It can be difficult to think of nice gifts to buy your coworkers. But it can be even harder to know which coworkers to buy gifts for, and who to leave out! If you work somewhere with more than 20 employees, chances are all your coworkers won't be getting everyone a gift because you just can’t afford it. This article will give you tips on how to avoid awkward situations when giving gifts at to people at work.

Things You’ll Need:
•    Stealth
•    Tact

How to Buy Holiday Gifts for CoworkersCredit: Amberdawn 2011Instructions

Make a list and check it twice. Create a "gift hierarchy" of names of people your coworkers.

Tier 1:  Your friends.  Who are the people that are your friends as well as your coworkers? Create a list of them at the top of your page.  Obviously these people are going to be treated no differently from any other friend you have outside of work. 

For your friends who are also your coworkers, you want to get them personal gifts. Do they like chocolate, fruit, or coffee? Do they love themed items with pictures of cats, or with flowers? Buy them a gift you know they'll like, just as you would for a friend who is not a coworker.

Tier 2:  Those you depend on.  Which of your coworkers do you work closely with? For example, as a classroom teacher, there is a reading specialist and special education teacher who work with me on a weekly basis (meeting in a small group with me as well as coming into my classroom). These people are your second priority.

Buy generic gifts for coworkers who work closely with you. This can be the same gift for "fairness." For example, you could get everyone box of chocolates or a candle. This gift is a token of appreciation that you are guessing all your coworkers would all like, but it is not necessary for you to tailor these gifts precisely to their tastes if you are unsure.

Tier 3:  The acquaintences.  Finally, who are your remaining coworkers you see pretty much daily? The people in this group will be the bottom of the priorities.

Leave cards in everyone the rest of your coworker's mailboxes, or on their desks. If there are coworkers who you see on a daily basis, it would be very thoughtful to give them a card. It is very affordable, but it shows them that you were thinking of them. The holiday season is about spreading joy, and writing "Dear, ___" and "Sincerely, ___" is a relatively simple way to do it. If you have coworkers with a variety of faiths, you might want to stick with cards that say “Season’s Greetings” instead of cards that have religious messages.

Now, some people maybe find it cold to categorize people in this way when it comes to gift giving, and that is your choice. I feel it is okay to do, because I believe the holidays are for doing something special and giving gifts to people you care about. And for coworkers who don't even know my name that work in the building, I feel they don't really count as "loved ones." So I wouldn't want to get these coworkers the same gift as a coworker who is an actual friend to me.

More Ways to Spread the Holiday Joy to Colleagues

Involve everyone equally.
Try organizing a Secret Santa. If you have a close-knit group of coworkers who enjoy the holiday festivities, and you wish you could afford to get them ALL a gift, you might want to try a "Secret Santa," so that everyone who wishes to participate gets a small gift from a coworker. For more tips on how to do this, see the resources section at the bottom of the page.

Turn it into a gift grabbing competition!
Try organizing a "Yankee Swap" for the staff Christmas party. For reasons that are similar to the Secret Santa, this is a fun way to exchange a gift with coworkers(at random) if you are having a holiday party. For more tips on how to do this, see the resources section at the bottom of the page.

Show off your culinary talents.
Organize a Cookie Swap. This is another fairly inexpensive way to give something thoughtful to all your coworkers something who wish to participate. For more tips on how to do this, see the resources section at the bottom of the page.

Say it with a smile.
Remember, a smile and kind word are free, so be generous with them.  Wish everyone you work with a Happy Holidays. Happy Holidays!

More Tips:
•  Have extra generic gifts, pre-wrapped, in your car or in your desk, in case someone unexpectedly gets you something.
•  When you give your friends gifts, don't do it in front of other coworkers who you aren't getting gifts for! This is rude and creates an awkward situation