As Christmas time approaches, the list of people we’re buying for seems to never stop expanding.
Family members, Secret Santa parties, your family, your friends, your friends’ kids… and of course, your coworkers. The stress of picking out Christmas gifts for coworkers usually depends on how close you are as a team.
If your coworkers are more like family, your desk mate more like your work wife, and your boss is regularly in the trenches with your daily tasks, you may already know exactly what you’ll get for each of them, because you have a close and comfortable relationship. For most of us, though, this isn’t the case.
There are some coworkers we don’t know very well and sometimes more than one Christmas party to attend where we bring a nondescript gift.
To help you out this year, we’ve curated 12 Christmas gifts for coworkers that your officemates will love, no matter their style.
If you’re headed to an office party or buying for your best friend from the art department, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect choice for them here.
1. New Notebook
Notebooks aren’t an indulgence everyone affords themselves. Picking up scratch paper at the office or jotting down a note in your phone is pretty typical, so presenting a coworker with a beautiful, functional notebook will seem like a special treat.
When giving gifts that may evoke blank canvas syndrome, I like to write a note on a cut-off sheet of paper and stick it inside the book on the first page. Consider writing something inspiring, like:
- Use this notebook as the hatchery for your next great idea.
- I know you’ve been pursuing [health, wellness, a new skill or craft], so I thought you could use this journal as a place to record your progress and reflect on your journey.
- If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few of my favorite journaling prompts that get my creativity going:
- What is something – a journey, an activity, a project, a event – that you have wanted to experience for some time? What’s holding you back from pursuing it?
- Write down ten things you’re grateful for today.
- Who inspires you? Why?
2. Reusable Water Bottle
Whether you work in an office or as a remote team scattered across the country, a nice reusable water bottle would be a stellar choice for any coworker. Glass water bottles like this one from BKR are perfect for carrying any variety of beverages. Plastic bottles tend to take on the flavor of strong drinks like coffee and juice, but BKR can be used anytime.
Consider writing your favorite to-go drink recipe on the card you attach to this gift, inspiring the recipient to get creative and hydrated.
3. Gourmet Chocolates
If you’ve never had a Ferrero Rocher truffle, you are absolutely missing out. These chocolates are big in Europe and are still somewhat uncommon in the US, so presenting a flat of these to a coworker or as a dish at a holiday party will make very tasty waves.
Gourmet chocolates used to be reserved for romantic gifts, but giving chocolates has become a lot more casual. These would make a perfect gift for someone you don’t know very well or as a fairly neutral Secret Santa gift at your next office party.
4. Fountain Pen
Fountain pens are almost immediately associated with high class and assumed to be expensive. However, they don’t have to break the bank. This Pilot fountain pen that we carry in the Ink+Volt catalog is one of the most affordable on the market and is highly rated by fountain pen beginners and experts alike.
Presented in a clear top hinged case, this fountain pen is a luxurious-yet-affordable treat you can spoil one of your favorites with, and it’s something they can use every day.
My mother taught me that the best gifts are thought and useful. If the recipient can enjoy your gift day after day for years to come, they will always carry a piece of you with them, and think of you fondly.
5. Office Blanket
Can I get a show of hands who is tired of freezing in the office? [Both hands up]. No amount of cute cardigans and subtle layers can make the chill of office air conditioning bearable. Come to the rescue of your freezing coworker with a chic throw blanket that can keep them warm while still looking professional.
When looking for a throw blanket to use in an office setting, especially if you’re buying online and can’t feel the blanket before purchasing, keep in mind how thick and bulky the throw will be. If you choose something that looks blatantly like a blanket, you may get a few raised eyebrows across the office. Look for a piece that is:
- Thinner, appearing less chunky and more ‘woven’, meaning you can see the stitches and they have an elegant appearance.
- Decorative, the way you’d want a scarf to be. Think: tassles, herringbone stitch, color block, and clean edging.
- Small, as in not accidentally purchasing a queen-sized blanket. Look for pieces that are 60×50” or smaller.
