December 9, 2009 | Diane Johnson | Leave a comment Holiday gifts in the office can be a little bit awkward. For starters most people are thankful that they still have their jobs and many want to show gratitude by giving their boss a present. It may seem like a simple task. Well it’s not! It’s actually extremely difficult because you don’t want to spend too much but you don’t want to look cheap. Plus you have to think about whether they would really like the gift and what messages it could possibly be sending. If an employee gives a gift to their boss it can come with a lot of negatives. It may be seen as brown nosing, or they may feel pressured into spending more than they want to. Plus if you buy a bad gift that could be uncomfortable in the office. But if you give a lavish gift then the boss feels that they must reciprocate and that makes them feel awkward because they don’t want to seem like they have favorites. Not only can gift giving be difficult with your boss but also with your coworkers. The problem is where do you draw the line? You may have lots of friends at work and you may not have the money to buy them all gifts. So do you buy everyone a cheap gift or buy a nice gift but only for your closest friends? Or do you buy only a few gifts and hope that no one else is around when you distribute them and that the word doesn’t get out? Either way you might get into trouble financially or with friends and coworkers. It’s a tough draw. Plus, there’s always that awkward moment when someone gives you a gift and you don’t have a present for them. It’s usually okay if you haven’t given out any gifts yet but if you have and you forgot or decided not to give the person a gift then you feel like a complete idiot and jerk. Quick excuses may put them off but it’s an awkward situation for everyone. So if you don’t know about whether you can give a boss or fellow coworkers a gift read the employee handbook because you don’t want to be caught giving a gift if it’s an ethics violation. Plus if you have an employer that has cut hours or is forcing you to do the work of two jobs you probably don’t want to give them a gift. Plus, with these economic times everyone’s budget is tighter. So is it okay to skip the present for the boss? According to Stephen Viscusi the author of “Bulletproof Your Job,” he says that if you give a gift “it just makes it seem like you are out of touch with the economic times.” However, if you’re still in the giving mood and want to give presents then go ahead. But just don’t expect a gift in return. Plus make sure you really think carefully about the gift before you buy it and give it away. And have some extra gifts on hand just in case someone gives you a gift you weren’t expecting. Gift giving can be fun in the office but it’s also stressful and challenging. Whatever you decide, make sure that if you decide to pass out gifts that they are appropriate and fit the person.