Q: Jill, can you recommend some good gifts for the office this year? I did mugs last year but I’d like to do something a bit more personal this year as we’ve got a bit more of a budget.



A: Congratulations on that additional budget — no sock puppets this year, eh? I’m sure the mugs went over well. That’s a tried and true gift and something that is always necessary in the office. That is important: Give a small gift that can be used daily at the office. You want to stay away from anything too personal such as clothing, fragrances, or accessories unless you’ve developed a close relationship with the employee and you know his or her style inside out.


Furthermore, those types of items can be pricey. The idea is more of a ‘token of kindness.’ Adeodata Czink, president of Business of Manners suggests staying away from chocolate and alcohol. Again these two are very personal items and could also be inappropriate should the recipient be allergic, watching their calorie intake or quite honestly a recovering alcoholic.

Gift certificates to local coffee shops, bookstores or the movies are always winners. If you’ve got a hefty budget, what about certificates for a mini-spa experience or a trip to their favourite restaurant? For an entire department treat, I’d be sure to check out the Fairmont Toronto Royal York’s packages (www.fairmont.com). It’s the new trend for the best employers to plan overnight or weekend rejuvenation for their staff. The hotel was recently voted one of the seven top spots in the city for service excellence by Meetings and Incentive Travel Magazine.

In the case of gifts, always include gift receipts so the person can do ‘guilt free’ returns without concerns of offending anyone.

Look at your colleagues’ desks and ask yourself what might be missing that you could add a personalized touch to? Maybe an updated name plate, a picture frame for all the loose pictures he or she has tapped to the computer or maybe a brand new refill of sticky notes for that person who always seems to forget? The idea is you don’t have to give them the world. You just want to show them that you appreciate that they are in yours!


jill’s tip of the week

  • When purchasing cards for the season, especially those for professional contacts, be sure to select all inclusive “holiday” cards with simple, non denominational messages — unless you know the person’s beliefs and what kind of card they are going to enjoy!