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$25 Christmas item for co-workers

Miss Marple

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My pharmacy technicians are ladies over age 40.  They are not well off by any means.  One lady just started raising her grandchildren.  My first idea was to get them a froo-froo kind of gift (like a Kate Spade travel tumbler) but I'm wondering if they would prefer something like a gift card to a local grocery store.  While I would like to get them something they would never get themselves, I wonder if a more utilitarian gift might be more appreciated.  Ideas?

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Cash tucked inside a holiday card. If these ladies are not in great financial shape, they would probably much prefer being able to spend the money wherever they like, rather than being restricted to a specific store.


As an example, if you give them a Target card but the prices are lower at Walmart, they will wish the card was for Walmart. If you give them a Target card but they would have preferred to spend the money on a Christmas gift for one of their dds at Ulta, the Target card won't help them.


That's why I vote for cash. :)

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I'm a tech and what I have received:


A nice pen (sweet idea, but wasn't really used)

Movie tickets.  We have a very nice theatre in town and the tickets were for there so we could each splurge on a date night that we normally couldn't/wouldn't want to afford.

Starbucks card (there was one in the same business at that time).  Very appreciated for obvious reasons.

Cash....can't go wrong! LOL 

Store gift card for the business where we worked.  Very nice and useful, but didn't have a 'gift' vibe when it was used like the Starbucks card did.

Restaurant gift card.   I gave it to my son.  I didn't frequent that restaurant, but if it had been to a place I went on my lunches, it would have been nice.

Sees Candy.  Nice since I like chocolate.

Bottle of wine.  I'm not a wine drinker and it was weird to get a alcohol from my boss.

Clear plastic Purse.  (we can't bring anything in the pharmacy unless it is in a clear bag).  Tossed in the Goodwill bag.

Slippers. Kept for a year since they brought them in their luggage all they way home from vacation overseas, and then tossed in the Goodwill bag.

A pretty beaded purse from China (traveling gift) I never used it, but my kids loved it for the dress up box. 

Slip on shoes from China Town (NYC traveling gift) I used them for taking out the garbage.  I don't mean that as a slight. They were really handy for that.  They were outdoor quality but completely flat so I couldn't wear them for more than a short bit.

I heart NY....T-shirt from NYC.  Tossed. 

Good lotion in a scent I like.   Used up :0)



What I often give:


Starbucks travel cup and gift card. 

Penzys spices and a cute baking dish (le Creuset style) for serving dips or a side of veggies.  

Victoria's Secret gift card

Gift card to a Favorite restaurant of the person receiving the gift. 

Gift card to a favorite lunch spot. 

Gift card to a casino for certain people who love to go there.

A breakfast gift basket for those who like to cook.  A nice flavored waffle mix (CostPlus World Market is a good place for those) and fun syrups.

Sometimes they are unique to the person. One coworker had favorite pens and was always loosing hers.  They were about a dollar a piece, so more than just a bic pen, but still not terribly expensive. I gave her 24 pens, in a cute way.  She loved it.  LOL

Movie tickets to those who go to the movies, especially if they are dating age.

One coworker stops at McDonalds every day on her  1hr drive home, so I gave her a gift card to there.  I normally wouldn't do fast food, but she thought it was great. 

I gave an iTunes gift card to one person, who really loved iTunes and spent lots of money on music and aps.  I wouldn't normally do that but they definitely used it.

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I like the gift card idea.  For a specific place if you know what they like, but cash or a VISA or AMEX card if not.  Or cash!  I'd be careful about Amazon.  People who don't regularly shop there and aren't prime members may see some of their card eaten up with shipping costs.  

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If they are your employees, and you're doing it as their boss, then cash is king. We do cash bonuses/gifts for all employees.


If they are co-workers or anyone else, then I think cash is lame. 


However, if you are their supervisor but not employer, then it is a gray zone. I haven't been there before (we own our business). . . if you are their supervisor, then I think you can go either way. Cash/gift card if the actual employer doesn't do holiday bonuses. Cute nice gift if the employer does cash. Either way is good, I think. Just remember you are setting a precedent! You WILL be expected to hand out cash every year if you do it this year . . . So be careful!


FWIW, when dh worked as a vet for other practices (before he owned his own), he never gave things to the other staff/lay staff/etc. Bringing in donuts or bagels is as far as he went. He left it to the owners to give holiday or other gifts/bonuses. We never thought of doing anything different. . .  (Occasional food was definitely appreciated by the support staff, though.)

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Grocery store might embarrass me (as recipient). Target, etc seems safer like less you can read into it. As always it is a game of knowing your target (no pun intended) audience for lack of better term.


Are you their boss? Then I agree a cash bonus sounds good. I actually just read out of the Emily Post book on business etiquette regarding gifts the other day. $25 was the cap for certain gifts so it is probably perfect.

Not really their boss.  I'm the supervising pharmacist - and I'm just part time.  This is a very small hospital (40 beds) and both my husband (physician) and I work there.  These techs have been there for years so it's a bit like an extended family situation.

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