gifts they might actually want

The Best Gifts for Every Type of Boss

Photo-Illustration: Retailers

Buying a gift for your boss can be a potential minefield. Spend too much and you risk making them feel uncomfortable. Spend too little and you might as well not get anything at all. The gift should feel familiar — but maybe not too familiar — and at best might even reflect some of their interests outside of work. To make the hunt a little easier, we found gifts for every type of boss there is, from camping obsessives to book collectors, workout enthusiasts to people whose Zoom backgrounds are nothing but plants.

For the boss whose office coffee table needs a boost

Jean-Francois Jaussaud’s intimate photographs feature acclaimed French-born artist Louise Bourgeois in her New York City studio. The collection spans the last 11 years of Bourgeois’s life, before she died in 2010.

Tyler Mitchell is a prolific photographer famously known for being the first Black photographer to shoot the cover of Vogue. His first monograph was recommended to us by the photographer Andrew French, who says, “Mitchell’s work was featured as the first exhibition at the new ICP space this last winter. He has been influencing photographers new and old with his brilliant narratives.”

For the ecoconscious boss

Baggus make the perfect gift for just about everyone on your list, and this canvas paper bag is too cool. Impress your boss with your impeccable taste.

For the boss who swims laps

If you know there’s a pool in your boss’s life, gift this pair of swim goggles, which comes recommended by competitive swimmers and swimming coaches alike (this pair was also a favorite of Strategist readers this month).

For the boss who likes to run

When we polled nearly two-dozen athletes and trainers to find the best workout headphones, Mick Rouse, a tennis player and coach, recommended the Anker Soundbuds. He describes them as “the best bang for your buck,” with a ten-hour battery life and sound quality that rivals higher-end models. They’re waterproof too, which is good if your boss is a sweater.

For the boss who loves an impromptu brainstorming session

Photo: retailer

It might seem like a gag gift, but this showerproof notepad is no joke: Crime writer Karin Slaughter wrote about how these are her go-to for jotting down plot points when inspiration strikes in the shower. They even come with a pencil inscribed with the saying, “No more great ideas down the drain!”

For the boss who cooks dinner fireside

If your boss is into camping, the tent, sleeping bag, and backpack are probably covered — so why not give a camping accessory your boss probably won’t think of? This steel lunch box comes recommended by Scott Briscoe, the founder of WeGotNext, a nonprofit group that seeks to diversify who is using our outdoor spaces. He says it’s great for those cooking at the campsite who want something easy (and natureproof) to store leftovers in: “They’re light, stackable, and you can put food that you don’t finish eating in one and have it later.”

For the boss who’s addicted to cold brew


Cold brew is expensive. Your boss will thank you for keeping your eye on the bottom line.

For the boss who’s more of a tea person

These gorgeous ceramic tea cups are handmade and oh-so wabi-sabi.

For the boss with an antique wood desk

A set of coasters made from real Carrara marble are a handsome place for your boss to set cups full of cold brew, tea, or anything else — while protecting the wood surface of a desk.

For the boss who runs hot

If your boss once complained that the office temperature was too high, chances are a direct blast of cool air from this personal (USB rechargeable) fan will be appreciated. Strategist contributor Alison Freer wrote that the small-but-mighty fan stands up to even the most oppressively hot, 112-degree Palm Springs days.

For the boss with a sweet tooth

These bite-size versions of our favorite status chocolates will satisfy most cravings.

For the boss who likes to picnic in comfort

Sure, sitting on the ground for a picnic is charming for a while — until your legs fall asleep and all you want is a chair. In a recent Strategist Haul, senior editor Anthony Rotunno wrote about an extremely comfortable lawn chair that’s low enough so that you’re “eye level with anyone sitting on a blanket or the ground,” and which we think would make an ideal gift for the boss who prefers some elevation while eating.

For the boss who loves to cook

Ruth Reichl’s chronicle of her time as editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine is a must-read for anyone with even a casual interest in food.

For the boss who’s getting into wine

In our guide to the best wine books recommended by sommeliers, four different experts recommend this book by John Bonné, a wine writer with a column in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Wine is always so filled with rules and intimidations and people feeling insecure. He actually breaks it down just beautifully. He gives people a certain security and lifts all these myths,” says Aldo Sohm, a wine director of three-Michelin-star Le Bernardin and the face of Aldo Sohm Wine Bar.

For the boss who’s on a health kick

Convenient and compact, this blender — which K-pop star Jackson Wang uses to make his daily protein drink — will let your boss create the perfect smoothie every time.

For the boss who’s always jotting stuff down

A notebook whose pages take the form of a screen that can be wiped down with a wet paper towel and reused endlessly. Your boss can also email notes to himself or herself, too.

For the (low-tech) boss who’s always jotting stuff down