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The correct protocol is that bosses should give their employees gifts but employees should not feel obligated to give a gift back.

Still, according to a business etiquette consultant, it can be perfectly appropriate to give a gift to your boss, especially if you consider your boss a friend or you have worked together for a long time.

But it pays to do a little research first, especially if you are new to the company. That's because if you give a gift and everyone else doesn't, you may look like you are trying to curry favor. And if you don't give a gift and everyone else does, you may be embarrassed.

Worse yet, if you do give a gift but it's inappropriate, that's the kind of faux pas that can follow you for years to come.


If you do decide to give your boss a gift, here are some tips:


Don't give anything too personal: Experts say a good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that touches the skin. That means no jewelry, no perfume, no clothing-and definitely no boxers or other intimate apparel.

"Unless you know the person really, really well, I would very much steer clear of gifts that really have a very personal tone".


Don't spend too much, or too little, money: A $2.99 ornament from the drugstore will likely come off as too cheap, but a $100 pen may seem awkwardly extravagant. Experts say the $10-to-$25 range is generally more appropriate for a midlevel manager.


Do consider food or gift cards: A consumable gift like cookies, candy or homemade bread is a nice way to show that you appreciate your boss without breaking the bank. A coffee shop gift card or similar item also is practical and appropriate.


Do consider a group gift: If everyone goes in on one gift, that can spread out the cost and also ensure that everyone in the department is on equal footing with the boss.


Don't generally give alcohol:  Champagne is fine if you know the person well, but in general etiquette experts say that these days some employers might frown on giving alcohol at work, and some bosses may see it as too personal a gift.


Do check on gift policies, especially if you are a vendor or freelancer: One expert recommends checking with the human resources department to see if there is a ban on gifts.


Do consider books or magazine subscriptions-as long as they are appropriate: Reading material is usually a safe bet, especially if it relates to your field. But even such a seemingly mundane gift can turn inappropriate if you're not careful.

"You don't want to give your boss '50 Shades of Grey'".


Don't send a gift to a home address:  To avoid confusion, hand your boss a gift at the office or during your holiday party.

"Never send a boss a gift to their home."



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