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Finding a gift for your boss is always a delicate task to tackle: "You have to look at your relationship with them and determine what constitutes as professional versus too personal within the perimeters of that relationship," says Lizzie Post, etiquette expert and co-president of the Emily Post Institute.
We vetted the best gifts for your boss, considering budget, appropriateness, and functionality. Our selection includes the stress-reducing acupressure mat from WTHN, the wellness-enhancing alarm clock from Loftie, and delicious treats from Sakara.
Here are our editor-approved presents for your boss.
Wellness by Samantha Variety Cookie Pack
Our editors cannot think of a boss that wouldn't appreciate a sweet treat to get them through a long workday. Wellness By Samantha Variety Cookie packs ship nationwide, and they include nine of her best-selling flavors. The cookies are delicious alternatives to classic flavors that deliver health benefits through clean and simple ingredients.
Augustinus Bader The Discovery Duo
The groundbreaking TFC8-powered formulas found in Augustinus Bader's The Cream and The Rich Cream have a cult following for a reason. The duo nourishes, hydrates, restores and replenishes the skin, making it perfect for the boss who is always traveling or loves trying a new skin cream. Both come in a 50-, 30-, and 15-milliliter size and a sleek gift box; no gift wrapping is required.
Loftie Smart Alarm Clock
One of our editor-approved alarm clocks is the Loftie Smart Alarm Clock. Aside from the traditional functions associated with an alarm clock, Loftie takes it a few steps further by offering programs meant to improve the user's mental health. From white noise to meditations, Loftie is the perfect gift for any boss who deserves a moment to relax and destress.
Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug 2
No one likes a cold cup of coffee, especially your boss. The Ember Mug² is a tech gift that prevents just that through a temperature control feature operated through the Ember ISO app. It's stainless steel and comes in white and black. While your boss can't throw it in the dishwasher, an eternally hot cup of their morning caffeinated drink is more than worth it.
Multitasky Anywhere Portable Bottle Humidifier
What many don't realize is that a dry environment, like an office, can cause congestion. One way to combat this is with a humidifier—only they tend to be large and hard to clean. However, this portable version from Multitasky holds a 4-hour charge and can attach to things like water bottles or even a glass of water. It's silent, compact, and will make sure your boss always feels in good health.
Uncommon Goods Just Breathe Eucalyptus Spa Gift Set
Eucalyptus is a plant known for its aromatic scent, commonly used in spas. This kit from Uncommon Goods gives them the chance to grow this fragrant plant themselves. It even features a bath salt mix and exfoliating mitt, perfect for any boss looking to spend a little bit of time unwinding at the end of a hard day.
CurioPress Personalized Stationery Set
Walk into your boss's office, and you'll probably find a desk covered in notes, papers, and mail. Why not help them personalize their future correspondences with personalized stationery? The monogrammed design is simple enough to work for any personality, and the high quality means their thank-you notes and letters will exude professionalism.
W&P Porter Commuter Bundle
If your boss is conscious of their environmental impact, give them a reusable lunch set from W&P. The Porter Commuter Bundle comes in three colorways and includes an insulated tumbler, seal-tight bowl, and set of reusable utensils, all of which come in a modern design. They'll even love that the brand uses BPA-free plastic, LFGB-certified silicone, and borosilicate glass to create these durable, earth-friendly products.
Sakara The Superseed + Nuts Collection
Everyone loves a snack, but if your boss prefers something savory over sweet, the Sakara The Superseed + Nuts Collection is the standout choice. Included are all three varieties of the nutrition company's nut and seed mixes that each serve a wellness purpose outside of satisfying hunger. From soothing inflammation to providing a burst of energy, these delicious snacks have it all.
The Sill Peperomia Obtusifolia
If your boss is into plants or gardening, giving them a plant they can tend to in their office or home is a simple but appreciative gesture. The Sill is an editor-approved option that offers a variety of common plants to shoppers, both in store and online. The Peperomia Obtusifolia is a low-light and pet-friendly plant that requires minimal care, so it won't distract them from work.
Parragon Books The Art of Mixology: Classic Cocktails and Curious Concoctions
Nothing says after-hours happy hour like a classic cocktail. Even if your boss already knows their way around a bar cart, a book full of well-known and more unique cocktails will surely get them excited. Pair it with a bottle of wine—if you feel comfortable—for a gift that will keep on giving.
