Choosing Appropriate Gag Gifts For Coworkers

The challenge of obtaining the perfect gag gift for a coworker is very different from that of selecting gag gifts for friends and family members. Often, the working relationship is more formal than other situations. This means you have to observe certain rules when selecting something that is humorous but still appropriate for the workplace. Here are three tips that will come in handy.

As with selecting a gag gift for anyone, it is important to make use of anything you know about the recipient of the gift. However, you may have to limit your use of that knowledge somewhat. Keep in mind that you are selecting the gift for someone in the workplace. That means personal information you learned at the water cooler may not be appropriate in this scenario. Limit your ideas to information about your coworker that has to do with the workplace, and steer clear of any gag gift that hints about the individual's personal life.

A second rule of thumb is to make sure the gag gift is not something that you or the recipient will have to live down for the next year or so. Just because you once heard your coworker jokingly say that the company would try to get blood from a rock, that does not mean you have to gift your coworker with a plaque that conveys the same sentiment. Depending on who sees the plaque, it could send a wrong message about attitudes in the office.

Keep the position of the individual in mind when choosing a gag gift. The type of gift you give someone who is considered your peer may be significantly different from what you could reasonably give to your boss or to someone who reports to you. Generally, gag gifts between peers are easier to select as there is generally less of a chance of someone reading an ulterior motive into the gift. But if you are not careful, your boss may see the gag gift as a subtle slam on their proficiency. At the same time, people you supervise could interpret an inappropriate gag gift as a commentary on their job performance.

Understanding the dynamics in your workplace and choosing the gag gift with those dynamics in mind will greatly increase your chances of making just the right impression. If in doubt, consult a coworker you can trust to keep the secret and get their reaction. Doing so may save you and everyone else a lot of embarrassment.

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