Coworker Gift Guide
I don’t know about you, but coming up with coworker gift ideas has always been a challenge for me. It’s difficult to figure out how much to spend on each person, who to buy for, what gifts to buy for busy people like my coworkers, and what gift is appropriate for the boss.
In 2020, it’s even more challenging. Maybe you’re concerned about spending too much money because of the uncertainty of what the next few months may bring. Or you’re still working from home, so you can’t just bring in your homemade trinkets that you’ve traditionally gifted to your coworkers.
Whatever the situation, we have you covered. Here are the best gifts for your coworkers this year.
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Cheap Coworker Gifts
When you buy gifts for all of the employees on your team, keeping prices down is a priority. That’s especially true if you’re still working from home. Shipping costs will add up if you send gifts to each coworker’s home, and that’s only possible if you have everyone’s address! That’s why we suggest sticking to gifts that can be emailed.
Coupons are a great, cheap gift for your coworkers. They don’t cost much money to buy, but the impact will be priceless! What’s better for an office worker than more time? An offer to cover emails for a week is more valuable and memorable than any physical gift. Give each team member a different coupon, or give the entire book to your Secret Santa!
Digital Gift Cards
I know, I know. Gift cards can be boring. But when you’re limited to sending gifts via email, they can be one of your most versatile choices. Amazon is a great option, with endless customizable designs and the ability to spend as much or as little as you choose. For coffee drinkers, Starbucks offers a ton of fun e-gift cards as low as $5. Or, let your coworkers choose their present. Giftogram allows the recipient to choose their gift card from a long list of options, which is perfect for picky coworkers!
A Book for their E-Reader
Do your coworkers love to read? There are a ton of inexpensive eBooks on Amazon, and they can easily be delivered via email! Your coworker won’t even need a tablet or e-reader to read them—just the Kindle app on their phone. Send everyone your new favorite read, or choose something special for each team member if you know what kind of books they like. This is a great gift for busy people with long commutes. They can make use of their time on the bus or train and read!
Secret Santa Gifts for Coworkers
If your team participates in a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange, you may have a bit more money to spend since you’re only buying for one person. Most gift exchanges will specify the price range, but it’s typically more than the $5 gifts I shared above.
If you’re looking for ideas on how to hold a gift exchange virtually, check out our digital White Elephant game.
Audio or Ebook Subscription
An Audible or Kindle Unlimited subscription is the perfect gift for your resident bookworm. Anticipating a return to the office soon? Audio books can help her commute go by in no time. Or give her a little bit more flexibility with all the eBooks she can read. Both Audible and Kindle Unlimited offer a variety of subscription options that can fit budgets as low as $5.
Grocery delivery has been a lifesaver this year. I use a few different services and never had to worry about running out of food or supplies, even at the height of the pandemic. I’ve continued using them, and am thankful for the convenient deliveries that save me time and the stress that comes with visiting stores nowadays. Why not give your coworker the gift of food and less stress, too? Here are a few of my favorite options.
Thrive Market is an ethical grocery store that offers products that are both healthy and sustainable. Their prices are very fair, but you do have to have a subscription to order from them. So why not buy your Secret Santa a yearly subscription and help them get healthy food until next Christmas? Bonus: every subscription purchased helps fund a subscription for a family in need.
Amazon Fresh is a no-brainer for anyone who already has a Prime membership. Check to make sure it’s available in your area first, but it’s a really easy way to order food right to your doorstep. Send your coworker an Amazon Gift Card right to their email, and they’ll be all set to order!
This option is only available if you live in the Mid-Atlantic area, but we love Fresh Direct! They offer a great selection with beautiful produce. You can send a gift card right to your coworker’s email to set them up with groceries for the next week (or whenever they don’t feel like schlepping to the store).
Looking for a gift for your coworker who loves to travel? International travel is pretty difficult right now, so why not prepare them for the next time they can leave the country by helping them brush up on their foreign language skills? I’ve tried a bunch of free and paid language learning programs, but nothing has stuck as well as Babbel.
I personally find Babbel to be addicting, without the stress of other programs that penalize you for incorrect answers. Honestly, this is the first time since college that I’ve been able to stay consistent with my German studying. I’d love to receive a gift card for Christmas to extend my membership (hint, hint family & friends!) and I’m sure your travel-loving friends would appreciate it, too.
Do you have a coworker who is OBSESSED with reality tv? Surprise them with a video message from their favorite reality tv star. Cameo has hundreds of reality stars, musicians, and athletes available to record a message for their biggest fans. Depending on their fame, the prices can get a bit high, but there are plenty of affordable options that any true reality-obsessed fan will love.
A Beachbody subscription is perfect for your fitness-obsessed coworker who’s too concerned to go back to the gym just yet. Beachbody is a great alternative to group fitness classes, with dozens of programs available. It doesn’t matter if your coworker prefers yoga and pilates or high intensity workouts, they’ll find something for them with Beachbody.
Charitable Gift Ideas for Your Boss
Buying a gift for your boss is a little trickier than for your regular coworkers. Gifts for your boss should be affordable but meaningful. You don’t want to be seen as trying to buy their favor, so boss gifts shouldn’t cost more than what you’re spending on your other coworkers.
For this gift guide, we’ll include presents that are ethically sourced or whose purchase supports charity, so you can focus on the positive message when giving the gift to your boss.
