Getting Great Christmas Gifts for Coworkers is tricky. I am opposed to giving gifts just because I feel obligated to. But I do want to express my appreciation to the coworkers who have been such great teammates throughout the year. I give because I care and they are important people in my work life.

However, there are several criteria to use when judging a gift for a coworker. It can’t be too personal, since you want to maintain a professional relationship with them (for the ones that you are close to, you would consider them friends rather them just coworkers).

Also, you may not know their likes and dislikes much since you only know them on a professional level. If you know someone who is crazy about dogs or photography, by all means use that information. But that knowledge is hard to come by.

In addition, the Christmas gift can’t be too expensive. After all, you have so many coworkers; if you don’t want to go broke, you need to watch your spending.

Finally, you want the Christmas gifts to be useful. It’s all too common that gifts from coworkers get thrown away. You just know that these thoughtless gifts were just picked up from the 99 cents store the very morning.

So it is tricky to get the perfect Christmas gifts for coworkers. But I have some suggestions that you can consider.

1. Donation

Donate to Charity

Most people have a charity organization that is close to their hearts. The ones that deal with children, animals or certain diseases really speak to them. How do you know which cause is their passion? The easy way to find out is ask them. Tell them that this year you are going to donate to their favorite charity on their behalf as Christmas gifts. They will feel good about contributing to a great cause. Also, it’s tax deductible to them! If they don’t have a favorite charity, then pick a meaningful one, like donating to local needy kids so they can get Christmas gifts their family wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.

 2. Food

food for the office as giftSeriously, whenever I take food to work and place it in the break room, half an hour later the food is wiped out. That means my coworker really likes my creations. However, it’s true that some people are highly discriminate about their food. They want to know if everything is organic and how it was handled, so my suggestion is to make something for the entire office, as opposed to hand wrap the individual baked good for each person. If you bake something delicious and also buy some good food, then each person can pick his or her favorite. Besides, you would be saving Earth by not producing wrapper trash.

Personally invite them to your desk, so you can have a direct conversation with your coworker individually. Ask them about their holiday plan and personally thank them for their support throughout the year.

Alternatively, you can also give them coffee. For some reason, everyone tend to bitch about how crappy coffee is at work. You can get a basket of some really nice ones so everyone can enjoy several cups of delicious coffee.

3. Interest-based Gifts

For some coworkers, you may know about their interests. For example, I know one coworker is crazy about cake decorating, so I got her a magazine subscription for cake decorating. I knew nothing about cake decoration, but I did care enough to find one that had the highest rating and great reviews. My worker was so excited that she was going to hug and kiss me, but she resisted.

If you know your coworker is into gourmet cooking, then there are plenty of little kitchen gadgets you can get at a reasonable price. If she loves nature or gardening, get her a little plant that can withstand the office climate.

4. Practical Universal Gifts

It’s probably not very original, but really everyone would be able to enjoy a $5 Starbucks or Amazon gift card. You can also give them a gift card for Red Box video rental at the grocery store. Those are little gifts that you know will not be wasted and thrown away.

Omnisax Wanderlust Reusable Shopping Bags 5-packAnother universal gift is reusable shopping and produce bag. You can get a set of 5 or 7, then give each person one so it’s economical. Most importantly, you are encouraging eco-friendly behavior to reduce everyone’s carbon footprints.

5. A Card

Sometimes it really comes down to the real meaning of gift giving, which is to show appreciation and support to the people you care about. A heart-felt thank you and holiday wish is all I expect from my coworker. If I receive a personally written note that says more than Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday, I am quite satisfied.

A suggestion for you is to write something as specific as possible, such as “I really appreciate your help throughout the year, especially when you did so and so in the xyz project. I wish to continue to have an amazing working relationship with you next year. Enjoy your holiday with your husband Greg and your kids Emma and James.”

Christmas cardIf my coworkers care to listen and show that much appreciation, it’s definitely better than anything from the 99 cent store.

Comments? Any suggestions about these Christmas gifts for coworkers that won’t get throw away? Tell us your experience? Do share!