Shopping for coworkers can become a never-ending parade of mild pine-scented candles, Hallmark cards, and candy that is destined for retirement in a desk drawer for most of the month. It's easier to buy thoughtful, impactful gifts for your closest loved ones, and it gets harder once you add in the subtleties and professionalism of the workplace.
However, there are hordes of fantastic gifts out there for coworkers. And they don't have to be expensive — in fact, they probably shouldn't be. The ideal colleague present is thoughtful, unique, and lands somewhere in the casual middle ground between re-gifting paperclips from the supply closet and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Caribbean.
Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few days' time, so don't stress too hard if you're doing some last-minute shopping — just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.
If they're practically tethered to the coffee pot, they'll probably love the fun and thoughtful gift of a three-month subscription to this cool Brooklyn startup's beans. Driftaway sends freshly roasted, whole bean, single-origin coffees from around the world to their doorstep.
Add some fun to their day-to-day routine with the Atlas Obscura calendar. There are hundreds of photos that celebrate the world's strangest and coolest places, festivals, and foods. Travelers and life-long learners are particularly good candidates for this one.
A "This is Fine" mug is the perfect gift for the only other people on earth who can truly relate to the particularities of your job: a defunct printer, last night's too-fun team happy hour, and the occasional avalanche of meetings and high-priority emails. Here's a $23 nod to the fond shared stressors.
If your desk-mate doesn't already have a plant, rest assured they would probably like one (fine print: if it requires next to no caregiving). Grab these ceramic planters from Amazon and fill them with an assortment of succulents. According to science, it may make them happier just to see the plants every day.
If you've got a wine lover on the team, grab these fun wine pairing towels and a bottle to go with them. They're thoughtful, informal, and unique.
Homesick candles are a great gift for pretty much anyone in your life. They're a nice acknowledgment of something important to someone else that you're likely to know regardless of intimacy level. Plus, with a candle, they'll get to enjoy it for weeks to come — and if your gift deals with nostalgia, scent is a great place to start.
If your team includes a bookworm, they'll appreciate a gift subscription to Book of the Month. It's been around since 1926, and it's credited with the discovery of titles like "Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye". A team of experts and celebrity guest judges curate must-read books — usually new releases, hot topics, and debut authors — and send them to the subscriber's doorstep. If they're more into audiobooks or e-reading, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here).
This charging stand works with iPhones, iPads, and most other Lightning-charged devices. It takes up minimal space for optimal convenience.
Know somebody who'd rather be at the golf course, or who might appreciate the adult equivalent of doodling in class? Say no more.
It's often the most practical coworker gifts that make the best and longest impression, and this is one stellar candidate. The Hydro Flask is double-wall vacuum insulated and will keep their cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours, with hot drinks staying hot for up to six. We're big fans of the line.
If you want to get them something they're sure to love, save them from a dead phone on their next long commute or work trip. We ranked this one as the best battery pack you can buy because you can charge two devices at once, and because it has built-in lightning and micro-USB cables.
If you work with someone especially ambitious or concerned with self-progress, they'll love this daily planner. It was created by a group of "human performance junkies" after researching the most successful, high-performing humans in history, and it uses their common practices and psychology tips to break down a 10-year plan into doable, bite-sized pieces.
Happy Socks makes some of the coolest and most elevator-small-talk-worthy socks in the industry. This gift set focuses on Keith Haring, but there are more options to choose from, including some inspired by Andy Warhol.
If they're more into tea than coffee, they'll love this thoughtful green herbal tea kit. It includes nine herbs and three varieties of green tea, so they can create their own custom blends.
Pair a few of these cable clips with a nice card and some candy for a low-key, well-rounded gift that's fun and practical.
This is one candle they will be excited to receive. Otherland is a startup created by Abigail Cook Stone, a former art buyer for Ralph Lauren. They're some of the most beautifully packaged and best smelling we've seen in a while— and they make great gifts.
It's something every one of us will feel grateful for a couple times per day, but always put off buying for ourselves: a serpentine, 6-foot long charging cable.
If your coworker is a pet parent, you may make the biggest impact by focusing here. Plus, in the days of dog and cat Instagrams, it's not too hard to find your own mini album of options.
The $30 Rocketbook notebook is full of 32 reusable pages that wipe clean with a damp cloth when the owner uses a Pilot FriXion pen (included), so they can keep using the same notebook indefinitely. They can also send hand-written notes to Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, email, and more. I use my own a surprising amount.
Everyone likes food, and most people enjoy gifting and receiving a good-looking food package that a) has great pairings, and b) they didn't have to put together themselves.
Whether they love to cook, to travel, or just love to eat, they'll enjoy Anthony Bourdain's best-selling travel and culinary memoir. Bourdain spent much of his adult life searching for the perfect meal in all corners of the globe, and he details those great adventures from California to Cambodia here.
The Williams-Sonoma double-walled stainless-steel press brews great coffee right at the table, then keeps it at the ideal drinking temperature.
This is exactly the kind of gift that seems more fun and clever than it is practical — until you're using it once a month religiously.
Pair the sloth "Do Nothing" card with a few relaxing accessories (like face masks) to gift a well-deserved night off to a coworker. Like all of Society6's collection, it's also made by an independent artist — making it a bit cooler than what you might pick up from CVS.
You can't go wrong with a tracker for their keys that's compact, thoughtful, and useful to pretty much everyone.
Daily Harvest is a meal delivery startup that makes healthy fast food that takes as little as 30 seconds to prepare. Meals are delicious, under $10 each, and designed by a chef and nutritionist team for taste and balance. It's great for healthy eaters, busy lifestyles, and solves pretty much all of our main roadblocks to eating well.
When all your coworkers get together after work to enjoy a beer, this will be the most-wanted accessory. The stainless steel Chillsner fits easily into the bottle and keeps beverages refreshingly crisp.
Grab a trendy, reusable shopping bag that's perfect for packing lunch, extra shoes, or taking a last-minute trip to the grocery store. This one folds up to about the size of a business card, and its signature version can hold 50 pounds of stuff easily.
These tiny magnets are one "office toy" we actually liked enough to dedicate a full article to— they're fun, space-saving, and you can fidget without drawing attention to yourself.
Do yourself, your coworker, and your section of the office a favor with a Bob Ross chia pet. It will be a great conversation piece for as long as it lives.
This white marble serving piece can hold the exact right amount of pairings, condiments, and spices. It's small, beautiful, and functional enough to bypass even the pickiest of coworkers.
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