If you can’t find a throw blanket that you like, do a quick search for “blanket scarf” and you’ll find what is essentially a smaller throw blanket marketed as apparel that just might do the trick.
6. Creative Play Journal
For the less-than-artsy one on your team, this journal is a breath of fresh air. It may be tempting to purchase this for the already creative person, but those individuals often have their own creative routines and outlets, leaving this journal to sit prettily on a shelf collecting dust.
This journal is the perfect tool to help those who are less confident in their artistic expression to get comfortable with making art. Doodling, writing, painting, pasting in found items – you’ll be gifting your coworker with seemingly endless inspiration for personal expression.
7. Screen Cleaning Set
There’s nothing wrong with giving a very practical gift… and this will be on my Christmas list this year. Almost all of our devices come with screen cleaning cloths, and some come with cleaning solution, but those things are lost almost instantly. We’re left to rely on whatever shirt or paper napkin nearby when our device screen and eyeglasses become too smudged to function.
Wrapping a screen cleaning set in a cute bag or pouch could be a day-maker for any coworker.
8. Essential Oil Diffuser
Depending on the layout of your office, this may be perfect for your coworker’s desk. If you’re in an open space, they’ll love to have this at home. The kit above comes with a small set of essential oils, making this 100% beginner friendly.
If you’ve worked with essential oils before (and even if you haven’t), consider putting a few ideas inside the card for scent blends the recipient can try at home. From this kit, I would suggest:
- Rosemary | Frankincense
- Lavender | Peppermint (and, if they have vanilla extract, a couple drops will kick this up a notch!)
- Peppermint | Eucalyptus
9. Desk Calendar
Not everyone has the wall-space for a hanging wall calendar, so a desktop pad that can be written on, scribbled out, and customized is the perfect gift for a coworker you don’t know very well. It’s an opportunity to get organized and also a stationery luxury not many afford themselves.
When considering giving a gift, I try to keep in mind:
- Would they buy this for themselves? Why or why not?
- Do they have a use for this item? Are the aware of the need, and if not, how could I help them see and implement its usefulness?
If you’re friendly with the recipient of this gift, consider leaving a funny note on one of the days, like reminding them to send you a box of chocolates on your birthday. Or, penciling in the next big deadline for your team.
10. High Quality Tea
The elegance of tea in a tin… not something we see so much anymore, as we are accustomed to purchasing tea from who-knows-where in flimsy cardboard boxes. Harney & Sons has been blending teas for almost 100 years and they’ve never stopped striving for quality and style.
Even if your coworker isn’t a ‘tea person,’ there are numerous blends that just about anyone would enjoy. Consider gifting a seasonal blend like the White Christmas or Holiday tins.
After they’ve enjoyed the tea, the tin can be repurposed into a lovely pen cup, succulent planter, or pinhole camera!
11. Reusable Lunch Set
Having a reusable lunch set is something many people want but don’t actually purchase for themselves. They aren’t very expensive and they save a tremendous amount of wasted plastic and paper of the course of their lifetime. Treat your coworker to a full set of take-away cutlery, including a straw and cleaner, and totally upgrade their lunchbox game.
12. Classy Mug
Is a coworker gift guide complete without a classy mug? Of course not. This must be the single-most gifted item in the office, and many of us are already at capacity of mugs in our home. But, how many gorgeous, unique, and stylish mugs do you have? How many would you feel comfortable showing off for the whole office to see?
The above Anthropologie-sourced mug is merely one example of cute, inexpensive mugs that make stellar coworker gifts. Here are my favorite places to find cute mugs when I have gifts to give:
- West Elm
- Crate & Barrel
- World Market
Many of these places offer mugs designed by independent artists, so make sure to share that bit of trivia with your recipient, who may enjoy that fact even more.
Office gift exchanges, Christmas parties, and making sure there’s enough for everyone: with this list, you’ll have the best Christmas gifts for coworkers on the team!