by McKenzie Stalkenburg



When a boss’s birthday comes up, or another event you both celebrate, you might think about gifting them something. Of course, if you’re great or even good friends with your boss, you’ll likely know what to find. However, not everyone shares that relationship with the person giving them the working direction each and every week. This can be unfortunate, but it’s just one of those realities of the workplace from time to time.

However, it’s not as if you can’t afford to not get them a gift, especially if you want to be in their good graces. Sometimes you might be the only person who does, and that makes you stand out. Still, this is a difficult person to buy for. You don’t want to purchase something overly sentimental, nor do you want to outright ask them what they want. At the same time as keeping this professional detachment, you also want to express that you’ve thought about them when selecting something, so this can be tricky.

With the following advice, you should have more luck:

Their Desk As Your Guide

Without getting into an overly long and personal conversation with your employer, you may decide to seek an opportunity when you’re next in their office. Sat down, you might look across their desk or the way they decorate their office. Might they have pictures of a sports team, or memorabilia? Might they have many pictures of them skiing? Might they wear a tie pin for some sort of charitable organization? These are just a few potential ideas, and none of these might be present. In fact, your boss might keep their office as sterile as sterile can be, in which case a book on Feng Shui might be admired. However, if there is something there, you might have some form of idea as to the best thing to purchase.


Tickets can serve as an excellent means of helping them attend something they like while still giving them the chance to opt-out or sell them on. This works best if you have a shred of information about them. For example, if they are a fanatic for their sports team as illustrated previously, you might think tickets to a game is a good choice. However, they will most likely be a season ticket holder. Instead purchasing tickets to a nearby away game or perhaps some easily-found old memorabilia might be seen as thoughtful, obvious so not too personally intrusive, and something to be appreciated. Other than that, you might give them tickets to a large show in town, or perhaps something they have mentioned in passing. Never ask them how the show was unless they mention it, because you never know if they had sold the tickets on, but they will still appreciate you for putting the effort forth.

Personalized Items

Think about the psychology of a boss. They are used to having what they say go. They have built a business, or have taken over as a lead. This means they view themselves as a leader, and likely quite important. This doesn’t mean they’re an egomaniac - they are actually quite important within the life of the firm you work at. This means that having their names on certain items might be rewarding for them to see.

Personalized items can work for a variety of reasons. First, they can be cheap. Second, they can be displayed proudly. You might decide to gift them an embossed name tag with their CEO position for display on their desk, or perhaps a bundle of personalized car air fresheners, or something else quite novel. Just be sure their name is spelled correctly, with perfect formatting. For example, they might write their name as John J Smith or John J. Smith, and it’s important to get that right.


If there’s anything a business executive enjoys, it’s good stationary. A high-quality yearly planner, journal, relatively expensive fountain pen or other items can work perfectly. Of course, it might be the most functional gift, but printing paper and paper clips might not be viewed with the same kind of appeal. Give them one item of stationary, something well purposed and professional looking. Stick to black or silver aesthetics.

Computer Goods

Computer goods can sometimes be a functional and competent gift to give. For example, a wrist wrest for attaching to a keyboard can be worthwhile, or again, a personalized mouse mat. A massive USB stick or large portable hard drive can also prove reliable for them. This is the extent of the computer goods you can truly purchase them without you getting too involved in replacing their work desk in some manner.


Charitable contributions in their name can be an excellent idea. Just be sure to make it a one off donation, to provide them with a certificate for this or some other means of verifying the donation. But don’t sign them up to anything such as sponsoring or adopting anything or anyone abroad, because that then becomes a liability for them to deal with. Don’t volunteer their information at all, it must all be in your name with your money but presented to them as a gift in their name.

Also, don’t get too personal with it. If their partner is suffering from cancer for example, a donation to a cancer charity is just a little on the nose, and will only serve to remind them of the hardship they are going through. It is also extremely intrusive. Instead, if you know they give money to a pet charity or some other form of contribution, you might further decide to contribute. Keep it impartial but try to understand their wishes to a certain extent. This sounds tough, but a firm balance can be met with a little thought. This will come across as heartfelt, and they will likely appreciate it.

With these tips, finding simple gifts for your boss that aren’t overly sentimental can be achieved with accuracy.