Society6 Leadership Quote Poster
A boss is more than just someone who delegates tasks to you during the workday. They are meant to be an embodiment of the company's principles and a champion of their employees. This leadership poster is a small reminder to them that they are appreciated and that their hard work and dedication don't go unnoticed.
Chamberlain Coffee The Full Coffee Collection
Most people will agree that the one thing that gets them through their workday is caffeine, specifically coffee. Make sure your boss never runs out by giving them a few bags of high-quality beans. The California-based Chamberlain Coffee Full Coffee Collection includes five bags of either whole or ground beans. The flavors are robust and taste incredible hot or served over ice.
Malin + Goetz Leather Candle
Candles are often an easy gift to give, so long as you know the giftee's scent preferences. This selection from Malin+Goetz is equal parts masculine and feminine, thanks to notes like amber, violet, leather, and musk. The brand utilizes a natural wax blend that gives a clean burn of up to 60 hours. Not to mention that the packaging isn't loud or fussy, so it will fit in with almost any office or home decor.
EyeJustBlue Light Blocking Screen
If your boss is constantly on their phone, they are exposed to copious amounts of blue light. The effects this can have on their circadian rhythm have been proven repeatedly. That is why a blue-light-blocking screen protector makes for a no-brainer gift. This one from EyeJust is ophthalmologist-approved and has options for most phone styles.
Courant Catch:2 Classics
Two problems come to mind with charging devices: The cables get jumbled up and are difficult to undo, and you can only charge one device at a time. The multi-device wireless charging station, known as Catch:2 from Courant, seeks to change all that. The minimalist design is perfect for your boss's desk, and they can charge their smartphone, AirPods, and other devices at once.
Huckberry American Mountains Whiskey Glasses
If shows like "Mad Men" taught us anything, it is that the art of a curated bar cart or station is key to office glamour. Make sure your boss is set up for success with these mountainscape whiskey glasses from Huckberry. Each glass is hand-blown with lead-free glass, making them unique and lightweight. The set comes with four glasses, each capable of holding 11.5 ounces of liquid.
Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker
There are many ways to make a great cup of coffee, but most people who are coffee aficionados will tell you that nothing beats the French press. If your boss is one of those people, the classic style of Bodum would be the perfect gift. The design is durable, dishwasher-friendly, and will ensure each cup of coffee delivers maximum flavor.
wthn Acupressure Mat Set
Stress can cause a lot of concerns, both physically and mentally. One ancient practice that can help calm down the body is acupressure. This mat from wellness company WTHN allows users to experience similar benefits of acupuncture typically done by trained practitioners at WTHN's location in New York. With just 20-30 minutes of use each day, your boss will notice deep relaxation and calmness as gentle stimulators activate points across targeted areas. Our editors recommend grabbing one for yourself, too, as it is not a product to be missed.
PersonalizedGiftsUSA Brushed Black Stainless Steel Fountain Pen
Nothing is worse than not having something to write with when you need it. Or, worse yet, when you lend your pen to someone, and that person doesn't return it. Whatever the case might be, give your boss this personalized stainless steel fountain pen. It is chic, refillable, and comes with a display case. Overall, you can't go wrong with choosing this as a gift for your boss.
Cadence Travel Capsules - Set of 6
The Cadence Travel Capsules come in a set of six magnetic containers that your boss can use to store their favorite lotions, supplements, and even jewelry. You can choose one of seven different colors for each set, making it unique, just like your boss.
Soundance Laptop Stand
Tech neck is incredibly uncomfortable, so make sure they perform their best work on a laptop that sits at an optimal height. This affordable and functional stand from Soundance will ensure that they look at their technology from eye level versus below, which often causes neck and back pain. It's sleek with its aluminum design and compact, so your boss will still have plenty of room on their desk for other tasks.
ROYCE New York RFID Leather Passport Case
No one wants to forget their passport, especially your boss if they are traveling for work. If they have this modern Leather Passport Case From Royce New York, they likely won't be scrambling at the airport gate. It comes in 10 color choices, all of which have a sleek compartment for their travel documents and slips for credit cards. This case is useful and will always remind them to pack all the essentials needed for a trip abroad.
