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All They Want for Christmas is...Not These Things

Workplace Gift Do's and Don'ts

By Jessica Lawmaster A couple of years ago, I took to Instagram and asked folks about the best and worst gifts they have ever received from their employers. I was NOT prepared for the entertainment that followed.

I thought I'd pass along some advice (and giggles) to you this year.

Here are the TOP 11 WORST HOLIDAY GIFTS from employers that y'all shared:

1. An ugly glass award with my name spelled wrong.⁣ 2: A turkey. I am a vegetarian.⁣ 3. A ham. I was 17.⁣ 4. A half-frozen pumpkin pie.⁣ 5. Hats that we were all then forced to wear.⁣ 6. Credit to buy company swag.⁣ 7. A coupon to the hospital cafeteria.⁣ 8. A rock that said "FAMILY"⁣ 9. A "worry less" stone.⁣ 10. A container of stress putty.⁣ 11. A $20 Christmas bonus with taxes taken out so it was really $12 with a tract about Jesus's birthday.⁣

Okay, on a more helpful note, here are the types of GIFTS Y'ALL LOVE:

  1. A thoughtful handwritten card or note that demonstrates the recipient is truly seen - Expressions of care that are authentic and clearly unique to the recipient. Y'all shared that you often love this more than actual gifts.

  2. Cash...bonuses are much appreciated. For real. Stress balls don't pay the bills.

  3. Gift certificates to local businesses (bookstores, restaurants, grocery stores, etc.) People were most excited about being gifted with certificates to local shops, or something personal to them.

  4. Aside from the items above, some people reported liking local gifts (coffee, art, etc.) but it was clear that there is a fine line between nailing it and...failing it. They can go wrong very easily. When in doubt, go with options 1, 2, and/or 3.

  5. Did I mention cash?


  • Remember that what YOU would like may not be what your employees/coworkers would want.

  • If you are an organization that is committed to liberation, consider gifts or gift cards from local businesses owned by BIPOC folks, women, and LGBTQIA+ community members.

  • Always include a thoughtful note that is specific to the recipient. Honor their strengths you noticed in the past year, as well as what you're excited about in the year ahead.

  • Get personal, but not weird. Keep it light, thoughtful, and bonus points for humor.

As this year comes to an end and you're looking for a thoughtful card that speaks from the heart and doesn't center a specific faith, check out The Kindred Shop's Holiday Collection.

However you decide to honor and celebrate your team this year, dig deep and get personal. And whatever you do, don't buy them meat.

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