The joy and pain of the holiday gift giving season is officially upon us and of all the items on the list, one of the most difficult to find is a present for the boss. Not necessary but always appreciated, the criteria for this gift are illusive: thoughtful but not too personal; creative but useful; high quality but not outrageously expensive. Some people are BFF with their managers and can shop for them like a friend or family member but, for the rest of us, here are some ideas in the less personalized category that are sure to delight:
1) French Press Commuter Cup
Hammacher Schlemmer is a Mecca for gifts; especially if you define them as nice things you would enjoy but never buy for yourself. This cup is no exception. Perfect for the coffee enthusiast, the right boss would love the option to make a fancy cup in the morning and drink it fuss-free on the ride to work.
2) Something Small and Cashmere
Scarves and gloves are always a safe bet, if not the most original choice. Even better, a pair of cashmere slippers from somewhere upscale like Williams-Sonoma is thoughtful and quality. If the intimate nature of slippers feels a little awkward for your boss, include a note with context that says something like "wishing you a most relaxing holiday season", etc. Everyone loves having cozy feet (and there are less expensive ones out there if you don't care about the brand).
3) The Beatles Stereo Box Set
With 17 digitally remastered CDs from the men that started the mania, any Beatles or Music fan would be thrilled to get this anthology. Order online at Walmart, Amazon or Overstock soon before it sells out. This one's going to be popular.
4) Bottle of Veuve
Almost everyone who drinks loves Champagne and those who drink Champagne know the glowing yellow label of Veuve Clicquot. It's great for Holiday celebrations and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. If you go this route, wrap it in some shiny paper with a tie around the neck or place it in a decorative gift bag. Clearly this ain't reinventing the wheel but you know the bottle will be enjoyed and it's not too expensive. Available at virtually all liquor stores and online.
5) The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages 1851-2009 Updated Edition
In its second edition, this volume captures the most important front pages of the New York Times since the beginning of the newspaper and DVDs that include the entire collection. Not only is it a unique time capsule-style view of history, but it's an awesome coffee table book and a good way to remind an academically inclined boss that you're smart and cultured.
Finally, regardless of the present, make sure to include some type of card even if it's short and sweet. If an item is too expensive, go in on it with a work friend. In the end, the right gift alone does not ensure a raise, nor does a fruit basket mean certain demotion but over time attention to thoughtful details can carry you a long way.