Amazon Basics 500-Watt Ceramic Small Space Personal Mini Heater
It can be hard to stay focused on work if you're always cold. Our editors know that your boss will appreciate a mini space heater to keep their office nice and toasty. This affordable option from Amazon's in-house product line is well-loved by reviewers, partly thanks to how silent it is. They won't be distracted or interrupted during a Zoom call.
Seagate Portable 1TB External Hard Drive
Be your boss's favorite employee when you give them an external hard drive for all their work-related documents. This selection from Seagate comes in a few different terabits storage sizes and is compatible with devices like Macs and PCs. They can even use it on their gaming devices if that is something they do in their downtime.
Book of the Month Club Book of the Month
For the boss that likes to read, give the gift of a subscription box from Book of the Month. They will get a list of five books each month and choose one or more if they decide to add on. Book of the Month is a great way to discover new authors, genres, or classics without walking the aisles of their local store.
Gift of the Nile Be Grounded Aromatherapy Mood Mist
An essential oil blend that helps to decrease stress levels would be a standout product to give to your boss. This selection from The Gift of the Nile takes inspiration from ancient Egypt and uses scents like vanilla, lavender, and sage to ground energy and create a sense of stillness. It is travel-friendly, is stored in a recyclable and reusable glass bottle, and is aesthetically pleasing.
TwoHeartNotes Best Boss Ever Card
We often forget just how powerful our words in a simple card can be. If you're on a budget or do not feel comfortable giving a gift to your boss, a card that shows your appreciation can be more than enough. This card from Etsy allows you to fill the inside with whatever comes to mind when you think of your boss. No matter what kind of thing you choose to write, know that your words can go further than you imagine.
Uncommon Goods The Work Wellness Deck
Odds are that your boss is always incredibly busy. This can usually mean that they forget to take breaks or go through a range of emotions during the day. This wellness-focused deck of cards from Uncommon Goods gives your boss a moment during the day to check in with themselves and get back to baseline. They'll be prompted to stretch, do breathwork, and practice gratitude. It's a small gift that can go a long way.
What to Look for in Best Boss Gifts
No matter who you are shopping for, selecting a gift within your budget is imperative. Lizzie Post explains that we live in a culture that emphasizes gifting, but it can be difficult for those who are not in financially stable conditions to keep up with this societal expectation. And, while giving a gift to someone like your boss is a wonderful gesture, it doesn't need to be a spendy item. Sometimes simple and affordable is better.
Level of Appropriateness
Whether we like it or not, we have to consider if giving a gift to our bosses is appropriate based on our job and relationship with them. Let's say you work directly with your manager in a small company. The chances are that giving them a gift might be easier to do than if you work for a conglomerate and are part of a large team. "It can often look like you're trying to gain favor with your boss," states Post as she discusses why giving gifts to your boss can be difficult to do. She suggests considering what you do and your relationship with your boss before deciding on giving them something or not.
If you give your boss something they will get ample use out of, you are putting yourself in a better position than if you gave something more novelty. Since we typically see gifts given "Down the chain of command instead of up the chain," reinforces Post, it is best to go with a gift that is functional. The exception to this rule is if you are close to your boss: If familiarity is present, then you can make that functional gift more personal.
How much should I spend on a gift for my boss?
You’ll want to make sure that you stay in a price range that does not put you out financially. Your gift could be as simple as a card that expresses your gratitude for their mentorship. It does not have to be an over-the-top extravagance.
Do bosses like gifts?
Everyone loves gifts, but there can be certain industries that are more accepting of bosses receiving a gift from an employee than others. It can go a long way to simply ask your boss if they are open to receiving gifts from their employees. You never want to make your boss or other members of your team uncomfortable.
Is alcohol appropriate to give to a boss?
Generally speaking, Post states that giving alcohol to your boss is something to avoid. "The exception to this rule is if your boss speaks about it frequently at work or has an appreciation for it in their spare time," she says. If you do want to give something that relates to alcohol, but you do not feel it is appropriate to give, you can try something like elegant bar wear or a cocktail mixing book.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Samantha Parsons wrote this article to include gifts that are affordable, appropriate, and functional enough to present to your boss. Hours of research, reading reviews, and analyzing product trends lead her to select the items above. Speaking with the co-president of The Emily Post Institute and co-host of the Awesome Etiquette Podcast, Lizzie Post, helped to solidify these choices.
When she is not spending her time writing for The Spruce, Samantha works for a beauty brand and is constantly reading up on the latest product launches and design trends.