One Million Acres gives back in three ways: by protecting an acre of the rainforest for every bracelet purchased, planting trees, and providing fair-trade jobs to indigenous artisans. Their bracelets and apparel make a great gift for any earth-conscious boss!
Is your boss a big fan of music or plays? Buy them some merch from the National Independent Venue Association and help Save Our Stages! Live music and plays have all but disappeared during the pandemic. Help keep independent arts venues open by buying your boss a shirt or mask from NIVA.
Candles are a classic gift. But why get a mass-produced candle when you can get one crafted by refugees working to give their families better lives? Prosperity Candles is doing great work to help refugees in the US, and their candles are truly beautiful! Your boss will definitely appreciate the extra thought behind this gift.
I love the Nozomi Project. I first bought a pair of their earrings for my sister a few years ago, and have purchased a few more items from them since. Nozomi Project is a Japanese company that trains women to make beautiful jewelry and ornaments from broken pottery. Much of the jewelry comes from pottery that was damaged in the devastating 2011 tsunami, and it’s incredible to see how something beautiful can come from something so terrible. Not a bad message for 2020, right?
Is your boss a cat person? Get them this adorable cat oven mitt from Ten Thousand Villages, a pioneer in the fair trade and ethically-sourced industry. Their hand-crafted home goods are beautiful and perfect to give as gifts.
Gifts From the Boss
What do you get for your team when you’re the boss? Luckily, you should have access to your team members’ addresses, so you have a bit more flexibility. The key is to find something affordable but memorable, that all of your employees will appreciate. Here are a few suggestions.
Help your employees spruce up their workspaces with some motivational quote art. You know that your team isn’t going to be super positive all the time, so give them a little boost when they need inspiration. You’d be surprised how much quote art can help during a challenging moment!
This is my personal favorite gift to give coworkers. Wilbur Buds were (supposedly) the inspiration behind Hershey Kisses, but in my opinion, are 100x better. My dad used to get a box every Christmas from someone he worked with, and we would look forward to it every year. I’ve continued on the tradition by sending them to my family (and myself).
I also typically get a few boxes of Wilbur Buds to put on the communal tables in my department for everyone to share. If you are in the office, I wouldn’t recommend doing that this year, as no one will want to eat chocolate that someone else may have touched! But Wilbur Chocolate luckily offers smaller containers that are perfect for individual gifts. Trust me, I’ve gotten all my coworkers addicted. So much so, that I’ve heard from multiple coworkers who have gone out of their way when visiting Pennsylvania to stop at the Wilbur store in Lititz.
Gifts for Your New “Coworkers”
Let’s face it. Most of us gained new “coworkers” this spring when we started working from home. Your kids, husband, parents, or roommates suddenly became your coworkers. (Of course, my twin was already both my roommate and my coworker, so we were a step ahead on this trend!) Treat your new coworkers to some extra special gifts this year for all the times they put up with you kicking them out of the room for a Zoom call.
Ok. This might as well be a gift for yourself. But you and your coworkers deserve it! Wine clubs aren’t new, but there are some really cool new subscriptions available now that are both more affordable and more fun than your parent’s wine club. My favorite is Firstleaf.
Firstleaf creates a unique tasting profile for you based on your answers to a questionnaire and data they’ve collected from over 1,000,000 customer ratings. I’ve tried a lot of wine I never would have bought for myself in the store, and each bottle has been fantastic. Plus, just like my grocery subscriptions, it’s been a lifesaver during the pandemic. I definitely recommend this as a gift for any wine lover in your life.
23 and Me is a great gift for family members who are interested in their family tree or health information. And who knows? You might find out something surprising, like I did.
Our whole lives, my sister and I were told we were fraternal twins, because that’s what the doctor told our mom when we were born. We both did 23 and Me a few years ago, and to our great shock, it said we were identical! We definitely look alike, but we also can see some big differences. It’s been a couple years, and we’re still facing a bit of an identity crisis over it.
You probably won’t get any shocking news like we did, but wouldn’t it be cool to find out you have heritage you never would have known about? I personally love seeing when new distant relatives get added to the platform. It’s a really great way to connect with your family and learn more about yourself.
Do you have a chocolate addict in your household? You can’t go wrong with a Velvetiser from Hotel Chocolat. It honestly makes the best homemade hot chocolate I have ever had, and it’s so simple to use. Even more importantly, it’s super easy to clean! Your entire family will thank you for this gift. I was skeptical about buying a machine just to make hot chocolate, but it’s so much better than sugary packets of hot chocolate, and so much easier than sweating over a pot trying not to burn melting chocolate. I have a LOT of kitchen gadgets, and this is easily one of my favorites.
Give your home coworker the gift of less back pain with a standing desk. I’ve extolled the benefits of mine multiple times before, but it really has made a difference. It’s definitely the best addition to my home office that I’ve made since I’ve started working from home, and I’m confident your housemate will appreciate it as much as I do.
Buying Gifts in 2020
When buying gifts for your coworkers this holiday season, remember this isn’t a normal year. Keep in mind that we’re all in different situations, and your coworker may be balancing remote learning while worrying about their partner who lost their job in the pandemic. You might be struggling yourself. It’s okay to spend less (or no!) money this holiday season, and give cards or homemade gifts instead.
But don’t forget to have fun! Throw a virtual holiday party to exchange your gifts and let loose for a little while after a difficult year. You deserve it.