Holiday Tips: Gift-Giving Dos and Don'ts

These tips for gift-giving will get you prepared for the holiday season.

Holidays are a particularly busy time of year, and you probably want to make sure you include some acknowledgment of your co-workers or peers. Use these quick holiday tips to help you find the perfect gift.

Do Work Within Your Gift Policy

If you're getting a gift for a co-worker, know the rules before you shop and share them with others in your department or team to make sure everyone's on the same page. If you're unsure, asking human resources can help clarify.

Do Make Gifts for Groups of People Shareable or of the Same Value

If you're asked to buy a gift for a group, you can't go wrong with a gourmet food basket or tower -- just make sure that snacks are individually packaged. If you decide to buy gifts for individuals, be sure that they're of equal value, such as an assortment of gift cards of the same denomination.

Do Make Gifts Personal

When shopping for a gift for a specific team member or friend, get them something that matches their personality. Stationery and tech gadgets appeal to a wide range of interests.

If you're tasked with purchasing gifts for team members you're not familiar with, ask around and see what co-workers might recommend for a recipient you don't know as well.

Do Make Your Gifts Functional

Gifts that the recipient can use regularly always go over big. Shopping for a road warrior? Try a travel accessory. Know someone who's environmentally conscious? Consider a customized, reusable tote or water bottle. Think about what a particular person on your list might use every day, and start your shopping there.

Do Consider Dietary Restrictions

If you're considering food gifts or baking at home, don't forget that there might be people with dietary restrictions. Consider ordering a vegetarian option or even a gluten-free dessert.

Don't Overspend

It's easy to get caught up in the idea of the perfect gift and be tempted to go over your budget, but sticking to a budget (and avoiding lavish gifts) lets everyone know they're valued.

Don't Skip Out on the Gift Exchange

Gifts might not be your thing, but they can be someone else's. A virtual gift exchange, like a secret Santa, is about everyone having fun. Encourage others to participate by reminding them about the fun aspects.

Don't Be Inappropriate

A work gift exchange isn't the place to focus on that private joke you share with a trusted co-worker. Avoid the temptation to go the gag-gift route and focus on sincerity instead.

Don't Be Insensitive to People Not on Your List

While you might only be close enough with a few co-workers to exchange gifts, don't forget the feelings of people who may be hurt they weren't included. Be discreet even though you're excited you found the perfect gift.

Don't Forget That Your Boss Is Your Boss

If you're considering buying a gift for your boss, keep all the dos above in mind along with a special don't: Don't go overboard. This isn't the time to jockey for a promotion or apologize for a missed deadline. You can do something meaningful and special, but keep it on par with your other holiday gift budgets.

With these holiday tips, your holiday gift-giving efforts are bound to be appreciated, and the experience will be much smoother. An early start means more time to select the most thoughtful gifts possible and ensure enough time for delivery.