gifts they might actually want

39 Gifts for Every Type of Boss

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

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Buying a gift for your boss is a lovely idea that can also feel like a minefield. The gift should feel familiar but maybe not too familiar, and it should reference something unique about them. At best, it will celebrate some of their interests outside work. Just don’t spend too much, or you risk making them uncomfortable.

To make the hunt easier, we’ve curated an extensive list of 39 gifts for every type of boss — from fitness obsessives to coffee drinkers to foodies — by combing through our archives for suggestions vetted and beloved by Strategist writers and editors, experts we’ve spoken to, and actual bosses and employees. We’ve also organized them by price, to make sure you can find something unique that’s within your budget. And while most of the gifts below can be found on Amazon, we’ve included some at other retailers too, for those who like to shop around.

Gifts for bosses under $25

For the boss who writes everything down

Photo: retailer

If they can’t go a day without passing you scraps of paper with to-do lists or notes about your team’s 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 wishes their lunch were more exciting

A pinch of flaky smoked sea salt from Icelandic company Saltverk — which produces its salts using sustainable geothermal energy — should zhuzh any lunch right up. Strategist contributor Hannah Howard says, “I’d never before experienced a smoked sea salt that was quite so satisfying.”

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 Strategist 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

DII Swedish Dishcloths
$15 for 3

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 whose desk accumulates mugs

These cleverly designed cork-backed Areaware coasters — a perennial Strategist favorite — provide a stylish way to protect their worktop from coffee rings. They can also be arranged to make a trivet for just-out-of-the-microwave desk lunches.

For the boss who is always doodling

Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo, who is also an illustrator, says this drawing pen is “great for graphic comic book–style drawings, filling in large areas, or just zoning out and drawing a bunch of satisfying stripes across the page.”

For the boss who is always on their phone

Omoton Adjustable Cell Phone Stand
From $11
From $11

Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness told us about this smartphone stand, which he learned about from a makeup-artist friend. Although he was skeptical at first, he quickly grew to love it and bought his own. “It frees up your hands so you don’t have to hold your phone so much,” Ness says.

For the boss who works out during lunch

$15 for 6

According to jeweler Ben Baller, Pocari Sweat is the Japanese equivalent of Gatorade, perfect for efficiently replenishing electrolytes.

For the boss who won’t touch the coffee in the break room

This ceramic dripper has been praised by baristas like Yasmina Palumbo, a co-owner of Mud Coffee in New York City, who swears by it for keeping pour-over as simple and delicious as possible.

For the boss who is more of a tea person

Tony Gebely, owner and founder of Tea Epicure, says his favorite infusers are made by Finum. “They last forever and can be thrown in the dishwasher. Mine are ten years old now and are showing no signs of wear.”

For the boss who runs hot

If your boss used to complain that the office temperature was too high, they’ll love this personal, USB-rechargeable fan. Strategist contributor Alison Freer wrote that the small-but-mighty fan stands up to even the most oppressively hot, 112-degree days of Palm Springs, California.

For the boss who’s always cold

Upgrade your boss’s office blanket to an office space heater. It’s compact, portable, and one of the best-rated on Amazon.

For the boss who bakes

In the gifting school of upgrading something they already use, professional bakers recommend swapping these organic Guittard wafers for chocolate chips. The disc shape creates “a much wider distribution of chocolate throughout the cookie,” according to Gage & Tollner pastry chef Caroline Schiff.

For the boss who puts hot sauce on their hot sauce

Strategist contributor Jancee Dunn includes this “addictive” and “mouth-scorching” hot sauce in the DIY gourmet baskets she sends to friends, and it will delight a capsaicin-seeking boss.

For the boss who’s getting into wine

In our guide to the best wine books, four experts recommended this book by John Bonné, a wine writer for 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 at Le Bernardin and the director of Aldo Sohm Wine Bar.

For the boss who can’t relax

This Tokyo incense company has been a Strategist favorite for years. Nippon has dozens of scents to choose from, so there’s bound to be something your boss likes, whether it’s wisteria or japanese cypress. There are 40 sticks in a box, and each one burns for about 25 minutes.

Gifts for bosses under $50

For the boss who is terrible at keeping track of time …

This simple, friendly timer is small enough to fit on a desk at the office or at home. As one contributor tells us, the 60-minute timer is a great motivational tool: It has “a visible red disk that slowly disappears as time runs out,” and “when time’s up, the clock simply emits a few beeps I would classify as ‘pleasant.’”

… and the one who is terrible at keeping track of wireless headphones

After washing her AirPods for a second time, Strategist junior writer Brenley Goertzen switched to these lightweight wired headphones that won’t ever get accidentally thrown in the laundry. Goertzen notes that the retro-looking Porta Pros are piercing-friendly (not too snug) and capable of reaching higher volumes than AirPods.

For the boss whose office is a kitchen table

Soundance Laptop Stand
From $26
From $26

If your boss is working from home, this clever desk accessory elevates a laptop by six inches, allowing them to maintain a more comfortable posture while they Slack. It comes in several shades including metallic blue and rose gold.

For the boss whose office is lined with bookshelves

Tyler Mitchell, the first Black photographer to shoot a cover of Vogue, published his first monograph this past summer. It comes recommended to us by a couple of people, including photographer Andrew French, who says Mitchell “has been influencing photographers new and old with his brilliant narratives.”

