What do you give a work colleague for a birthday? You may not know some coworkers well enough to find really personalized gifts, yet you want to give them something special, some small token of appreciation.
Some of the common gifts, such as wine, can be over-gifted and thus devalued. Here are 14 suggestions to inspire you, seven for male colleagues and seven for female colleagues.
1. A planner/journal is always handy. Even in the day of smartphone apps and reminders, a nicely leatherbound book for keeping appointments and notes is a classy and helpful touch for the office. Older colleagues especially are likely to use a paper planner. This classic, sleek design is from Paperblanks.
2. If you get to know your coworker’s hobbies, you can tailor the gift accordingly for a personal touch. This coffee cup in the form of a camera lens is great for hobby photographers. This and similar lens cups are available via Amazon.
3. For the wine lover, a useful set of tools for opening and storing wine may be appreciated.
4. A nice card holder makes a good first impression when meeting a client. Card holders can get a lot of wear and tear, so it’s often handy to have a new one. You can also get a leather card holder with engraved initials.
5. Compared to ladies, men don’t have so many options for—or, better put, worries about—accessorizing. A decorative handkerchief adds color and style. You can refer your colleague to this guide for some ideas on how to fold it: 5 Ways to Fold Pocket Squares.
6. Everyone has use for a nice pen; it’s a safe gift for almost any colleague.
7. A globe adds a sophisticated touch to an office. If you really want to go the extra step—and pay a little more—you can get a globe that even shows daylight and darkness in real time and shows seasonal features, or one that shows the constellations.
Many women like to surround themselves with pretty things, so an office or desk decoration seems like a good idea for a gift, but it can be risky. Each woman has her particular style and aesthetic taste, so it’s easy to miss the mark.
We recommend simple, useful decorations.
1. A book holder can help keep desktop clutter orderly or a shelf well-organized.
2. Loose tea is a sure bet for tea lovers. A nice container is a bonus; it can later be used for keeping paper clips and other office supplies.
3. This Paperblanks planner is a more feminine model with all the benefits listed above for male colleagues.
4. A fragrance diffuser could freshen the office, or if your office has a restriction against scent, it can be used at home. Essential oils provide soft, natural scent. A diffuser produces less waste than candles or incense and adds an elegant decorative touch.
5. Travel mugs are easy to misplace, and it’s often handy to have extras in case one gets left at the office or somewhere else. It’s also easy to personalize such a gift based on your colleague’s style—take note of the colors or patterns she wears and find similar colors and patterns on the mug. This KeepCup comes in a variety of styles. It’s easy to do, and she’ll feel you put some thought into it just for her.
6. Another great gift for tea drinkers: a strainer with original style, such as this one in the shape of a swan.
7. A picture frame is another simple, decorative gift that is also useful. Again, try to take note of colors she likes to find a frame that suits her style.
Putting a little extra effort into the wrapping, and wrapping it yourself, can also make your colleague feel special.