gifts they might actually want

A Gift Under $50 for Every Type of Co-worker

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of the retailer.

Coming up with gift ideas for co-workers can be surprisingly difficult, especially now that so many of our interactions are happening via Zoom or Google Hangouts. But the general principal of co-worker gifting remains the same: items that are thoughtful, but don’t cost too much, or accidentally offend. This is not an easy balance to strike. Which is why we did the legwork for you, and hunted down the 36 best gifts under $50 for every type of co-worker, from your work spouse, to your department’s intern, to the HR representative who kindly and patiently explained your company’s retirement benefits to you.

For the co-worker who has everything (except a green thumb)

Giving a plant can be a little risky, especially if the recipient doesn’t have a green thumb or lives in a setting with less-than-ideal lighting, which is why we suggest opting for a (very real-looking) artificial plant instead, like this lovely faux anthurium.

For the co-worker who always asked to borrow your charger

The gold standard of cables, according to writer Alison Freer, the Anker phone charger is ten feet long and covered in a durable double-braided nylon that’s virtually indestructible.

For the co-worker who’s become a quarantine influencer

Writer Francesca Giacco told us that her favorite phone case reminds her of the ubiquitous Ultrafragola mirror, and “makes my reflection look … better. The case always shows me a version of myself that appears better restedmoisturized, and generally more attractive.”

For the co-worker who multitasks

Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness told us about this handy-dandy phone “easel” that will free up your multitasking colleagues’ hands so they can work on spinning even more plates.

For the co-worker who hoarded salt packets in their desk

If your co-worker likes to add salt to everything, you cannot go wrong with this massive tub of Maldon. The salt just so happens to be one of former Vogue editor Tonne Goodman’s favorites to give, a fact we unearthed when we asked 130 people with exceptional taste to tell us about their go-to gifts.

For the co-worker who brought two boiled eggs for breakfast

If you miss the tap-tap-tapping sound of your keto-dieting co-worker preparing breakfast, consider gifting them this stoneware egg cup which are big enough to fit even extra-large eggs.

For the co-worker who constantly Slacks you about good WFH footwear

Comfy, breathable, and psychedelic. What’s not to love?

For the co-worker who’s a neat freak

If their Zoom background is always spick-and-span, they’ll likely appreciate these time-saving dryer balls that, according to former Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens, are “an all-natural fabric softener that staves off static, prevents wrinkles, and — maybe most appealingly — cuts down on drying time.”

For the co-worker who’s a cat person

They’ll appreciate that it comes with a matching bracelet (for a human), and the tacit message that you’ll never get sick of hearing about their feline friend.

For the co-worker who’s more of a dog person

Strategist writer Liza Corsillo’s doggo, Uli, owns this sporty bandana that looks adorable on and protects against ticks.

For the co-worker who needs to take quarantine one day at a time

Charlie Brown always took each day as it came. This wall calendar featuring him and the rest of his Peanuts crew will help your co-worker do the same.

For the co-worker who’s also your work spouse

A lovely, 100 percent cashmere beanie says “I love you” — but in a platonic, professional way.

For the co-worker whose positive vibes are contagious

These plump little bud vases have a Heath Ceramics–esque look to them and will brighten up their home desk.

For the co-worker who’s always cold

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, no less. (It would also look great draped over your own wall ladder at home, for what it’s worth.)

For the co-worker who says their home is “dry”

This charming mini-humidifier is powered via USB, and also happens to be shaped like a cactus.

For the co-worker who always shares their skin-care tips

This French facial mist is another line of defense against dry air — and also acts as the perfect mid-afternoon facial spray pick-me-up. It’s a favorite of Rio’s and a bunch of other beauty experts’, too.

For the intern who went above and beyond

Give them a handsome notebook, complete with a slot for the cult-y Blackwing pencil, which actor Rob Corddry swears by. If they really went above and beyond, throw in a slick backup pen to go with it.

Like this sleek ballpoint, which came in second in our ranking of the 100 best pens, and yields the “thinnest, smoothest line,” according to our editors, and looks good, too, with its handsome hexagonal tube design.

For the co-worker who’s known to drink an afternoon coffee

This travel cup that’s a favorite among coffee connoisseurs will help your co-worker move away from their single-use paper cup and plastic lid habit.

For the co-worker who’s become a quasi-professional barista

This little coffee dripper will let them make a single serving of pour-over coffee right at their desk (or, you know, kitchen table).