You see them every day, from sun up to sun down, rain or shine. They're there for your wins and your losses, when you've finally mastered replacing the toner and when you're about to smash a copier into bits. They're your co-workers, and whether you love them or wish they'd fall in a pit, you're all in the same boat.
This holiday season, show them just how much it meant to you that time they ran your package down to UPS when you forgot the cut-off time for sending overnights, or when they steered the weirdo freelancer away during the last office happy hour. Besides, by this point you're so over-worked they're probably the only live humans you talk to face-to-face anymore - so you better be nice to them.
FOR THE OUTLOOK-CHALLENGED
|Agenda, Kate Spade. Pen, Tiffany & Co. Desktop Calendar, Rifle Paper Co.|
As an assistant, I spend an ungodly amount of time working with Microsoft Outlook Calendar, most of which is actually spent cursing its existence. Sometimes, you need something tactile - and better designed. With this queenly desktop calendar, your coworker can keep track of her meetings without sacrificing style. For personal appointments, this Kate Spade agenda will look fabulous poking out of her structured work tote.
And no desk should be without at least one fancy pen for signing important documents or doodling during conference calls. Tiffany & Co.'s Elsa Peretti ballpoint pen really delivers in the looks department, and while it's a little more costly than a 24-pack of Bics, it will last a lot longer - and garner more points when the boss needs to borrow a pen for her meeting.
FOR THE HOME-AWAY-FROM-HOME
|Hiver Mini Candle, Diptyque. Faux Sheepskin Rug, Ikea.|
I'm a big believer in making your office as "you" as possible. Who can concentrate when their cube is more prison-chic than chic-chic? Make your work-sister's office cozier with this faux fur rug from Ikea. On the floor or draped over a chair, it's a very glam accent to any office - I even have one in mine!
Candles may be on your office manager's list of no-go's, but that doesn't mean they won't look and smell wonderful on your desk. A Diptyque mini candle is easily tucked into any corner, giving the office an aromatic boost. And if someone down the hall clearly only eats onions and old fish for lunch, a big whiff of Hiver will make that olfactory insult a distant memory.
FOR THE INTERNAL FLORIST
|Succulents, Trader Joe's or any garden store. Gold T-Rex Planter, Etsy.|
I'll be honest, I kill all plants I come into contact with. The orchids on my desk are hanging on by the grace of who-knows-what, and I shudder to think what would happen if I got anything bigger than a ficus in here. However, a study this fall states that adding plants to a formerly barren office can lead to up to a 15% increase in productivity, and perhaps even an increase in overall workplace satisfaction.
To keep your cubemate satisfied without crossing any Human Resources boundaries, get her desk looking a little greener with a succulent or two. They can be found at almost any Trader Joe's or specialty plant store, and are remarkably easy to keep alive - even for a plant-murderer like me. If she's already got her desk garden going, glitz up her existing plants with a gold T-Rex planter. And try not to kill anything, ok?
FOR THE 3-MARTINI LUNCHER
|Brut & Rosé Gummy Bears, Sugarfina. Sofia Blanc de Blancs, BevMo. Mini-fridge, Often.|
Does your colleague watch so much Mad Men that she now thinks every office needs a bar cart and a whiskey decanter? Well, let's face it - every office needs that, but some offices are a little more tee-totaling than others. I've been fortunate to work in offices that allow a little at-work imbibing, one even had a full bar next to reception. As long as no one is operating heavy machinery, a "Happy Friday" cheers around the holidays can be quite lovely.
To keep her bubbly out of the communal fridge, plug in this handy two-can USB mini-fridge and pop in a couple mini Sofia Blanc de Blancs to chill. They even come with their own straws! For those offices still stuck in the prohibition era, a cube of Sugarfina champagne and rosé gummy bears will be just as cute, if not as tipsy.
FOR THE BOSS
|Costadilà Prosecco, Domaine LA. Zojirushi Travel Mug, Amazon. Brownies, Saveur.|
When it comes to the badass lady or gent you report to, things can get a little tricky. The waters of boss-subordinate giving can be hard to navigate, and perhaps even avoided completely. Emily Post says stay away from gifting the boss, as it can be seen as a little brown-nosy, but I feel that the holidays are a time to show appreciation for everyone you love and can afford to be generous with. If that includes your boss or direct report, go for it. If you aren't that close, no harm, no foul.
To steer clear of any aforementioned ass-kissing, go small and thoughtful rather than ostentatious. Bake them some delicious homemade goodies, get them a new travel mug (filled with their usual soy-latte-extra-foam-two-sugars), or even a bottle of something sparkling if you know they drink. But be mindful - this is not the occasion to blow the majority of your paycheck on one gift. That $200 whiskey will probably make them uncomfortable, and maybe even reconsider that nice bonus they were mulling over - after all, if you can spend $200 on booze, you're probably doing ok with the salary you have.
And of course, if all else fails, stick a tin of peppermint bark on your desk and let the animals have at it. How will you be celebrating the holidays at your workplace?