Coming up with gift ideas for co-workers can be surprisingly difficult, especially when you consider the fact that many of us spend more of our waking hours each day with the people in our office than our actual family members. The best co-worker gifts are thoughtful, but don’t cost too much or accidentally offend — because you are in a professional workplace, at the end of the day — and that can be a tricky balance to find.
That’s why we did the thinking for you and hunted down the best gifts under $30 for every type of co-worker, from your work spouse to your department’s intern, even the HR representative who patiently explained your company’s retirement options to you.
For the boss who has everything
Yes, you can order live plants on Amazon, and this expensive-looking orchid in a clean ceramic pot will liven up even the pickiest boss’s office.
For the colleague who always needs to borrow your phone charger
Select All’s Madison Malone Kircher describes this ten-foot-long iPhone charging cord as “one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.”
For the co-worker-slash-work-spouse you spend too much time sharing GIFs with on Slack
A meme-inspired pin for the only other person in the office who will appreciate Emily’s family Christmas card as much as you did.
For the person who asks, “Is it cold in here, or is it just me?” at least once a day
The best desk blanket, according to our colleagues at the Cut, is one that isn’t too heavy, is relatively inexpensive, and looks more like a shawl than a duvet. This cotton number definitely fits that bill, and for less than $20 (and would also look great draped over your own wall ladder at home, for what it’s worth).
For the co-worker who thinks the office air is “too dry”
This charming mini-humidifier is powered with a USB cord and is also shaped like a lemon.
For the intern who went above and beyond this semester
Give them a handsome notebook that’ll help them impress at their next job, complete with a slot for the culty Blackwing pencil.
For the co-worker who tried to get rid of the candy in the vending machine
This well-reviewed, stylish travel mug keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for hours on end — something a health-conscious, well-hydrated co-worker who makes their own smoothies before work every morning will be sure to appreciate.
For the person who’s worried about sitting down at their desk for too long
This under-desk exercise machine is also great for fidgeters.
For the colleague who works out during lunch
This attractive glass water bottle will remind them to stay hydrated when they get back to their desk.
For the co-worker who thinks the office’s coffee tastes like mud
This travel mug will let them make French press–style coffee at their desk.
For the office manager who leaves notes reminding everyone to clean up after themselves in the kitchen
This miniature vacuum cleaner will at least help them keep their desks free of crumbs, even if the office cafeteria won’t be.
For the cubicle-mate you sit next to but don’t know that well
Even if your office neighbor uses these cheap but expensive-looking bookends as paperweights, at least they’ll be nice to look at every day.
For the co-worker who gets all of the swag
This reusable shopping bag folds up, so it fits into any desk drawer or purse, but is still big enough to easily hold larger packages.
For the colleague who organizes the officewide happy hours
If nothing else, every office needs someone with a bottle opener.
For the co-worker who never checks the weather before leaving the house
This umbrella folds up small enough to fit into any desk drawer and most bags or purses — and will keep your co-worker dry when they need it most.
For the colleague with whom you email daily, but have never actually met in person
This perpetual calendar is well-designed enough to impress, but still generic enough so as not to accidentally offend.
For the person who wants to make their desk feel more cozy
Recommended by Strategist writer Lori Keong who describes this vibrant mug with tea infuser as “the perfect color to make my fluorescent cubicle feel more homey.”
For the co-worker whose desk is in a closet
This highly-reviewed desk lamp will make your co-worker’s work space feel a little less cavernous.
For the colleague who’s always working remotely
Get them an external battery pack, so they can stay plugged in no matter where in the world they might be, even if it’s, say, a houseboat in Amsterdam.
For the person in HR who answers all of your questions about health insurance
A simple but cute donkey-shaped desk organizer is a thoughtful gift for the HR rep whose desk is always swamped with papers.
For the co-worker who’s always watching the clock
A mug that makes it clear when somebody’s just working for the weekend.
For the colleague who loves sharing their skin-care tips
These facial mists are perfect for a midafternoon pick-me-up.
For the co-worker who’s planning for her future
This handbook is part workbook, with exercises on how to navigate and plan a fulfilling creative career, and part job advice from successful women like Elaine Welteroth and Sandy Liang.
For the colleague who’s always listening to productivity podcasts at their desk
This book delves into the everyday routines of 161 artists and writers, to better understand how they created their work.
For the person in the mail room who’s been accepting all these Amazon packages for you
Giving a giant box of chocolates to the hardworking folks in the mail room and at your office’s reception desk is the least you can do this holiday season.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
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