gifts they might actually want

36 Gifts for Every Type of Boss

Photo: The Strategist. Photos: Retailers

Buying a gift for your boss can feel like a 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. It should reference something unique about them but nothing they don’t want noted. At best, it will reflect some of their interests outside of work. To make the hunt a little easier, we found gifts for every type of boss out there, from fitness obsessives to coffee drinkers to working parents to people whose Zoom backgrounds are a wall of plants. While all of the 36 gifts below can be found on Amazon, we found some at other retailers, too.

For the boss who always writes things down

Photo: retailer

If they can’t go a day without passing you scraps of paper with to-do lists or notes about their next big project, your boss will appreciate this waterproof notepad, which crime writer Karin Slaughter uses to craft plots in the shower. “Each pad contains 40 sheets which are perforated at the top,” Slaughter says. “This is great because they’re super-easy to tear off.”

For the boss who appreciates a handwritten note

These note cards from Princeton Architectural Press come recommended by graphic designer Alex Daly, who is “obsessed” with the red-and-black patterns produced by the designer-favorite Olivetti Lettera 32 typewriter.

For the boss who just got engaged

Engagement gifts can be tricky, especially when you know only half of the couple. When in doubt, send a plant. Erin Marino of the Sill recommends calatheas, which are “colorful and ornate, so they’re gorgeous to give” as well as being safe for pets and adaptable to a range of light conditions. This one comes with a biodegradable planter, so there’s no need to repot before gifting.

For the boss who is terrible with time

This neat-looking timer is small enough to fit on a desk (at the office or at home). As one contributor tells us, the 60-minute timer has “a visible red disk that slowly disappears as time runs out.”

For the boss who bikes to work

Photo: retailer

Jeff Selzer, the general manager at Palo Alto Bicycles, recommends this colorful bike lock as a perfect gift for any cyclist. “You don’t need to worry about losing the key, as it uses a combination lock,” he explains. “And they’re surprisingly durable for how lightweight they are.”

For the boss who always brings a three-course lunch

This sleek, compact bento box developed by Japanese manufacturer Takenaka in the 1920s is a longtime Strategist favorite for its leakproof design and wide color range. It’s also dishwasher and microwave safe. Perfect for a boss taking an elaborate lunch on the go.

For the boss who wishes their lunch were more exciting

A pinch of this flaky seaweed sea salt from Icelandic company Saltverk — which produces its salts using sustainable geothermal energy —should zhuzh that lunch right up.

For the boss who is known to leave some crumbs behind

Most napkins would feel too informal to gift. But these from Caspari, which former senior editor Anthony Rotunno describes as “museum quality,” are not just any napkin. The 70-year-old brand collaborates with museums on some of its designs.

For the (ecofriendly) boss who is known to leave some crumbs behind

If they’re trying to minimize waste, your boss may prefer cleaning up with these Swedish dishcloths that contributor Ashlea Halpern uses in place of paper towels. Made of 100 percent naturally biodegradable cellulose, they’re super-absorbent and pretty, too.

For the boss who has a windowless office

This simple, elegant iron desk lamp was praised by designer Shannon Retseck for its “no-fuss design” and for looking more expensive than it is.

For the boss whose office is a kitchen table

Soundance Laptop Stand
$35
$35

If your boss is working from home (or any space that serves as a makeshift office), this clever desk accessory elevates a laptop by six inches, allowing your boss to maintain a better posture while they Slack — something they (and their wrists) will surely thank you for. It comes in several shades, including metallic blue and rose gold.