What To Buy For Your Office Kris Kringle

Office woman with gifts
© Ira Bachinskaya | Dreamstime.com

At this time of year, office workers around the world are racking their collective brains about what on earth to buy their Kris Kringle. It’s a fun tradition that can help bring colleagues together, but it can also be a minefield as you try to think of something that won’t embarrass, offend or be thrown into the rubbish bin.

Coming up with good gift ideas can be difficult at the best of times, but it can be even harder when you’re buying for someone you barely know (or like) and are limited to a budget of $20 or less. But don’t sweat it – here are some tips to help take the stress out of Kris Kringle.

Some gift suggestions are at the end of this article

What not to buy

Everyone enjoys a good joke, but you have to be careful when buying a ‘humorous’ gift – the recipient may not find your choice quite so amusing. On one blog, a male worker wrote about buying his female boss a Hulk mug. Not surprisingly, it didn’t go down well.

You can be cute or quirky, but definitely don’t be mean – even if you don’t think much of your Kris Kringle. Get in the spirit of giving, put aside any petty differences and add to the camaraderie of the occasion. Even if you don’t particularly like the person, do the classy thing and give them a decent present that you think they will like.

General items to avoid include:

  • anything to do with weight loss, exercise or fitness (they might take this as a suggestion that you think they’re a fat, lazy slob)
  • anything too personal, such as underwear or sleepwear
  • items such as toothbrushes or deodorant that might suggest their personal hygiene leaves something to be desired
  • anything with a sexual connotation – this could embarrass them and get you into hot water

What to buy

There’s a good chance your KK will eventually find out who gave them the gift, so make sure you buy something you’ll feel comfortable with them knowing came from you.

Do some research so you can get something with a personal touch. What are their interests – sport, food, wine, travel, photography? Do they accessorise or have a favourite colour? If you’re stumped, you could ask colleagues who know them a bit better – after swearing them to secrecy, of course.

Suggested shops

Useful stores to check out include DJs, Myer, Target, The Reject Shop, Freedom, Bunnings, Big W, K Mart and The Body Shop. If you’re organised and get onto it quickly you could also buy from websites such as dstore, etsy.com, uponafold.com.au or artscow.com.

An ethical present

Alternatively, you could ditch the commercial approach and donate to charity on your recipient’s behalf – but be sure to still buy them a small gift so they have something to open during the festivities. Oxfam offers a range of cute charity cards in which you can declare to your KK that you bought livestock in a developing country on their behalf.

Need some more gift ideas? Check out '8 Kris Kringle gifts that won't get you fired'.

Gift suggestions


  • quality chocolates
  • mug filled with chocolates
  • DVD or CD
  • book or cookbook
  • bottle of wine
  • gourmet food item – sauces, oils, biscuits, jams, condiments, spices
  • gourmet teas/coffee
  • scented candles
  • picture frame
  • plant
  • calendar, diary or stationery
  • puzzle/sudoku book
  • vase
  • iTunes voucher
  • food hamper
  • travel bag
  • beach bag or towel
  • gadget (phone, iPad, computer) accessories
  • cocktail kit/shotglasses
  • pet accessories


For men:

  • cufflinks
  • boutique beer
  • bottle opener – can be humorous such as the Family Guy talking bottle opener
  • joke book
  • liqueur chocolates
  • games – poker set, chess set, drinking game set, magnetic dartboard
  • Maglite mini-torch
  • keychain multi-tool
  • BBQ accessories – grilling gloves, tongs, spatula, apron, assortment of steak sauces
  • Sports accessories – balls (tennis, cricket, beach ball), favourite team scarf, bag, keyring or flag
  • men’s skin care or aftershave
  • check department stores for their ‘executive’ gifts and gift packs for men

For women:

  • hand cream or body lotion
  • fragranced soap
  • bath salts
  • lip gloss
  • nail polish
  • cosmetics
  • hair clips
  • bracelet or necklace
  • scarf
  • funky kitchen utensils or accessories – cookie cutters, apron, tea towels

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