Your Guide to Navigating Boss and Manager Appreciation Gifts

They say to "never gift up" in the workplace, but sometimes the moment just seems right. It's rare to find a boss who makes a real difference in your life. But when it happens, this person is worth celebrating. It might be your first boss as an intern who really helped you learn, or a boss who encouraged you to find your strengths and helped you grow in your already established career. It might be a boss who really put their shoulder in and caused a project to succeed, or a boss who went to bat for you when it really mattered.

No matter the reason, there are perfect moments to give the perfect gift. How do you navigate appreciation gifts for a boss or manager? It's all about timing and thoughtful selection.

Gifting Together or Individual Gifts

First, it's usually better to gift your boss as a team. The rule about never gifting up means that employees are never obligated to spend on their boss, but when the entire team feels that their manager has been spectacular, the shared sentiment means you can all throw in on a really nice gift. Of course, no one should feel obligated to give, but often truly amazing bosses are gifted because the entire team agrees that they want to show appreciation.

If you choose to gift solo, be sure to do so in private and in a situation where it won't be seen as influence. Solo gifts to a boss are usually done out of personal sentiment when you are parting ways because one or the other is leaving the team and you want to show how much they've meant to you from person to person, rather than from employee to boss.

When is the Right Time to Gift Your Boss or Manager?

Timing is everything. Gifting your boss should be done at special moments when the sentiment is the strongest, and the timing is the most meaningful. There are only a few situations where it's the right time to give your boss a gift, and often these moments can be agreed on by the whole team.

When They are Leaving or Retiring

Gifting your boss is most traditional when they are retiring or otherwise leaving for greener pastures. It's the team's way of saying that they've really appreciated having their boss as a manager and wish them well in their next chapter.

Retirement parties are the best time to give a gift to your boss as a team. And if you have a personal sentiment to share that the team is not a part of, wait until end-of-day near their last day to share. This serves as a parting gift of personal appreciation.

Boss's Day

Some workplaces and some teams celebrate Boss' Day, one of the many silly workplace appreciation days build into the modern calendar. In this case, you have the opportunity to share a fun - but perhaps also meaningful - gift with your boss. You might each get your boss something small and silly or surprisingly meaningful that your boss will cherish on their desk for years.

When Celebrating a Lifetime Milestone

Sometimes, a person's life milestones overshadow their role as your boss. The birth of your boss' first child, when they beat cancer, their 50th anniversary, or their 50th business trip are all fun and potentially meaningful reasons to commemorate the special moment with a gift.

When You Make It Through a Harrowing Project

Maybe your boss has been truly amazing during a hard time. There are projects and situations where you remember why having a great manager really matters. Maybe they put in extra hours, came up with solutions, got you the resources you needed, helped everyone get enough sleep during crunch-time, or went to bat for you with the execs. When the project is done and you're all in the post-trauma catharsis, a gift to your amazing boss from the whole team will be deeply appreciated.

When You Are Leaving and Want to Say Thank-You

Finally, if you are the one leaving and your boss has made a real difference in your life and career, a small personal parting gift can be a meaningful gesture to show your appreciation.

Gift Ideas for an Awesome Boss

What can you give an amazing boss who's got it all? There are tons of Boss Gift lists you could peruse, but we like to keep it classy and useful Sure, you could get them fancy pens or USB gadgets, but what would be the most meaningful for a boss that means so much to you?

An Honorary Mug

Sometimes, a funny mug says it all. "Chaos Coordinator", "Miracle Worker" "World's Best Boss" or that one with the octopus doing everything: you know your boss's sense of humor and what they mean to the team more than we do. If your team can all agree on the perfect mug, that's the one that will sit on their desk proudly couriering coffee to and from the break room for years.

A Job-Themed Toy or Plush

Professionals in a specific line of work are often delighted to receive toys, plushes, and cakes themed for their career, or representative of what they do. A toy firetruck could be for a fire chief, or for someone who "puts out fires" all day.  A plushie office manager or an action-figure architect might sit in a corner in their office as a "consultant" for fun. 

A Fancy Chair Cover

Transform the look of your boss's chair with a comfortable/massage/ergonomic seat cover. Give them a "throne", a sock monkey, a sliced fruit, or a giant plush hamster. Make the boss's office more comfy and more fun at the same time to give them something to smile about each day.

A Sweet Set of Travel Gear

Does your boss travel, are they finally going on that big vacation, or are they leaving your team for somewhere new? Normally, travel gear might seem a bit generic, but on special occasions, new luggage or a kit of awesome travel-hack supplies might be just the thing to wish them well on travels to come.

A Crystal Award

If your team really wants to commemorate a special moment, however, the best gift is a crystal award given by the whole team. If your boss is leaving, if they've achieved a special honor, or if they've just rocked the house in your eyes by really pulling through for the team, a crystal award given as a team can mean so much you might see misty eyes in that perfect moment.

Create the Perfect Gift with DIY Awards

When the time comes, DIY awards can help you choose, customize, and create the perfect crystal award for a boss that has gone above & beyond for you and the team. Contact us today to perfectly capture your appreciation and how much your boss's efforts have meant to you.