If you want to pick the best gifts to get your boss for an upcoming holiday or birthday, then you need to choose wisely. Because as everyone knows, your boss is one of the most complicated people to buy a gift for. Go too low, and you run the risk of looking like a cheapskate. But go too high, and it might look like you’re passive-aggressively angling for that promotion. You also want to choose an exciting gift without being inappropriate, and above all, you want to get something they’ll actually like (even if you hate them).
With so many competing factors to keep in mind, picking the right gift for your manager can seem impossible. To help tackle this age-old holiday challenge, we rounded up the best gifts to get your boss. These boss-friendly picks are reasonably priced but thoughtful and sure to put a smile on the top dog’s face, regardless of what they are into.
1. UGREEN Smartphone Dock
An excellent gift for your boss doesn’t have to cost your entire paycheck. This sleek smartphone charging dock comes in at just $7.00 and makes a great desktop upgrade, offering a place for your boss to stash, charge and access their phone while they work. The stand’s versatile design also provides a good angle for video chatting or sneaking some Netflix at work (your boss does it too). It may not be the most incredible gift in the world, but it’s one they’ll use daily.
2. Takeya Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker
Everyone loves a frosty cold brew, but they typically require a trek to the coffee shop and around $6.00. With this handy iced coffee maker from Takeya, your boss can fix up a cold coffee right in the office. Just throw coffee grounds in the infuser, put water in the pitcher, and leave the whole thing in the office fridge overnight for a cold caffeine fix in the morning. It’s so easy to use, and there’s a reason this handy coffee maker often tops lists of the best gifts to get your boss.
3. Infinity Cube Fidget Toy
Ever see your boss fidgeting? Go for this Infinity Cube. It’s one of the best ways to keep your hands busy, and your mind focused while you work. It’s composed of ABS plastic boxes and metal rivets, creating a flip-and-fold functionality. It sounds simple, but it translates to hours of stress-reducing fidgeting.
4. Palace Learning Vincent Van Gogh Poster
If your boss isn’t a fan of boring motivational posters or corporate art, give them one of these Van Gogh posters. They’re inexpensive at just $13 but well sized at 18 inches by 24 inches, seriously upgrading the ambiance of your boss’ office space. You could go with something tamer, but we think Van Gogh’s Skull with Cigarette provides some edge that any art-loving boss will appreciate.
5. Head Honcho Desk Name Plate
For the boss with a sense of humor, opt for this “Head Honcho” desk nameplate. It reminds all your coworkers –– and the giftee –– who’s in charge in the office. But at the same time, it satirizes the rigidness of the old school office in a very modern way. If you don’t have a playful rapport with your boss, you might want to go with a better option, though.
Read more: Best Gifts for Coworkers
6. Arteck Portable Bluetooth Keyboard
Portable keyboards are great for any professional, student or traveler. When you’re on the go, these keyboards let you bust out a report, essay or long email much faster than using your thumbs on the screen. We recommend this one from Arteck because it’s highly rated with almost 3,500 reviews and 4.4/5 stars and most importantly, it’s reasonably priced. If your boss is in and out of the office frequently, this will be a well-loved gift.
Read more: Best Tech Gifts of 2021
7. Chanasya Faux Fur Throw Blanket
Throw blankets are one of the most versatile gifts on the planet, but they’re easy to forget about. And while they can get costly, you can find cozy, stylish options like this one from Chanasya for cheap. Your boss can use it as a plush office addition or take it home and upgrade their living space.
8. HoMedics Percussion Action Massager
We all get wound-up at the office, and a massage is the best way to de-stress. This one-handed massager is great for personal use, and it makes an easy, thoughtful gift. It utilizes two powerful nodes and a heating function to deliver a warm, kneading massage on your back, shoulders, feet or legs. Reviewers say it’s straightforward to use, which comes in handy for your boss if they need a quick massage in the office between calls.
9. Putt-A-Bout Indoor Putting Green
Does your boss daydream about playing hooky and hitting the golf course? If so, get them this indoor putting green. It lets them practice their short game during lunch or slumps at work and makes a much better break-time activity than scrolling through Instagram. This kind of indoor green is usually pricey, but we were able to find this highly-rated set from Putt-A-Bout for just $38. Your boss will undoubtedly love it –– and they might even let you use it too.
10. MaxGear Business Card Holder
Show your boss some professional love with this very sleek business card holder from MaxGear. It features durable stainless steel construction and a modern and handsome look for great first impressions. And at $6, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a gift with the same bang-for-your-buck.
11. BookFactory Password Journal
Most bosses have a lot of passwords to keep track of. All of those unique passwords can pile up quickly, from email logins to protected documents and their banking info. Help them out with this handy password book. It allows your boss to organize all their passwords, usernames, addresses and more in one place. Plus, the more old-fashioned bosses will appreciate that it’s an actual hardcopy book.
