Tis the season….for office parties, formal company dinners, and all of the hoopla that goes along with it. If your boss is anything like Michael Scott, then your work will take the back burner for a few hours, and your office party will no doubt be a wild and memorable occasion. Or, maybe your small company celebrates the holiday season in a more intimate setting, in your manager’s home or at a local restaurant. Whatever type of celebration is planned, it is sure to be a festive time enjoyed by those with whom you share the majority of your waking hours.


Sometimes, though, we get caught up in the entertainment piece of the party and forget that we wanted to find a way to thank our coworkers and superiors for making our job so worthwhile. We have spent weeks shopping for family and friends, but we sometimes forget to add those faces around the office to our shopping list. Or, alternatively, maybe you’ve been remembering these friends from work but don’t have the resources to give as generously as you would like.


But, how do you know what to buy for your boss or friends from work? This thoughtful task can seem pretty daunting, especially if you’re still fairly new at your job. We’ve compiled a few ways in which you could pass along your gratitude to your coworkers, without feeling tied down to a generic gift card or box of candy canes. This year, why not consider giving a gift that brings with it real meaning. Something that says more than just, “Here you go. See ya next year.”


Not every gift has to be wrapped up with a pretty bow on top. Try thinking outside the box and consider these ways of showing your thanks around the office.


Cook for your team – Whether you are personally wearing the chef’s hat or leaving that part to your better half, surprise your team of coworkers by preparing a meal for them. All of the sweets and treats seem to be accounted for around the holidays, but you can really bring smiles around the office by providing a home cooked meal.


Plan something special – Gather several of your coworkers together and pool your money toward a more personal, unique gift for your boss. Whether it’s a weekend getaway from the usual load of stress, a full day at the fancy spa downtown, or a year of those tennis lessons he’s always wanted. Brainstorm about a gift that will show that you really put some thought into it.


Give to those in need and include your office – There are always needy families at this time of year, those who cannot provide a warm meal or a few presents for their children. Instead of spending your money on those at your company, take that money and spend it on doing something for others. Let your coworkers know what you are planning and include them in the process. Take someone with you to deliver the gifts and then go back to the office and share with them the look on the children’s faces when you arrived at their door. Make sure your manager knows that your wonderful job is what allows you to provide for others in such a way.


Book of thanks – Get connected with your creative side and make a little scrapbook of thanks for your boss. Not generic, stereoptypical words of thanks but specific examples of ways in which he or she has impacted you in your career. You will most likely find that this type of gift is a rarity and is much appreciated. Most employees never stop to truly express their gratitude to the one who leads so well.