20 Gift Ideas for Your Co-Workers

Wondering how to spread some joy to the folks you spend most of your waking hours with? Giving gifts to co-workers can be a challenge, especially if you aren't the one handing out the bonuses. Here are some presents to suit everyone's budget (and briefcase).

Fun Holiday Food

Let's start with the edibles (they always go first).

1. Sweet Treats

Nothing says "Happy Holidays" better than chocolate, or cupcakes, or cookies, or popcorn. Wrap up treats in a variety of paper cake totes found at Michaels, and try these recipes for specialty popcorn from Fabulously Frugal. You'll be the most popular in your office, for a few minutes anyway.

2. Chocolate

Emergency chocolate bars (about $3 each) are a fun and inexpensive, and they're perfect if you work in a doctor's office or a hospital, or for stocking stuffers at any workplace. Animal loving co-workers will love chocolate bars from Rescue Chocolate (profits are donated to animal rescue organizations). They're kosher, vegan, handcrafted in Brooklyn, NY, organic, and delicious, and your co-workers will appreciate the good cause.

3. Cookies That Fight Pediatric Cancer

Another edible gift that gives back is gourmet cookies from Cookies for Kids' Cancer. Knowing that 100% of the profits go to support their mission of finding new and improved therapies for pediatric cancer will warm everyone's heart this holiday.

A Gift Is in the Cards

Some things money just can't buy. For the co-workers who want for nothing, an expression of gratitude and wishes for a happy holiday handwritten in a beautiful card can be the most treasured gift of all. Consider supporting local artists who sell cards on Etsy.

For the co-workers on your good list, pick up a box of inexpensive note cards, and tuck a little something special into them. If you're at a loss for words, use the following suggested sentiments for a happy holiday.

4. Lottery Tickets

Write inside: "Here's to a prosperous New Year!" If you happen to be particularly close with a co-worker, you could add, "Working with you is like winning the lottery every day."

5. Gift Cards to the Movies or Their Favorite Coffee Bar

Suggested sentiment: "Enjoy some time away from this place!"

6. Charity Gift Cards

TisBest Charity Gift Cards allows the recipient to direct the designated funds to any of the 300 nonprofits listed on their website. It's a gift that you can feel good about giving and receiving. (Great for those who have everything).

7. Homemade Gift Certificates

Download free gift certificates from gifttemplate.com and give a gift of "one hour of phone coverage" or "one errand of your choice during lunchtime," or, "drinks (or lunch) on me, after the holidays."

8. Writing Instruments

Pens make great gifts and there are so many options to choose from at every price point. "Mad Men" fans will love this one from 1928, or shop online from Papyrus for more.

9. The Card Is Your Gift!

Co-workers who love gardening will love a pocket garden of plant-able cards from Botanical Paperworks.

Touchy Feely, Comfy Cozy

Everyone loves giving and getting warm and fuzzy gifts. Even the smallest of tokens can make a co-worker feel special. According to Monica Smith of Richer Resources, gifts have a way of contributing to a close knit family feeling to any office or business . To help make the rest of the year go by with greater camaraderie and less stress, consider:

10. Inspirational Quotes

You can find beautifully rendered, easy to read, inspirational reading for around $12, such as Mankind's Wisdom from Aristotle to Zimmerman.

11. Fun Socks

Kendall Perez of Hassle Free Savings says that she loves giving gifts to her coworkers and feels it is totally appropriate to buy them something small during the holidays. To save money at her favorite retailer, she recommends the Coupon Sherpa mobile app. Last year she scored five pair of fun argyle socks at Target for just $5!

Earth friendly co-workers will appreciate socks from Cupio.org, a lifestyle brand dedicated to preserving prime rainforest around the globe. For men and women.

12. Warm Gloves

A pair of one size fits all stretchy gloves with a simple note, "Thanks for lending a hand throughout the year," is a warm and welcome gift. Found everywhere from under $2. DIYers can make them extra special by sewing metallic thread into the fingertips for the friends at work who can't stop texting.

For Coffee, Tea, and Water Drinkers

Co-workers on caffeine will appreciate getting "coffee with a cause."

13. Coffee of Grace

Inspired by the spirit of the Rwandan people, Grace Hightower De Niro (yes, Robert DeNiro's wife) has created coffees to celebrate and support the coffee farmers of Rwanda at Coffee of Grace. Direct sourcing, fair trade, ethical practices, and environmental stewardship will put "Joy to the World" in everyone's cup all year round.

14. Joe Jacket Drink Sleeves

Perfect for the eco conscious coffee lovers in your office. The lightweight, cushy tapered drink sleeves protect fingers from hot beverages. Just $7 from an Oregon based company with a passion for the environment, coffee, and animals.

15. Fair Trade Tea

The folks at Zhi Tea also love the spirit of giving that the holidays embody. Hand blended in small artisan batches in Austin, TX, their teas are organic, and fair trade imports range from malty Assams from India to nutty roobios from South Africa to ancient tea trees in Vietnam. (See also: Where to Buy Tea Online)

16. A Water Bottle That Filters

Tap drinkers in the office will appreciate the Bobble, a water bottle with a built in filter and available in an array of colors and three sizes. Bonus: you'll be saving about 300 plastic water bottles from the landfill.

Fun and Functional

Gag gifts are a waste of money, but 'tis the season to be jolly, so why not bring a little fun into the office?

17. A Waterproof Notepad

Aquanotes, a product inspired by brilliant ideas that hail from the shower, is a waterproof notepad that suctions to bathroom tile, allowing shower thinkers to write down their thoughts (before they're gone) on waterproof paper that's recyclable. A real find at just $7.

18. The Finders Key Purse

For $6.95, you'll want to give everyone in your office a Finders Key Purse. One hundred designs to choose from, and just the thought of never fishing for your keys at the bottom of your purse (or messenger bag) will take some of the stress out of the holidays ahead!

19. PC Gadgets

Boost the spirit of any co-worker holiday with these playful USB chargers. Meet Andru and Andra, from Gen. Or save your co-workers day with these cute USB flash drives.

20. Need more help? Ask a "Cultural Concierge"

Search Headbutler's list of products for lots of smart reviews by Jesse Kornbluth. Be sure to e-scribe to his website for more suggestions on music, movies, and other cool stuff all year long — it's free, and my gift to you. Happy Holidays everyone!

What was the best gift you ever received from a co-worker? The worst?

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Guest's picture

These are great. I like doing treats because one or two batches covers everyone. I've also done the lottery tickets for friends and family, makes it a cheap and fun "experience" gift.

Guest's picture

I got yummy chocolate-covered oreos from Cupcake Novelties last year for office gifts and they were a big hit! www.zibbet.com/cupcakenovelties

Guest's picture

Hi Linda, what a lovely, helpful, timely post! I like the inspiring gifts ideas and hope to put them to a good use very soon for the holidays.
Thank you, Inga

Guest's picture

Wow what a GREAT list!!!! I love the water bottles with a filter idea, homemade gift certificates and Cookies for Cancer....among so many others listed here! Each and everyone makes a thoughtful gift. Thank you!!!

Guest's picture

Love it! eveyone on my list is either getting a food USB drive or a finders key purse!
Thanks, Frugalinda!