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What to buy the serious yet funny boss who doesn't like suck-ups?
December 4, 2013 6:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an understated but nice ($20-30 or nice homemade items) gift for a boss who's hosting an in-home holiday party (so it will be for husband and wife). Boss is both quite serious and funny and not a fan of anything that appears to be obsequious.

What's out:

-A bottle of wine (based on what I know about the family)
-Anything specifically for the boss like a paperweight; I am looking for a gift for both hosts and not just my boss

Some ideas I had:

-A poinsettia (but feels weird because they'll probably already have several decorations in there and only costs about $5 where I live)
-A killer baked good I make (only feels weird because I know some people don't like eating things other people made in their home, and I don't know my boss well enough to know whether this would be an issue, though maybe the rest of the family, including their 3 kids, would enjoy it)

Any other ideas?
posted by trandolph to Work & Money (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Movie tickets are a great gift for a person who has a family. What's the best theater/theater chain in your town? A lot of people enjoy going to movies over the holidays.
posted by padraigin at 7:03 PM on December 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Harry and David fruit?
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:05 PM on December 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't get the fear of baked goods thing, unless they have an allergy. Are the other co workers bringing gifts? You could ask them.

You could bring a seasonal flower arrangement, not poinsettia, something small and tasteful and pretty.

But I've had bosses who felt uncomfortable with getting gifts from employees at all...I would ask around. Might be better not to.
posted by emjaybee at 7:06 PM on December 4, 2013

Box of chocolates or peanut brittle?
posted by salvia at 7:08 PM on December 4, 2013

A nicely potted orchid, or something sweet. Or something purchased at a local farmer's market - local jam, honey, etc. - something artisinal.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:27 PM on December 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you're anywhere near Seattle, a bottle of olive oil and one of balsamic vinegar from this place. Actually a good bottle of olive oil would do the trick but a bottle of organic persian lime olive oil and a bottle of cranberry pear balsamic from Two Sisters will blow their mind(s).
posted by lois1950 at 7:28 PM on December 4, 2013

Personally, I don't think you can every go wrong with a nicely-wrapped box of fancy-pants chocolates. You know, the type that nobody ever buys for themselves because they're too indulgent.
posted by Salamander at 7:56 PM on December 4, 2013 [6 favorites]

If you're worried about something you make, how about some kind of quirky treats from whatever your local upscale/hipster/name bakery-type place is? I'm thinking like a dozen cake pops or those big, indulgent cupcakes with good buttercream frosting in a variety of flavors.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:32 PM on December 4, 2013

I'd spend the 20 - 30 bucks at a nice bakery or patisserie and have them box up some fabulous baked goods.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:32 PM on December 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Really, this is why a nice arrangement of cut flowers is the traditional hostess gift. It doesn't say "I'm sucking up". It doesn't put the host in the position of having to serve your wine/cookies/chocolate/etc and it doesn't run the risk of tripping a food allergy or dietary restriction. It doesn't require the hostess to find a use for your gift. It's cut flowers--they are intended to be the Thought that Counts--pretty and disposable. You bring them as a gesture of thanks; the host knows you're civilized; they get put in water where they are pretty for a few days and then no-one has to deal with them any longer.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:15 PM on December 4, 2013 [14 favorites]

Nice jam. If you want to add a homemade element, bring muffins or scones and tell them that you brought them breakfast for tomorrow. They will appreciate it after having to clear up after the party.
posted by corey flood at 9:34 PM on December 4, 2013

Anything home-made seems a bit too personal/obsequious to me. This person is still your boss, and it sounds as though they want to preserve some distance. I'd also go flowers.
posted by jojobobo at 9:43 PM on December 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd agree with super expensive real balsamic vinegar. Not that stuff that's just pretend balsamic and is often misslabeled as such.
posted by mightshould at 4:53 AM on December 5, 2013

I'd just bring a hostess gift. I thought these Soap Flowers from World Market were lovely.

They're unspeakably pretty and cool.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:02 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Any chance they have a dog? Some fancy gourmet dog treats (i.e. not a box of Milkbones from the grocery store) might be impersonal enough, while still being a bit unusual and useful.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:46 AM on December 5, 2013

You're overthinking this. Invited to their home = hostess gift. Flowers or a nice box of chocolates.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:05 AM on December 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Collected types of pepper corns and a classy grinder sparks wide eyes and smiles. Everyone eats and cooks and thinks they are really good at it and the spice out lasts flowers.
posted by Freedomboy at 12:44 PM on December 5, 2013

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