12. Top Shelf Flasks Personalized Flask
A personalized flask makes a great gift because it’s interesting, useful and not too serious. This one from Top Shelf Flasks has solid reviews across the board and a very reasonable price for custom engravings. It makes a funny piece of office decor –– or a device for sneaking an occasional early-evening drink.
13. World’s Okayest Boss Coffee Mug
This “World’s Okayest Boss” mug puts a funny twist on the classic “World’s Best Boss” mug. Just make sure your boss has at least a slight sense of humor before gifting. If not, that could lead to a pretty awkward moment and set you up for a dismal 2020. We’d recommend gifting this one with caution.
14. Profile Gifts Valet Tray
Valet trays are something people don’t usually think to pick-up, but become a necessity once you’ve used one for a while. They let you dump your keys, watch, phone, wallet and glasses all in one place without making a mess, and they look nice on your desk or cabinet. This one is especially handy with five compartments, including two for upright smartphones. Give this gift as a way to help your boss stay organized and keep their desk neat in 2021.
15. Tommy Hilfiger Leather Wallet
A classy wallet is a good gift for most people but has a professional nuance that makes it an excellent gift for the boss. This one by Tommy Hilfiger features a cowhide construction and embossed logo, and it comes highly recommended with over 3,000 reviews. With all the positive reviews from such a well-loved brand, you’d think it would cost you a pretty penny, but nope.
16. Fasmov Stainless Steel Man bookends
Bookends are another great gift for the top dog because they can be as professional or as silly as you want. We recommend these by Fasmov because they’re interesting but still have that professional feel. They’re made of stylish stainless steel and feature pads to prevent scratches on your boss’ desk or shelf.
17. Iconic Home Wooden Zen Garden
Being the boss is usually stressful, and everyone knows it. Acknowledge your boss’ ever-expanding stress levels with this calming mini zen garden. Not only is it a nice-looking piece to add to your boss’s desk, but this little zen garden will (hopefully) help pull your boss out of financial projections, meetings, and spreadsheets and pull them into the moment as they swirl the sand and enjoy their lovely rock collection.
18. Trtl Pillow Travel Pillow
Trtl is the most innovative travel pillow on the market, and it makes a great gift for the boss on the move. It’s essentially a structured scarf that lets you comfortably slump your head in a sitting position and catch some Zs. Plus, it folds up to fit into a bag or briefcase and provides much better head support than traditional travel pillows.
19. Faux Plant
Just because your boss doesn’t have the time to care for a plant doesn’t mean they can’t have some greenery in their office. Help them breathe some fresh air into their space, even on the days when they don’t have a break to step outside with a life-like faux plant. This one from Amazon is affordable and gets excellent reviews, so you can confidently purchase it for your superior.
20. Mini Personal Heater
Offices are notorious for being cold. Especially as winter approaches, a mini personal heater to keep by their desk makes a great gift for a boss. It’s thoughtful and functional, so you know they’ll make good use of it, and they’ll appreciate that you want to make them more comfortable in their workspace. This one features ceramic coils that heat up in seconds, and it’s small enough to keep on a desk or tabletop.
21. Recycled Glass Decanter with Wood Stopper
If your boss has an office bar, they probably want it to look professional and sophisticated if a client or their superior stops by for a drink. Not only does this decanter look elegant on any bar, but it also opens up their wine or whiskey to give it the best possible flavor before serving to guests.
22. Therapy Dough
The one thing we can all agree on, no matter your job or level, is that work can be stressful. Help your boss relieve that stress with this therapy dough. This scented dough is modeled after clay used by art therapists and infused with essential oils to aid in stress relief. You can choose from four scents depending on which you believe would be the most enjoyable and relaxing for your boss, and they can squish and squeeze it when they’re on those frustrating phone calls that make them want to scream.
23. Hit Snooze Eye Mask
Almost every boss is probably sleep-deprived for many reasons. That may make them cranky, and they may take that out on you. Help them achieve better, more restful sleep with this stylish eye mask. Whether they need to shut out the light in their bedroom, take a nap in their office, or on a plane for a business trip, the Hit Snooze Eye mask will provide complete darkness and comfort.
24. Under Desk Electric Treadmill
Walk while you work? Yes, please. Every day we hear about how bad it is for you to sit all day long, but most of us have to be at our computers to work. That’s why standing desks became so popular. Now, in sticking with the theme, under desk treadmills are rising in popularity as well. This one is slim and compact to keep in an office without being an eyesore, with a smooth electric mechanism and mild speed range perfect for walking while working.
25. The New Wine Rules
Coffee table books that look chic always make a classy gift, and if they’re actually interesting or informative, that’s just an added plus. This hardcover wine guide is simplistic and elegant, and as it states in the title, it’s genuinely helpful. It’s a perfect gift for the boss who’s learning to appreciate and explore wine or for anyone who wants to act like they are when guests come around.