of the tips below are very interesting, while others are downright disturbing. Do people really need to be told about these? If so… Wow.
8 gifts you should never give to your boss or co-workers, according to Lahle Wolfe (the original article is in italics; my personal comments are in bold):
- ”Adult” Items: Because people don’t have the good sense not to give these things at work, it made the number one spot in this list. How sad is that? (…)
- Gifts That Carry a Discriminating or Demeaning Message: Because there is a ‘right time’ to give such gifts? Never give gifts that could be considered offensive to women, minorities, or any race, culture, groups, or individual with disabilities – even if presented in the “spirit of fun.” (…)
- Politically-Oriented and Religious Gifts: Unless someone has specifically asked for a particular political or religious item, book, or gift, do not try to guess on one. If you don’t understand why this might happen, please check the dictionary for the meaning of the word ‘prejudice’. If you do honor a specific request, keep in mind that the item could still offend someone else in the office and give it wrapped and in private.If by honoring a request for a political or religious item I risk offending someone, should I be buying that item in the first place?
- Personal Care Products: Grooming items and sundries are generally too personal to give, especially when given to a member of the opposite sex. This includes body and skin care products, perfumes, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and shaving sundries. That scented hand lotion you love might seem like a good idea but when given to a person with allergies or asthma you are giving a gift that cannot be used.
- Intimate Clothing: Seriously? Do we really need to go into this one? All under garments, and in most cases, any articles of clothing except for hats, scarves, or gloves are not good gifts to give co-workers or your boss. A corporate T-shirt is acceptable, but may seem a bit on the “cheap” side.
- Romantic Jewelry: If you give jewelry, stick to small, casual items and give them only to members of the same sex unless the gift is being given by a group. The key to remember when giving jewelry is that some items may be interpreted as a romantic gesture, especially if the jewelry is expensive. The best jewelry items to give are inexpensive or moderately priced watches (including pocket watches) or simple, trendy bracelets or pins. Pearls, diamonds and gemstones are generally not a good idea if the gift is intended as a casual gesture.
- Flowers: Do not give roses. It is better to give poinsettias, “lucky” bamboo, or other plants instead of flowers. They last longer and cannot be interpreted as a romantic gesture. Casual flowers like daisies, wildflowers, or bulbs the turn into blooms are also fine. (Hint: No one really likes a chia pet. I second that.)
- Cash: Never give your boss or a co-worker cash (but gift cards are acceptable). Cash should only be given by the company or employer when it is given as a taxable bonus, not as a personal gift.
Business Gifts Etiquette Tips: Giving no gift at all can be better than giving the wrong gift. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if the gift is something you would let a child see (even if they would not enjoy the gift itself). If you would not let a child see the gift, it may not be appropriate to give to someone at work.
Just thought I’d help (and add my two cents worth while I was at it).