Winning Workplace Gifts

With holiday mode in full swing, everyone's busy making their lists, including, quite probably, you and your boss.

Almost 60 percent of managers say they'll spread good cheer around the office this year by giving presents to their employees, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder.com.

Their spending varies.

A third say they'll spend $10 or less per staffer, while 10 percent say they'll pony up more than $50 per person.

Twenty-nine percent of workers will reciprocate the gesture, with those making less than $50,000 the most likely to buy holiday gifts for their bosses.

When it comes to your workplace giving, consider a few tips when making your list so you'll be more Santa than Scrooge around the office:

Cash is king. Cash and gift cards always top the list of favorite gifts. But don't purchase a gift card if you're not sure where the recipient likes to shop. Billions of dollars of gift cards go unused each year, some of which even turn up on eBay. Last year a friend of mine received a $25 gift certificate to a wine shop, but neither she nor her husband drink. Since her name was printed on it, she couldn't re-gift it either!

Careful when you re-gift. For just $10, including shipping, SendABall.com will ship a bouncy ball to your lucky co-worker or client. The postage is placed right on the ball, so it's delivered without any exterior packaging. Make a clever statement by saying, "I had a ball working with you" or "Let's have a ball working together in 2007."

Don't get too personal. If you would rather buy a gift over giving money, avoid perfume, lingerie, religious items, or anything too personal. Don't confuse personalized with personal. Monogrammed gifts ranging from golf balls to note cards are usually well-received. It's also a sign that the gift was purchased only for the intended recipient. Sweets and other edibles are popular. Even if the recipient has dietary restrictions that prevent him or her from enjoying them, food products can easily be shared with others.

Be charitable. If you're stuck or you don't want the value of your gift revealed, make a donation in your recipient's honor to the charity of your choice. It's always nice to select an organization that has special meaning to the recipient.

Tory Johnson is the workplace contributor for "Good Morning America" and the CEO of WomenForHire.com.

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