While gift-giving is normal during the holiday season, the exchange at work can be uncertain. You don’t want to go over the top, yet you don’t want to come across as stingy. You want to keep it professional, yet you want to give something with meaning. What’s the solution?

Here are a few quick etiquette tips for office gift-giving.

  1. Make it optionalInvite everyone to participate in the gift-exchange, but don’t obligate anyone. Respect a person’s reasons for bowing out, which may include personal, religious or economic concerns.
  2. Limit how much is spent Setting a spending limit for gifts gives everyone a guideline and not only makes selecting a gift a little bit easier, but will also eliminate disparity between gifts.
  3. Look for clues You can do a little investigative work first and learn about a co-worker or colleague’s interests or hobbies. People may display their personalities in how they decorate their desk areas; this could be your first clue. This also might be a great time to take that person to lunch and learn more about them.
  4. Give a group gift If there is one person, like a boss or mentor, for whom everyone in the office wants to purchase a gift, consider giving a group gift. Your spending power will go much farther, plus you won’t look as if you’re trying to win favor with any particular person.