Career Development

30 Gift Ideas for Your Boss's Birthday + Why You Should Get Them One

February 22, 2021

As an employee, it is important to understand how to celebrate office birthdays. Gift giving for your boss's birthday can be a kind gesture when done correctly. By reviewing gift-giving tips and gift ideas, you can determine the most appropriate options for your boss.

In this article, we review why it is important to get your boss a birthday gift, provide a few tips to help guide your search and list 30 examples of gift ideas to give you inspiration for your own gift idea.

Related: 17 Fun Work Birthday Ideas

Why is it important to get a birthday gift for your boss?

It is important to get a birthday gift for your boss because it demonstrates your care and respect for them as a professional role model. Further, giving your boss a birthday gift can also potentially enhance their opinion of you in the workplace.

Related: How to Plan an Office Party

Tips for picking out a good birthday gift for your boss

When trying to find a good birthday gift for your boss, it is important to follow a few guidelines to ensure you remain within professional boundaries while also appearing thoughtful. Review these tips to help guide your gift search:

Review company policies

Before you consider what to give your boss for their birthday, make sure there aren't any company policies that prohibit gift-giving. Even if there aren't overall restrictions, HR may prohibit gifts of alcoholic beverages, cash and other items they may be deemed inappropriate for the workplace.

Find a balance between cheap and expensive

Making sure you have a balance between a cheap and expensive gift ensures that you maintain professional boundaries. Too cheap and it may seem un-thoughtful, while too expensive and it may seem like you're trying to gain your boss's favor in an unethical way.

Think about their interests

Catering a gift toward's your boss's interest can be a great way to ensure they receive something they enjoy. Brainstorm and make a list to try and determine one or more hobbies, favorite TV-shows or snack foods they have at work. For example, if your boss comes into work every day with a cup of coffee from a local coffee shop, you may want to give them a gift card or personalized mug from that coffee shop.

Think about their personality

Your boss's personality can be an effective way to determine what to get them for their birthday. For example, if your boss demonstrates a more serious and professional attitude around the office, getting them a mug with a funny quote may or may not be received well. In contrast, if your boss is always joking around with you and your coworkers, it may be the perfect gift for them.

Consider your relationship with them

If you work in a smaller department and frequently engage in conversations with your boss about personal matters, sports or pop culture, it might be more beneficial to provide them with a personal gift than a boss you only engage in professional conversations with during meetings.

Consider your paygrade

The salary or hourly pay you receive may also be a determining factor in what type of gift you give to your boss and how much you pay for it. For example, if you make $40,000 a year, a snack box or gift basket allows you to stay within budget while also being thoughtful. In contrast, if you make $150,000 a year, a specialty bottle of whiskey or brand-name watch may be more appropriate.

Review past gifts from coworkers

Thinking about what other coworkers have given to you, each other and your boss for previous birthdays and holidays may help you determine a list of appropriate gift ideas and price points. For example, the first year you worked for a company, your coworkers gave your boss specialty drinks and gift baskets for their birthday. From this observation, you may decide to go with an edible gift for your boss to maintain the status quo at work.

Organize a combined gift with coworkers

If you aren't sure what to get your boss and are worried about how it will be perceived by them and your coworkers, consider getting a combined team gift for your boss. This allows you to save money and avoid any awkward situations while still appearing thoughtful.

Related: 40 Ways to Find Happiness at Work

30 birthday gift ideas for your boss

There are a variety of items that are appropriate to give to a supervisor or manager on their birthday. Here are 30 birthday gift ideas for your boss that are appropriate and thoughtful:

1. Gift card

A gift card is a great way to provide a thoughtful gift to your boss while remaining within reason. You can even place the gift card in a birthday card or envelop to exercise discretion. Consider giving them a gift card to their favorite coffee shop, restaurant or an office supply store so they can purchase accessories for their own office.

2. Gift basket

There are a variety of gift basket themes and sizes you can choose to give to your boss for their birthday. For example, if you know they enjoy gardening, you could get them a gift basket filled with seed starting kits, gardening tools and seed packets.

3. Mug or drink holder

A mug or tumbler with a fun feature, color, pattern or your boss's favorite TV-show character on it shows your thoughtfulness without spending too much. They can then add it to their collection of cups to use at work.

