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What to Give a Boss for Boss's Day?

by Maya Black, studioD

Boss's Day rolls around every year on October 16th, or the closest business day if the 16th falls on a weekend. If you're stumped and aren't sure what to get your boss, you're not alone. Many employees feel pressure to give something nice, or at least useful, within their budget. If everyone else at your job is getting the boss a gift, join in. But, don't break your bank, especially since your boss probably makes more money than you do.

Gift Cards

Gift cards work well when personal gifts might not be appropriate. You can give your boss a gift card, such as those sold by Visa or American Express, that allows the holder to buy anything, anywhere, or you can give a more specific gift card. For example, if your boss frequently talks about movies and media, consider a gift card to an online store that sells media downloads. If you plan to give your boss a gift card to a certain retailer or restaurant, confirm the choice with a secretary or colleague; make sure you're giving a card to a business your boss is likely to partronize.

Pricey Items

Even if you earn a high salary, chip in to buy your boss a pricey item for Boss's Day rather than going solo; you might end up looking like you're trying to win approval if you give a gift that is more expensive than those of your coworkers. To get the ball rolling, reach a consensus among your coworkers about the item you wish to buy, which could be anything from a tablet computer to expensive concert tickets. Designate one person to collect the funds and shop for the item. Avoid taking credit for the gift idea when presenting it to your boss, even if it was yours.

Something the Boss Mentioned

Prove to your boss that you're listening by giving something mentioned in casual conversation, especially if it's a humorous item. For example, If your boss longs for a thumbdrive featuring a favorite cartoon character, that is an appropriate gift. Keep such gifts centered around your boss's workplace "wants." Unless your boss is your close friend, giving anything too personal could be awkward.


Remember "it's the thought that counts," when it comes to Boss's Day gifts. There's no shame in giving cliche gifts, such as mugs and desk accessories; or you can give treats, such as candy or cookies. While there's no harm in giving the boss a gift when your coworkers don't, you might find it easier to get along in your workplace's culture by not standing out. If the office manager organizes a potluck luncheon for Boss's Day, rather than gift giving, your contributions to the event will count as part of the workplaces's effort to celebrate the boss.

About the Author

Maya Black has been covering business, food, travel, cultural topics and decorating since 1992. She has bachelor's degree in art and a master's degree in cultural studies from University of Texas, a culinary arts certificate and a real estate license. Her articles appear in magazines such as Virginia Living and Albemarle.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images