Office Christmas Gifts: How to Make Someone You Barely Know Feel Special

bb-christmas-rudolph-reindeer-gift-basketChristmas is coming, and so are those fabulous, and not so fabulous, office Christmas parties. Everyone draws names, there's a "how-much-you-can-spend" limit, and usually you wind up with the name of someone you hardly know. You may even find yourself stuck with someone you dislike. However, all is not lost. It is, after all, the season of celebration and giving. Here are some suggestions for making the impersonal more personal:

The Tea Lover: There are many possible gifts for tea-lovers. How about a personal cup and saucer with a small box of tea. Include a jar of honey, a small spoon, and perhaps a small box of cookies. Wrap each item in colorful tissue paper and place in a medium sized holiday bag. Price: $5 - $10.

The Coffee Lover: Gifts for Coffee lovers are always well received by coffee lovers. They LOVE coffee! Look for a festive mug, and pick up a tiny bag of "one-pot" gourmet coffee to tuck inside. A small box of chocolates or cookies are a welcome treat. Be certain to find out if he or she likes coffee plain, Columbian, or flavored. When in doubt, go for Columbian, and include additional flavorings that can be added if they so desire. Wrap each item in tissue paper and place in a medium sized holiday bag. Price: $5 - $10.

The Camper: Gift ideas for folks who like anything to do with camping. Some thoughtful gift ideas include an oversized enameled cup, and include an enameled camp spoon. Consider camping salt and pepper shakers; flash-lights, a small box of graham crackers, marshmallows, and a chocolate bar (the perfect ingredients for "smores"). These small things tell the camper, I care about what you like. Cost: $10 - $20.

The Cook: Male or female cooks are filled with a passion for gourmet food, especially their own. If you are faced with shopping for a cook, hit the herbs and spices isle! There is safety in choosing the familiar. For herbs, stick to sage, rosemary (preferably crushed), and thyme. For spices, think cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Add a plain chef's apron, wooden spoons, and measuring spoons. Wrap in cloth napkins, and place in an inexpensive colorful bag. He or she will love it! Cost: $10 - $20.

The Baker: Bakers go absolutely wild at Christmas time. What with all the pies, cookies, desserts, and cakes, Christmas is the baker's perfect time of year. Measuring cups, unusual cookie cutters, a cookie press, a holiday baking magazine, or a small soft-cover baking book will all be much appreciated. Cost: $10 - $20.

The Book-Worm: Book gift baskets are perfect for book lovers. These are the folks who live in the discount book section. Usually, even if you don't know the individual well, you know what he or she likes to read, because they can't stop talking about it. Hit the mark-down books at your local "wall-to-wall" bookstore. No matter what their particular interest is, books are always the perfect choice. Include some interesting bookmarks, and perhaps colorful highlighters (for marking that favorite passage). Certainly a gift certificate is okay, but still include the personal little touches to go with it. Place all in a gift bag with colorful tissue paper. Cost: $10 - $20.

It is easy to buy a meaningful gift for someone you don't know well, or even for someone you dislike. Christmas is a season for mending fences and for blessing others. When you take just a little time to discover what the recipient likes, you will become a blessing. Christmas is also a season of miracles, and who knows, you might just make a friend. Jaye Lewis
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