We all know how much effort and pressure it takes to make sure we give our office boss a gift for the holidays, on his or her birthday, or just to suck up, and here’s the catch – giving gifts to your boss can be a little bit tricky. Your gift should be proper, practical, and appropriate, and should never ever be tacky because it’ll definitely reflect you as a gift-giver and as an employee.
But when budget is tight, as much as possible we want to avoid having to give presents to our boss because classy gifts are a tad expensive and those kinds of gifts have no room in our monthly budget.
The thing is, “class” doesn’t necessarily equal to “expensive”. Check out these cheapnik picks of cheap yet classy $20 & under gift ideas that are sure to impress your boss.
1. Parker Jotter Ballpoint Pen
This is my personal go-to gift: it can be a special or a limited edition which typically sells at a higher price point, but as a gift to your boss, you can safely start with this executive-feel, classic Parker Jotter Ballpoint Pen which you can also request to be engraved with your boss’ name for that personal effect, allowing your boss to appreciate you with every smooth handwriting stroke and every signature he or she does. This inexpensive yet sophisticated gift already comes in an elegant gift box – all these you can get for your boss for less than $10 – check it out here.
2. Classic Brown Leather Journal with Tie ($19.95)
This unique, high-toned gift from Barnes & Noble will not only please your boss, it will also show how chic and smart you are a person-slash-employee. You can gift this leather notebook as is or it could also be a perfect combination to the Parker Pen above to scream class and elegance without breaking the bank. Plus, this leather-bound upscale-feel goodness is something that your boss can actually use year-round, especially during those important meetings and what not. Get this leather journal here.
3. Coffee Beanery’s Sampler of Flavors
A great gift for the boss who’s very much into coffee – this sampler gift set of many different coffee flavors is sure to please your boss. The thing is, this is a consumable gift set and the memory of that special gifting moment isn’t one to last, but hey, this would still make for a great present to your boss. You can get this here.
4. The New York Times’ Historical New York Calendar ($18)
As per the New York Times: “This 2019 wall calendar takes you back in time with photos that depict New York’s evolution over the 20th century…” – this gift will not only take its viewer back in time and witness the majestic evolution of this great inspiring city, this classic item will also reflect your inner sophisticatedness – other bosses that go inside his or her office will appreciate it plus, your boss will appreciate you for a whole year each time s/he looks at this tasteful calendar. Get it here.
5. Custom Laser Etched Glass Flask ($20)
A great gift for the modern gentleman (or woman), this personalized, clean laser etched flask (16 oz.) is something that your liquor loving boss will truly appreciate. You can choose from many different letter stylings and coat of arms designs to give your boss a one-of-a-kind flask. Check it out here.
6. Bonsai Tree Zen Plant for Office Desktop
Your boss will surely love you for finally receiving a gift that calms and gives off inner peace with this Zen Bonsai desktop dwarf plant. The simplistic Asian style and very elegant features of this humble bonsai plant makes this an inexpensive yet superior gift that’s sure to beat any of your colleagues’ presents. Get it here.
7. Wooden Labyrinth Game
Add a bit of engaging and challenging fun to your boss’ desk with this classy Wooden Labyrinth Game that was handcrafted by artisans in India with the concept of the labyrinth as a meditation method, freeing the mind and allowing it to contemplate on the more important things. This wooden maze game comes with steel marbles your boss can move around to accomplish the maze’s goal – your boss will surely make this one of the treasures in his/her desktop. This classic wooden game that also makes for a great desktop accent is available here.
8. Wine Cork States Wall Artwork
A great present to your wine loving superior; this interactive wine cork artwork features different U.S. states and actually looks cool when your boss hangs it on his/her office wall – definitely a great conversation starter and your boss can fill it with only the finest wine corks from his favorite state – his current one, hopefully. Get this awesome gift here.
9. A Nice, Curated Bottle of White or Red Wine
Of course when time is running out and you still haven’t figured out a present to give to your boss, a nice bottle of white or red vino is a great and safe go-to gift that’s sure to impress anyone, especially wine lovers. Just make sure to stick to those fancy sounding bottles and avoid grocery-branded ones like Trader Joe’s $2 bottles because 1.) Your boss probably knows how much it’s worth and probably buys it all the time and 2.) your supposedly “impressive” gift can go quickly from “Wow!” to “Meh” just like that.
Need a suggestion? This 2016 Weingut Darting Durkheimer Nonnengarten Kabinett Riesling from Germany ($18) and 2017 Vietti Cascinetta Moscato d’Asti ($16) from Italy are some great (and fancy) selections that won’t hurt any earning employee’s wallet.
10. Any Management / Self-Help Book For The Great Leader & Manager Your Boss Truly Is (or at least in your eyes supposedly)
You can never go wrong with a leadership or a management or a self-help book as a present to your boss – just make sure the title is appropriate and cannot be misinterpreted by your boss in a bad light. Two great (and neutral) leadership books I suggest are “The One Minute Manager” and “StandOut: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assessment from the Leader of the Strengths Revolution“. These two are priced at below $20 for the hardcover versions, allowing you to subtly inform your boss by way of gifting that you are a cool and classy employee without having to shell out more than you really want to. 😉