Should You Buy Your Boss A Christmas Gift?

Bureaucracy is a wild frontier, and it can prove incredibly difficult to maneuver, especially if you're new to the world. Whether you're a recent college graduate finding their way or a seasoned worker who recently changed jobs, learning how to interact with your boss can be difficult. After all, every boss is different, so you have to adapt to each individually. This was made even harder by the COVID-19 pandemic when many have been working from home. Bosses can tell when you're not working on Zoom, and some bosses have threatened to fire people over nothing. It's been a lawless time, but that's about to change with the Christmas season in full swing.

This year's Christmas has been off to an interesting start not only because of the ongoing pandemic but also because of the supposed War on Christmas that many believe is occurring (via New York Magazine). It can be hard to keep holiday spirits alive, but giving gifts always helps, right? That's why we're here to settle once and for all if it's appropriate for this display of holiday cheer to extend to your boss.

A Christmas card will suffice for bosses

Gift giving is in our holiday bones — even the royal family has an interesting gift giving tradition — so it's natural that we want to extend that to everyone in our lives, including our bosses. But is this acceptable? According to TechRepublic, the answer isn't completely cut and paste. What you need to know is that you're never obligated to purchase a gift for your boss. After all, they simply oversee and pay you; you don't owe them anything more than your work. If anything, TechRepbulic adds, they'd be more obligated to purchase one for you because they hold the power, financial and otherwise, in the relationship.

Holiday gifts for bosses are typically best done, if they're going to be, in groups. Everyone in the office (or any work environment) could chip in for one gift for the boss, rather than purchasing individual gifts. However, even this shouldn't be expected by bosses. One boss even told The Cut that a holiday card is the most acceptable offering to a boss if you want to give them something because it's thoughtful but also cheap. This boss doubled down that gifts, like money, should only be moving downward, not upward, in any company.

Of course, there are cases where you may want to purchase a gift for your boss. Perhaps you work with family, or perhaps your work culture is one where everyone is close friends and it's a yearly tradition. There's no set rule, but if you're ever questioning it, the simple answer is no: You don't need to buy a Christmas gift for your boss — and you should never be punished for not doing so, even if others did.