For the boss who does their best thinking in nature

Endorsed by Cecilia Alemani, the director and chief curator of High Line Art, this coffee-table book offers a “new, in-depth look at the High Line gardens” with text by Piet Oudolf, the horticulturist who designed the elevated park’s landscape.

For the boss who bikes to work

Ottolock Combination Bike Lock
From $40
From $40

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’s taking lots of business trips

Strategist contributor Chantel Tattoli says this travel-friendly pillow is like a “noise-canceling puff coat that you can wind around your neck and/or over your eyes or prop behind your back for lumbar support.”

For the boss with lots of hobbies

If your boss talks about their weekend DIY and art projects, they’ll appreciate this pocket watercolor set, which is compact enough that illustrator Alex Testere uses it to paint on flights.

For the boss who doesn’t have time to work out during lunch

Named the “breakout stars of quarantine workouts” by former Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson, these monochromatic Bala weights will add a little resistance to their walks around the office. Plus, the slim bands are adjustable, making them easy to hide under a pair of work pants.

For the boss who’s always got some sort of beverage in hand

Before you write off a water bottle as a gift, Sam Sanders, host of Vulture’s culture podcast, Into It, told us this one basically changed his life. The double-wall vacuum bottle keeps cold drinks extra chilly and hot drinks steamy, though that is not the mind-blowing part. The bottle has two spout options — one for chugging and one for sipping — making it perfect for guzzling water in the office or nursing a beer after work (Sanders noted that he can “fit two Modelos in there, and it’s a nice little sip and walk”).

For the boss who has vintage taste

This candle from a Black woman–owned brand comes recommended to us by “Sukie,” who was the right hand to a New York City hedge-fund managing director. Sukie’s boss had two favorite scents: the one shown and Lady Day, both of which reflected her 1920s-inspired personal style.

For the boss who’s vegan

While working as an executive assistant to one of the most recognizable fashion editors today, “Leah” told us her boss began sending produce (instead of flowers) to friends. The idea comes from Gucci, which presented guests at one show with CSA boxes from New York food purveyor Farm to People.

For the boss with a messy desk

When we asked professional organizers about the best desk accessories for decluttering, one pointed us to this stand from Strategist-favorite Yamazaki because it can hold “anything from writing utensils to glasses to smartphones” and has “clean lines that make it a work of art.”

For the boss who already owns a Boy Smells candle

Boy Smells, the maker of our best-smelling candle, recently launched its first hand lotions. Each is fast-absorbing and formulated to target skin issues like aging, dehydration, and texture. The lotions are available in three of the brand’s scents: floral Petalia, earthy Cannabish, and smoky Fantôme, seen here.

For the boss who’s working on their posture

This S-shaped tool, which is the best thing Strategist junior writer Kitty Guo bought in 2022, will let them massage hard-to-reach spots without twisting or straining at their desk. It’s also recommended by Ottessa Moshfegh and Daniel Kwan, both of whom say it has eased their chronic back problems.

Gifts for bosses under $100

For the boss who prefers a spritz

When we spoke to “Ted,” who has been an executive assistant and chief of staff to creative executives for over a decade, he recommended this non-cliché Champagne, which he says is superior to Veuve even though they’re similar in price. Ted notes the choice of Perrier-Jouët also suggests that more thought was put into the gift, indicating the giver has done more than just the default.

For the boss who watches back-to-back in-flight movies on work trips

Food stylist Judy Kim can use her AirPods with in-flight entertainment systems thanks to this adapter, which eliminates the need to pack an extra pair of corded headphones specifically for the plane. Kim also appreciates that seatmates can reach the aisle without getting tangled, meaning she doesn’t “have to unplug corded headphones, then my seatbelt, and then redo the whole setup, so it’s not a mess.”

For the boss whose back could use a little TLC

Sitting all day — even if your boss has an ergonomic desk chair — can lead to back strain, which can be reduced with this acupressure mat recommended by actress Kat Dennings. “You kind of go numb,” Dennings says of the sensation of lying on the spikes. “Then, when you sit up, the blood rushes to your back.” Walking on the mat also helped with discomfort caused by being on her feet all day: “It’s brutal but feels great,” she says.

For the boss who appreciates style and function

Help your boss spruce up their laptop with this modern Monstera-print snap-on case by Casetify. Available for a variety of MacBook sizes, the case is scratch resistant and has an anti-slip grip.

For the boss who drinks cold brew year-round

Photo: retailer

Recommended by MochaBox Coffee co-owners Harlin Thomas II and Floyd Sartin for being durable, affordable, and “easy to use,” this set will support your boss’s cold-brew habit.

For the boss with a pricey smoothie habit

Convenient and compact, this blender is what New York City Mayor Eric Adams uses to make a smoothie each morning. “The NutriBullet blends better and faster than others,” Adams told us. “I like how I can just drink from the vessel, too, or put a cap on it and carry it with me” — something an on-the-go boss would appreciate.

For the audiophile boss

Photo: retailer

When we tested the latest Bluetooth speakers, the UE Wonderboom 2 was our best pick overall, receiving praise for its simplicity and ruggedness. “It survived enough drops and falls to be in a John Wick movie,” says former Strategist tech writer Jordan Bowman, who also appreciates the easy-to-press buttons and 13-hour battery life.

For the boss who takes a lot of photos

To help your boss show off their camera roll, get them this digital frame, which is our top-rated option that doesn’t need Wi-Fi. They can easily curate their photos and connect to the device using a USB stick or MicroSD card. Reviewers praise the included remote, because it’s easy to browse photos from a distance.

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39 Gifts for Every Type of Boss