Have you been on the receiving end of an inappropriate gift from a friend, family member, or colleague? As harmless as gift-giving may seem, choosing the wrong gift can vex your receiver and possibly even permanently damage the relationship between you two.


Why is this important?

Company holiday festivities are a great way to connect with your colleagues and form favorable impressions of yourself beyond your work capabilities. It's an opportunity for you to tell others more about your character and personality in a low-pressure environment. It's also a time for you to decide on the people you'd like to get to know more or less in the workplace.

Reminder: In the workplace, soft skills can be just as important as your technical skills so if you need a quick reminder on the difference between the two, take a look here.

To help prevent any lasting problems with co-workers, we've come up with five Yankee Swap etiquette tips to steer you in the right direction when purchasing your holiday gifts this year. Added bonus: they'll be sure to increase holiday cheer and boost workplace morale!

1. No Joke Gifts (No Matter How Funny You Think They'll Be)

via GIPHY

There's a reason why various comedians exist—humor is subjective and will not please every single person in the audience. Jokes can also fall into the realm of offensiveness very quickly. It's best to avoid any gifts that joke about politics, race, or nudity.

2. Extravagant Gifts

via GIPHY

This one may not be quite obvious, but very expensive gifts can actually send the wrong impression at work. It can be perceived as being boastful or conceited. This can also inadvertently make those with lower budgets feel inferior.

It's best to plan a budget between $20-50 per gift. Therefore, we would recommend opting out of diamond jewelry, plane tickets, or spa retreat certificates. Save those goodies for close family or friends and give them away in private settings!

3. Food, Maybe

via GIPHY

Food is a wonderful way to enhance the holiday spirit at a party. But, it's best to take caution if you're the one bringing the goodies.

If you are making homemade treats, be sure to list out every ingredient on a small card in case anyone has any dietary restrictions, allergies, or sensitivities. Gifting a homemade brownie to a person with a honey allergy who breaks out in hives within moments will be a surefire way to burst holiday fun.

4. Fragrances

via GIPHY

This one is also pretty subjective because certain smells can be delightful to some while evoking an urge to vomit in others. It's best to avoid any perfumes or colognes when possible.

5. Alcohol

via GIPHY

Gifting alcohol can also send off the wrong vibe during a company-held holiday event. This is for various reasons—some people may simply not be alcohol drinkers or others may associate someone who gifts alcohol as a "partier."

Impressions matter here. You want to choose a gift that will not only be a crowd-pleaser, but can accommodate most people despite their health, age, or diet.

So, What Should You Bring?

via GIPHY

After reading this list, we hope we've helped clarify a few Yankee Swap gift-giving techniques that will be sure to win hearts at your next event. To get you started, here are three universally simple gift ideas we recommend:

  1. A $25 gift card to a local grocery store. Who doesn't buy groceries of some sort?
  2. Stationary set including pens, pencils, and a notebook. This can always come in handy!
  3. Movie theater certificate (set of 2). Most people visit a movie theater at least once in their lifetime so this perfectly casual entertainment gift will surely not go to waste.

We here at Work It Daily love to simplify things for you, especially your career questions. We are available for 1:1 coaching, interview prep, and resume tips so you can win the hearts of employers during the hiring process.


What is one career goal you have not been able to achieve, and why? Gift yourself career success this holiday season by joining our career growth club today!