Purchasing a gift for work colleagues can be a bit of a nail biter. You don’t want to get anything too personal like lotion, clothes or jewelry and you also probably want to avoid gag gifts because they can be very much hit or miss in these situations.

There are plenty of ways to honor your workplace tradition of gift giving without making it awkward for them or you.

Take a look at some of these very thoughtful, very useful gift ideas for a holiday or special event celebration that will surely brighten any coworker’s day.

Best Gift Ideas for Coworkers

Zen Garden

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Get it at Kohl’s

Gift ideas for coworker sanity, like this mini Zen garden, are going to be much appreciated because they can make the day a little less stressful.

It comes in a black container and includes sand, a rake and smooth pebbles. It’s the perfect size for a desk or tabletop and looks great with any décor. This Zen Garden is a great way to reduce anxiety, relieve stress or start a conversation.

Desk Fan

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Get it at Home Depot

Finding gift ideas for a coworker that are actually useful is truly an accomplishment that will also earn you major brownie points.

Your coworker will love you forever for helping them stay cool with this awesome looking personal desk fan. USB-powered, it ensures maximum comfort by providing two speed settings and adjustable airflow.

Quiet and sturdy, it won’t disturb the office vibe.

Felt Letter Board

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Get it at Target

Not just one of best retirement gift ideas for coworkers, this felt letter board is perfect for all occasions.

340 characters (letters, numbers and punctuation) come with this board, allowing them to say whatever is on their mind. Bonus points if you write a message when you present it to them.

The premium oak frame can be hung or kept on the desk and the beautiful black felt has strong grip for the letters.

Mini Desk Vacuum

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Get it at Urban Outfitters

Tiny dust balls and crumbs can plague the surrounding desk space, but this battery operated mini vacuum is powerful enough to clean it all up.

Available in three different farm animals, a cow, pig and cat, its one touch operation is easy and convenient.

When you need Secret Santa gift ideas for coworkers you don’t know that well, this mini desk vacuum is super helpful, super cute and there is no one who won’t get a laugh, too.

Sunrise Alarm Clock

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Get it at Best Buy

No one will think you are telling them to get to work on time once they see this beautifully designed clock that simulates the sunrise. They will be grateful.

It wakes you up gently and has a night light with six changing colors and natural sounds.

Some gift ideas for a coworkers Christmas present can leave a bad taste. This alarm won’t be one of them.

Desktop Mug Warmer

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Get it at Mr. Coffee

There’s no rule that says small gift ideas for coworkers can’t be just as good as a pricier item. With this gift they can keep their coffee or tea steaming hot, just the way everyone likes it, all morning.

The sleek, low profile won’t clutter their office space and it will look great even if they decide to take it home to use by the couch instead.

Flip Over Mood Messages

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Get it at Walmart

Helping your coworker get something off their mind is what makes this flip-over message board one of the best gift ideas for coworkers.

They can greet clients and customers with humor or simply tell everyone that they are out for lunch, so don’t expect anything from them.

It comes with 30 unique messages as well as blank cards and an erasable pen so they can communicate their personal musings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gifts for Colleagues: The Dos and Don’ts

Giving a gift to your colleagues is not mandatory, but it is nice and a great way to keep your fellow comrades feeling good.

Coworker gifts can also go a long way to creating some goodwill in the office that you may need the next time you’re behind on a deadline.

Follow these guidelines to make sure the gift is successful.

Rules – The Dos

Decide who is on your list

Giving a gift to everyone in the company is unnecessary and impractical. Instead, purchasing gifts for those with whom you interact daily is more appropriate.

Make sure you adhere to gift giving policies – written and unwritten. Find out if colleagues have a tradition of exchanging wine and books or giving gift cards.

Just don’t get forget to get something or you’ll be known as the office Grinch.

Stick to the budget

Gift exchanges like Secret Santa or Yankee Swap, typically have price limits in professional settings. There may be a $40 limit, for instance. Don’t exceed this. If no hard rule for spending is in place, try to spend around the same amount that your coworkers will be spending.

Ask a colleague what the custom is if this is your first company gift-giving event.

Give a thoughtful gift

Food is welcome but only gift a coworker food if you know their dietary restrictions and allergies. Alcohol is usually welcome but make sure their religion or personal preferences allow them to partake.

If you are participating in a gift exchange, rely on what you know about your coworkers’ hobbies, interests, favorite colors and personalities. Go for practical, yet thoughtful gifts, like those on this list.

Rules – The Don’ts

Be mindful of the exchange

If you are only buying for a few coworkers, exchange gifts after hours when other people aren’t around. You can also present your gift during a private lunch.

The point is, thoughtful adults are kind enough to make sure other colleagues don’t feel left out.

Don’t dismiss different beliefs

Of course you want to spread holiday cheer, but everyone doesn’t have the same beliefs as you. Assuming anything else is not a good idea.

Exercise caution to make sure your gift is received positively.

Never forget to use common sense

If a gag gift feels over the top, ditch it. If a coffee mug slogan is pushing a boundary, leave it at the store.

Common sense supersedes all other rules. If there’s even a minor gut feeling that a gift could be misconstrued, don’t buy it.

Summary

Maneuver the holidays or any office gift-giving event with confidence, avoiding the candles and useless desk toys that will end up in the next company grab bag.

With all the fantastic choices available, there’s no reason not to get your coworker something they’ll love.