AML in Print



Oakland Tribune
Sunday, December 5, 2004

Whom to give what at work


Lisa Grotts, who was the director of protocol for the city of San Francisco under Mayor Willie Brown, says that there are circumstances in which gifts are inappropriate.  Like the office.

"When I teach gift giving etiquette to my clients, I suggest not doing it, she says.  It becomes competitive, and people who make more than others give bigger gifts, and it makes people uncomfortable."

A nice gesture instead is to celebrate with an office Christmas lunch, or a secret Santa gift exchange in which you explicitly can't spend more than $10.

If you work with friends, you may want to give them a little something for the holidays, but don't do it at work to prevent curious coworkers from feeling left out.

And as for your boss, Grotts says etiquette generally says to abstain from giving a gift, partly because it looks like you're trying to curry favor and partly because it makes the relationship weird.  "Heck, I think the boss should be giving a gift to you," she says.