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What to Give People at Work: Unexpected Holiday Ideas for Professionals

What to Give People at Work _ Red Cape Revolution

The clock’s ticking down to figure out what to give everyone this holiday season–and my stress level’s going up.

If you’re in the same tinseled boat, here are a few ideas that may kick up your gift-Q without deflating your money-Q. They’re all appropriate for the gift-worthy people at work, too.

(Note: Any Amazon links are affliiate links, which means Amazon credits me a few cents when you click and buy. All other links are  just services I’ve used and think are worth a look.)

What to Give People at Work

1 . Your Time is Always A Gift

One of the best gifts anyone ever gave me at work was the commitment of their time in the year ahead. Knowing how busy this person was, it was one of the best presents I got.

Time with another professional friend can take on many different shapes. Here are my favorites:

Lunches Out of the Office/Away from the Screen

Promises are good, but easy to break. Make your commitment of time real by buying a gift card to your colleague’s favorite local restaurant, and if you’re geographically co-located, book in-person lunches on the new year calendar now.

That way you both get out from behind your desk and into the real world. Or, if you’re both working remotely, schedule a shared lunch to be delivered.

Of course, it’s not about the lunch–it’s about the commitment to spend time with the person you’re thinking of. But lunch is a great excuse –we all need to eat and walk away once in a while.

Time for a Shared Project

Are you both job-seeking or thinking about what’s next? How about giving them the gift of a LinkedIn profile swap, i.e., “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”?

Book an hour together (live or on camera) and set the clock for 30 minutes. When the buzzer rings, you offer each other comments, make edits live, and then call it DONE!

The shared project idea is great for anything you might be procrastinating. If you are, someone you care about may be, too.

Time to Volunteer Together

In my work with clients, I often hear a longing to give back, but people don’t know where to start.

If you’re hearing this from a friend, give them a gift of a day (or a few hours) of volunteering together. You do the hard work of figuring out the what and when, and you and your friend spend time together doing good work for a good cause.

Of course, there are many other ways to gift your time to a colleague at work. If you’re not sure, there’s nothing wrong with asking them, too.

If you’d like to give something more tangible, try these simple options.

2. A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Since your camera is now in the same box of plastic where your phone and email live, you probably have (or can get) flattering photos of a colleague or friend at work or at a social event.

Make those images into something they’ve never been: REAL.

It only takes minutes to send a photo from your phone to print at your local drugstore or through services like Shutterfly or a million other apps.

Or, if you didn’t snap many shots this year, look for what they may have shared in public on Facebook or Instagram (if they shared it in public, it’s fair game.)

Put a great one in a simple frame to add some humanity to their drab taupe workstation.

Chances are they never got around to making a hard copy of this memory, and might be pleasantly surprised to get one from you.

3. Deal the Cards

No, hand-written notes and snail mail delivery are not out of style. They stand out more than ever.

During the holidays, a few words of appreciation and good wishes help those we care about know that they matter.

Who doesn’t need that kind of boost?

Sure, you can send an e-card instead. If you’re going to do this, remember that personalization is powerful.

If your relationships matter, send them a thought that does, too.

4. Read On

I don’t care how busy we get. Leaders are readers.

A book is a symbol of an idea, a feeling, encouragement and inspiration. When handed to a friend, it’s more than just a book. You can even gift ebooks (like this one!)

But don’t forget about that endangered species for readers: the magazine.

Magazines continue to be valuable ways to keep up with our professions and the business world at large.

Plus, this time of year, many magazines have discounted prices so they can document more readers to their advertiser base.

Or, is your giftee thinking about change? Magazines are typically inexpensive ways to experiment with a new field or just to have some fun.

Just search “[topic]+magazine” and you’ll find options you may have never heard of. Plus, you don’t have to be part of a profession or group to read as if you are.

5. For Those Worth a Little Bit More . . .

If you’ve got a little more to spend, consider buying them membership in their professional trade association (like SHRM for human resource pros or IABC for communication types).

Or, you could just cover their fees for a few meetings of your local chapter. Better yet, pay for both of you to go together.

Now more than ever, trade associations are filling in the gap of creating professional communities and providing career connections.

Belonging is a worthwhile investment.

Other Big Ideas

If you’re shopping for a spouse or significant other, maybe they need to get away for a weekend.

Alone (yes, without you. )

One of my clients said this was the best gift she ever got, allowing her to relax and get her thoughts clear about what she wanted next in her work and life.

You can always set it up as a retreat, too, and even hire a coach like me to ensure your someone special gets the most from their time (just set up a call here and we’ll talk more).

Helping someone start the new year with more clarity, confidence, and control over their life at work may be the gift that matters all year long.

And aren’t those the gifts we all want to receive? Happy holidays!

Want more help?

You’re a gift to us here at Red Cape Revolution, and if you’re not feeling as awesome as you are, let’s have a 30-minute chat. It’ll help you get unstuck and move forward, fast.

Just hit the button below, and pick a date and time. Answer a few short questions, and then I’ll call you at the time you picked. There’s nothing to prepare–just show up right where you are. If, after we talk, it sounds like one of my coaching programs or courses will help you going forward, I’ll share details after our call. There’s no pressure -my goal is to be helpful immediately.

Spots fill up fast, though, so schedule yours now and give yourself the gift you deserve.

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