Finding gifts for loved ones and family members is already nerve-wracking. The gift-giving process can be even more stressful when you’re searching for a birthday present for your boss. Let’s face it, no matter what rapport you have with a supervisor, there are certain boundaries you shouldn’t cross while celebrating his or her birthday. What may seem like a funny joke could be considered wildly inappropriate in retrospect. At the same time, no one wants to give his or her supervisor a generic gift card.
Consider the infamous showdown between Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy in the popular television show, 30 Rock. Those characters strove to understand the respective recipients and give a present that was tailored to their personality and needs. Take a look at these five tips on securing the perfect gift for your boss.
1. Learn about your boss’s interests
If you are on a gift-giving basis with your boss, you should be aware of some of his or her interests and outside hobbies. If not, make sure to take some time to learn more about the supervisor. During breaks, ask general questions like, “What TV shows do you watch?” or “Who is your favorite sports team?” The answers may be surprising and lead to better team bonding. This type of personal understanding may lead to the perfect gift idea.
2. Avoid inappropriate items
It’s always best to play it safe when purchasing a gift for a supervisor. Avoid anything with off-color jokes, inappropriate remarks, or strange connotations. Don’t violate basic HR rules; it’s not worth it for a laugh. An inappropriate gift could lead to a very uncomfortable work environment, or even worse, career repercussions. Make sure that a present is in good taste, given with positive intent. Don’t let any work drama or anger seep into the gift-buying experience, because this could poorly affect the presentation of a gift.
3. Where to shop
Online retailers can be a great starting point. Stores with tasteful office decor items, puzzles, and entertainment stores can help you locate the perfect item. Supervisors with children may value a family-oriented gift, such as a board game or outdoor activity set. Bosses obsessed with sports or TV shows may be elated to receive memorabilia and collectables from their field of interest. Once you get a general idea of what gift to aim for, brick and mortar stores and online merchants can be great places to find specialty items.
4. Schedule it out
There’s nothing quite like the stress of giving a belated gift. Avoid the hassle and make sure to schedule out important birthdays and gift purchasing timeframes. Ordering online will require some time for processing and shipping, so make sure to plan ahead. Some retailers offer rush delivery, though this will usually cost more. Be mindful of upcoming birthdates and don’t let one slip by.
Custom order gifts, like some types of artwork or technology, will have even longer timeframes before they are delivered. Be sure to speak with customer service at a retailer, to ensure that these gifts will be ready in time.
5. Be unique
A gift should be memorable, marking a positive moment in a supervisor’s career. It’s hard to stand out with a generic gift card or careless trinket. Strive to deliver something special, something that cannot be found at any mall or department store. Stylish home decor, kitchen appliances, and novelty electronics can go a long way in making an impact. Make sure it fits with the boss’s lifestyle, and isn’t something that will end up in storage. Make a supervisor’s birthday party one to remember!