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A Gift Under $50 for Every Type of Employee

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Gifting as a boss can be difficult. On the one hand, your employees are just that: employees. On the other, they’re people you likely see more regularly than your own friends and family. The sweet spot, we tend to think, is something under $50, thoughtful but not overly personal (shampoo, say, or, horror of horrors, an item of clothing), and that can resonate both in and out of the office. A fine line to walk, we realize, so we’ve rounded up a series of options below that we’re certain will do the trick. Plus: All of them can be promptly ordered on Amazon.

For the employee who has complimented your Monstera

Both guidebook and coffee-table decoration, The Leaf Supply Guide to Creating Your Indoor Jungle is a guide to turning any home into one of those junglelike, light-filled abodes they’ve likely seen on Instagram. It’s written by the founders of nursery and interior-design store Leaf Supply, and covers everything from how to care for houseplants to nailing down a singular houseplant aesthetic.

For the employee who is already a human parent

This visual timer worked wonders for helping writer Sean O’Neal’s twin daughters conceptualize time, thanks to its visual counting-down mechanism — a red circle that’s somehow both helpful and cool-looking. We like this cheerful lime-green hue, although it’s available in sky blue and charcoal gray, too.

For the employee aspiring to a zero-waste lifestyle

Going completely waste free is a challenging feat, but reusable sandwich bags are a good start. Gift your employee with this highly rated self-sealing bag, available in vibrant, translucent shades.

For the employee who talks a lot about their cat

Cat parents love nothing more than thoughtful gifts for their feline friends. We recommend this Rio-approved tunnel, which promises hours of entertainment. Plus, it folds down flat, so it can be stored in even the smallest of apartments.

For the employee who always stays late


This desk lamp is top rated on Amazon, offers seven different brightness levels, and has a built-in USB port to charge your phone. And, apparently, it’s quite gentle on the eyes — perfect for the migraineur or the light sensitive on staff.

For the employee that’s always cold

LOMAO Flannel Blanket

A cozy, borderline elegant (thanks to the handsome pom-poms) throw blanket that’ll keep them warm during the office’s most arctic season of the year (summer).

For the employee that’s always hot

This compact yet powerful fan is powered by USB, so they don’t have to sacrifice precious outlet space. Plus, according to enthusiastic reviewers, it is quiet — so it won’t irritate their neighbors.

For the employee with nice handwriting

Good handwriting deserves a worthy page — like the ones in this Leuchtturm1917, a Strat favorite with dotted, not bold, lines. Writer Dominique Pariso says it “delivers on the hype,” noting that it feels high quality without being too precious.

For the employee with an impressive book collection

A pair of sturdy bookends that’ll hold their James Baldwins, or their James Pattersons, if that’s more their thing.

For the employee who always has their AirPods in

A silicone case (that comes in a bevy of colors, from lavender to burgundy to navy) is the answer to keeping their regular case pristine — and is likely something they wouldn’t buy for themselves.

For the employee that brings their lunch in a plastic bag

The Baggu currently holds the coveted “best open-top nylon tote” spot in our roundup of the Best Tote Bags, and comes in an array of lunch-bag-appropriate designs, from the Thank You Happy design for the corner-store loyalist to Big Check Lime for the employee who wishes they were picnicking at Storm King instead of, y’know, eating a sad desk.

For the employee who needs a USB-C, USB charger, and everything in between

Multiuse products are always convenient, which is why we recommend the Ultra USB cable for your multi-device-using employee. Strategist contributor Matt Goulet recently penned an ode to its usefulness, claiming that it helped him cut down his box of cords from 30 to one.

For the employee who doesn’t leave their desk all day


Topping our Best Back Support Pillows and Cushions list is the Core Products SitBack Rest, a chair add-on that chiropractor Rudy Gehrman says “makes sitting less evil.” This is a great gift for a member of your team who spends most of their time at their desk — it’s likely the rest of your staff will end up wanting one too.

For the employee who likes to sneak in a quick workout

Chris Black recommends these rotating push-up handles (they employ a ball-bearing system that offers full rotation and alignment of the arms and wrists) to make working from home more enjoyable, but they’re great for employees both in the office and remote.

For the employee with an involved skin-care routine

Chances are if someone on your team has an insane skin-care routine, you know about it. Give them a gift of a desk humidifier, which will ensure their hard-won dewiness doesn’t get ruined in the dry office air. This portable one hooks up via USB, and offers eight hours of uninterrupted mist.

For the employee with low lighting

Hard-to-kill plants are the ideal gifts for anyone who sits at a desk that doesn’t have ideal light — it’ll add a little life to an otherwise dim corner. Gift them a hardy, low-light option like this Strat-approved pothos, which flourishes in almost any condition.

For the employee who takes hydrating seriously

Dubbed “next up” in the world of status water bottles, a sizable Nalgene is the perfect gift for the employee who’s constantly sipping. Opt for a narrow-mouth bottle for easy drinking in a bright, poppy hue.

For the employe with endless packages


This “finger-friendly” blade is pocket-size and made out of ceramic, which means it’s nearly impossible to cut yourself while using it.

For the employee who only drinks tea

$13 for 2

A highly rated tea infuser that (charmingly, we promise) makes every cup look like the Loch Ness Monster’s bath.

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 acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

A Gift Under $50 for Every Type of Employee