So what exactly is an appropriate gift you can buy for that co-worker that you either might not know very well, or that will be acceptable when opened in front of everyone?
Here is a list of gift ideas (most under $20) that should fit the bill.
Desk Sized Magnetic Sculptures - I have rarely seen the employee that can help themselves from playing around with a magnetic sculpture that is sitting on their desk while they are talking on the phone. They come in all different styles such as hearts, nuts and bolts, musical notes, sports balls, golf players, fish - the list goes on. Giftsforprofessionals.com is a great site to find these sculptures and they will only run you about $17.00.
DeskSizedZenGarden - Another great item to keep idle hands busy while talking on the phone. Also a great stress reducer. They have the typical little gardens that come with rake and rocks, but have also come out with some uniquely themed ones such as a mini construction site complete with bull dozers, a gold course, a mini camping site and more. Giftsforprofessionals.com is a good site for this as well. They have at least 12 different themes available.
Pimp My Cubicle: This is a funny little set that you can find on Findgift.com. This tongue-in-cheek kit contains everything you need to pimpify a bland and uninspired workspace: a dollar-sign paperweight, gold push-pins, leopard print fringe to run around the edge of your cubicle, a disco ball, and "Bling" mousepad. Great for people who are known to decorate their cubicles.
The Cube: This is another gift a coworker can have fun with. It is a little plastic model cubicle set that can be designed to match your coworkers own cubicle. Each set has one 2.75" plastic figure, plastic parts include: four walls, desk, chair, file cabinet, in/out box, phone, and computer. If you really want to make the gift fun - take pictures of your coworkers cubicle and set up the model to look exactly like their workspace before you give it them. You'll definitely get points for creativity. You can also find this item on Findgift.com. Just type in The Cube in the search box. Only $12.99.
General Gift Ideas:
Christmas Ornaments - Does your co-worker have a favorite cartoon character on their desk? Do they ride a Harley on the weekend? There are Christmas ornaments that depict almost any interest and it is sure to be an item they will be able to use on their tree year after year.
Books - Have you noticed what kind of books they enjoy reading? A book in the same genre is always a good idea. If you are not sure, a gift certificate for Amazon.com will probably have them on line ordering before the end of the day.
Desk Calendar - Again, if they have a particular interest that you are aware of, chances are there is a calendar that portrays that interest. Of coarse, there are always the new word of the day calendars, joke of the day calendars and cartoon calendars that can give them a laugh at the start of each day. Calendars.com has hundreds of selections to choose from.
Make A Small Gift Basket - A small basket that contains a theme is always a hit. For example, a movie basket. Put in a $15 Blockbuster card, movie sized candy and a bag or two of unpopped microwave popcorn. You can do one that centers around a spa theme with lotions and bath oils, a car wash baskset tht includes a free car wash gift certificate, air fresheners, etc., or even a basket based around their favorite theme. If they like the Simpsons for example, do a basket filled with little figures, trading cards, etc.
Scratch Off Tickets - There are not many people who do not get excited about receiving Scratch off tickets. Buy a bunch of $1 or $2 tickets and present them in an unusual way. Build a little tree with the tickets hanging off, give the person a baseball hat with their favorite team logo on it and tape the tickets all over the hat. You never know, they might get lucky.
Gift Card: If you are still unsure of how to go, a gift card to a major retailer can always be useful. Just be sure to give it with a little something extra like a box of candy or a plant so there will be something for them to unwrap and open. END AKISMET -->
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