Gift Ideas for Coworkers, Bosses, and Teachers

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The holiday season is hectic and budgets are tight, so finding a gift for anyone can be stressful. Choosing professional gifts, especially for your superiors, means even more stress. Whether or not you give presents at the office or school will depend on a variety of factors, most importantly your relationship to the potential recipient and the workplace culture. If you feel gift-giving is appropriate but are at a loss for ideas, consider the following professional and budget-friendly gift options.

Gourmet Food, Coffee or Tea

If your colleague always has a mug in hand, specialty coffee or tea may be the perfect gift. Try a variety gift basketĀ  or sampler pack that’s likely to include something they’ll love. If your coworker isn’t a coffee or tea person, food is another great alternative. Many online stores offer gourmet food baskets that come in a variety of sizes so you can choose the price range that fits your budget. For healthy eaters try a fruit basket and for those with a sweet tooth, choose high quality chocolate.

Travel Mug

A travel mug is a safe choice, because everyone could use a spill-proof drink container for commuting and at work. You can choose the style that suits the recipient’s taste, including favorite colors and designs. For a laid-back environment and closer relationships, you may choose a mug with your colleague’s favorite sports team or movie. A more subdued mug could work for a boss or buttoned-up work environment.

Stationary Set

Even in a world of mostly online communication, everyone needs to keep good stationary on hand. Stationary is a good choice for bosses, coworkers, and teachers. Simple designs are best, because they appear more professional and lend themselves to a wider variety of uses. More personalization may be added if you know the recipient well.

Executive Pen

As with stationary, everyone could use a nice pen. Executive pens are perfect for a boss or teacher, and can be paired with stationary for a more elaborate gift. You can also have pens personalized to prevent the common workplace problem of unintentional pen theft.

Desk Accessories and Gadgets

Desk accessories are also great for bosses and teachers. Some ideas include pen or business card holders, calenders, and mousepads. You may also choose more fun options, such as mini zen gardens or magnetic office toys. As with other gifts, what you choose will depend on your work culture and relationship to the recipient.


A more personal but safe choice, decorative scented candles are perfect for coworkers or acquaintances. You may also choose potpourri or fragrance diffusers instead of candles. With so many size and fragrance options available, candles are an easy choice that most recipients can use.

Selecting a professional gift can seem intimidating, but you should find something from the suggestions above that fits your budget and office culture. When in doubt, go with safer options or defer to more experienced colleagues when buying the boss a gift.