Office Holiday Party Etiquette

November 30, 2011 by staff 

Office Holiday Party Etiquette, Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, holiday shopping season is officially underway. And for office workers, that includes shopping for colleagues and bosses. But buying gifts for them can be as much of an etiquette minefield as the annual holiday party. Give the wrong gift, and you can derail your career before New Year’s. Give the right one, and you’ll start 2012 off right.

It’s easy to want to impress your boss and colleagues with pricey presents, but this may send the message that you’re trying to buy their loyalty. “If there is no agreed upon budget, spend less rather than more.
While your gift to your cube-mate won’t be as personal as to your spouse or parent, show that you know something about the person. “If you [don't], choose something he or she can use at work, such as a vintage pen, a stylish organizer, or an iPad or eReader cover,” says Jacqueline Whitmore, etiquette expert and author of Poised For Success.
If you’re only giving gifts to some people (and not the entire staff), consider doing it at lunch, suggests Gottsman. However, if you’re playing Santa to all, make sure the gifts are equal in value, particularly if staff members are at equal levels on the corporate ladder.
Again, a small token is still fine — but always give something. “It’s a nice holiday gesture to show your gratitude to someone who supports you and shows loyalty throughout the year.
If you’re not sure whether it’s appropriate to get your boss a gift, consider organizing a group one. “It looks less self-serving,” says Whitmore. Plus, you’ll be able to give him or her a nicer gift without breaking your holiday budget.

Caught off guard by a gift from someone you didn’t buy for? Don’t sweat it — simply give back your gratitude. “It is not mandatory to reciprocate, but it is essential to accept the gift with a genuine smile on your face and say something such as, ‘How thoughtful. Thank you so much for thinking of me.’”

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