If you're like most people, you'll be giving gifts to your co-workers this holiday season. An Office Depot survey of 200 consumers (split equally between men and women) found that just 22% do not participate in office giving.
Instead, most either give via Secret Santa or similar programs (73%) or give directly to co-workers (68%) — or both. Most people give four to five gifts at the office, with an average price of $20 or less, the survey found.
The survey also looked at the gifts that most people want to receive. At the top: gift cards, chosen by 55%. The next biggest category: office-related products. Items like desk organizers, tech accessories, coffee mugs and calendars were desired by 26%.
Keep in mind when creating your shopping list that there are certain gifts you should not give. Political, religious or sexually inappropriate gifts are a bad idea, advises Business Insider. Also avoid personal items like clothes, perfume, red roses or alcohol, as well as potentially offensive gag gifts.
This still leaves a wealth of holiday gift ideas, many of them inexpensive enough to fit Secret Santa budget limits. Here are 10 suggestions:
1. Gift cards
As the Office Depot survey found, this is what most people want and also what people like to give (51% reported it as their top choice). No wonder: they're easy to buy and can be personalized if you know a co-worker's favorite store or restaurant. You can also give gift cards from entertainment venues such as movie theaters or mini-golf parks.
2. Tech accessories
Consider phone or tablet stands so these devices can sit on your recipient's desk. Another idea: portable chargers for added mobility and convenience.
3. Pen sets
People still write the old-fashioned way — pen to paper — so a classy pen or pencil set is a good gift. Also consider including stylus pens for touchscreen input.
Chocolates, cookies or other treats — either homemade or store-bought — are almost always a welcome gift. Just be aware of recipients' allergies or sensitivities, such as to nuts or gluten.
5. Paper products
Sticky notes and holders or memo pads come in many creative shapes, colors and sizes, and also can be personalized with the recipient's name.
6. Business card accessories
Business card cases or display holders to position on a desktop are available in a range of materials, sizes and shapes.
7. Coffee- or tea-themed gifts
An assortment of flavored or specialty coffees or teas, along with an attractive thermal mug, is a gift most people can use. Tea drinkers can also use other accessories, such as infusers and cozies.
8. Calendars and planners
Choose from wall or desk calendars, personalized to your co-worker's interests or hobbies. Or consider a daily planner that can be carried in a purse or briefcase.
9. Picture frames
Almost everyone on your gift list can use an attractive picture frame to adorn a desk, or, if your office accommodates it, to display on the wall.
10. Planters and vases
Does your co-worker like greenery or flowers? Consider an attractive planter, flowerpot or vase to decorate a desktop or office space.
Lorna Collier is a Chicago-area writer whose articles on business and technology have appeared in the AARP Bulletin, Intuit Small Business Blog, Workforce Management, Crain’s Chicago Business, CNN, US News, the Chicago Tribune, and others. Follow her @lornacollier.