7 Holiday Gifts NEVER to Give at the Office

Still undecided about gifts for clients or those in your employ? Here are my thoughts on what NOT to give at the office:

1) Gift Certificates to Far-Flung Stores
•No matter how generous the gift, the certificate is essentially worthless if the retailer has no web site and no locations anywhere near the recipient's home.

2) Self-Help Books
•Imagine unwrapping a present and finding a tome called "Lose 80 Pounds in 80 Days" or "Learning to Be Okay With Yourself"! The message here is (at best) one of pity and (at worst) one of scorn. Steer clear.

You know no client wants this gift, but how about the other six items on this list?

You know no client wants this gift, but how about the other six items on this list?

3) Fruitcake
•Yes, it's the perennial joke, but what message does it send to the recipient? That your office friendship is a joke?

4) Cashmere Sweater
•This might have been okay in Don Draper's day, but no male boss should ever give anything this intimate to an assistant.

5) Expensive Jewelry
•Particularly when given by a male to a woman who is his office subordinate, this gift signals an intent beyond innocent Yuletide cheer.

6) Company Tchotchkes
•As if the employee doesn't spend enough time at the office, he now gets to celebrate his employer with at home with a branded T-shirt, key chain or mug? No thank you!

7) Random Causes
•You may be a big proponent of the Iowa Association to Preserve the Red-Spotted Acorn, but making a donation in the name of a co-worker will not mean very much unless you know he or she already has a strong affinity for that particular charity.

The bottom line in giving to co-workers is not to overdue the dollar amount, but to find something that is meaningful to that particular person. If you're doing otherwise, you're better off giving nothing at all.