4. Desk toy

There are a variety of fun desk toys to help reduce stress or complement your boss's desk. If you have a more relaxed and personal relationship with your boss, you can get them a fun desk toy inspired by their favorite movie or joke.

5. Specialty coffee or tea

At work, a caffeinated beverage can help keep workers energized and productive. Consider getting your boss a specialty coffee or tea sampler set that they can try out during the workday.

6. Office plant and planter

Indoor plants are a great way to decorate office space with greenery. A potted plant can be a kind gesture for those who have a love for gardening or who already have plants in their office.

7. Business card holder

Business cards can get lost or crumpled up when tucked into wallets or folders. A business card holder keeps them secure and pristine, making it perfect to fit in a pocket or suit coat.

8. Notebook set

If your boss enjoys taking written notes during meetings, they may benefit from a set of notebooks. You can choose a print, color or sentiment that works well for your boss to make the gift more personal. For example, if your boss loves cats, a notebook set with cats on each cover may be appropriate.

9. Travel gear

Travel gear encompasses several different areas from neck pillows, toiletry holders, passport holders, travel bags and more. If your boss travels a lot for business or personal matters, giving them a travel-themed gift ensures it is something that will be of use to them.

10. Specialty alcohol

A bottle of wine, a whiskey sampler or drink making kit may be a perfect gift for your boss that they can use to celebrate a personal life event, holiday or business venture.

11. Candle or wax warmer

A candle or wax warmer can be a great gift for your boss to use in their office and at home.

12. Reusable office lunch utensils

For a boss who brings in their own lunch every day, providing them with reusable lunch utensils and containers may be a nice gesture. You can make this gift more personal by giving them a set in a specific color or pattern.

13. Tickets to a concert or event

If you know your boss well enough to know their favorite band or hobbies, you can purchase the tickets to an upcoming event you think they'd enjoy with family or friends.

14. Trinket dish or desk organizer

A trinket dish or desk organizer helps keep desktops clear and makes it easy to find things.

15. Posters

If you know your boss's favorite quote, TV show, movie, artist or place to travel, giving them a framed picture can be a thoughtful addition to their office decor.

16. Customizable calendar

Should your boss's birthday fall just before or at the beginning of the new year, a personalized calendar can be a unique gift.

17. Humidifier

Humidifiers are especially helpful to use in rooms with dry air. If you live in a hot dry climate, or winter-like climate, a humidifier may be a thoughtful gift for a boss who complains about dry skin or frequent sickness.

18. Throw blanket

You can't go wrong with a throw blanket as it's a comfortable gift that your boss can use in the office on cold days or at home.

19. Holiday ornament

If you know your boss celebrates a specific holiday and their birthday is around the holiday season, a unique ornament can be a fun and festive gift idea.

20. Book

A book whether it be about a particular hobby, historical event, business topic or genre can be a personal gift idea for your boss.

21. Bookends

If your boss has a bookshelf stacked with books, files and papers, a few stylish bookends can help decorate their office space while keeping their books organized.

22. Customizable nameplate

A name plate-like "World's Best Boss," or "Cat-Lady" maybe a funny gift idea for a more laid-back boss with whom you have a good relationship.

23. Bouquet of flowers

A bouquet of flowers is a thoughtful gesture for your boss that adds a floral touch to their office.

24. Homemade treats

If you're known for making the best brownies at the office party, this may be a great gift idea for your boss. You can make it more thoughtful by placing them in a decorative tin with a bow.

25. Eyeglass holder

Eyeglass holders are a unique gift idea for bosses who use reading glasses on and off throughout the day.

26. Mini Zen garden

A mini Zen garden is a great desk accent that promotes peace and relaxation.

27. Snack sampler

A snack sampler is a kind gesture that provides your boss with all of their favorite snacks. They can keep it in their office or take it home to share with their family.

28. Office slippers

For a boss who is at work early and leaves late, a nice pair of slippers can add comfort to their daily work routine.

29. Unique office accessories

Fun office accessories help personalize an office space. For example, a bedazzled stapler or a unique tape dispenser can be a fun and comic addition to your boss's desk.

30. Swiss Army knife

A Swiss Army knife has tons of useful features like a magnifying glass, bottle opener, pair of scissors and other gadgets.

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