Gift etiquette: Boss's children, holiday edition
December 30, 2014 1:35 PM   Subscribe

My direct manager is having an open house / work-related party tonight (the 30th) and he has invited me and most of the department. We are planning on bringing a small 'host' gift, i.e. flowers or chocolates. Since it is so close to Christmas my wife thinks that we should also bring a small gift for each of my manager's two children (~6 and ~2 years old). I'm unsure whether this would be seen as 'sucking up' or if this is a good idea.

The guest list is quite long (~50 people) and includes people not on my direct team. Spouses are coming so I read this as more of a social occasion that a work one. There will also be children at the party other than my manager's, and so I'm leery that they might be jealous if we only give gifts for my boss's children. For context this is an engineering company in Vancouver, Canada.

So, in summary:
1) Host present? We're leaning 'yes'.
2) Something for the kids? Currently I'm on the fence.
posted by Arandia to Work & Money (14 answers total)
Best answer: 1.) Yes.

2.) No. Christmas was last week. And even if this was before Christmas it would be a total brown-noser move.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:38 PM on December 30, 2014 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Host present - yes.
For the kids - no.

In my experience going to parties thrown by managers, executives, etc, it would be seen as a little odd. Beside, then you have to contend with other kids who *didn't* get a present, and in general, it just comes off as odd.
posted by dotgirl at 1:38 PM on December 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

A small host gift is always okay, but presents for the kids would be weird.
posted by something something at 1:39 PM on December 30, 2014

Separate children gifts are weird, but you can always bring some sort of host gift that the entire family can share (baked treats, fancy candies etc)
posted by asockpuppet at 1:46 PM on December 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't bring a present for the kids.
posted by dfriedman at 1:51 PM on December 30, 2014

Best answer: I'd take a tube of fifty glow sticks for ALL the children attending but give it to the host to manage with a "Saw these and thought the kids might find them entertaining while we all socialise, if you think they're appropriate."

If the host agrees you could offer to hand them out later when the kids get restless and spend ten minutes being entertaining with them.

In fact, we're doing this tonight and this is exactly my script. I've also checked with Poison's Information and if someone bites a glow stick, they're not poisonous, just horribly bitter. (Like me.) So I'll be pre-warning the kids not to bite them (or me) or their tongues will feel gross.
posted by taff at 1:53 PM on December 30, 2014 [14 favorites]

Absolutely a host gift. A box of nice tea, a bag of coffee.

A gift for the kids? What? No! That will be seen as weird.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:53 PM on December 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

What if everyone brought gifts for the kids? Do you think they want to deal with about 50 gifts for each kid?
posted by amro at 1:58 PM on December 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Go with the advice above but I would have done the gifts for the host's kids this close to Christmas - we have a stack of small gifts like board books and little toys that we use for occasions like this in December because kids and presents = yay. The value of the small gifts is only $5-$15 but my smallest kid is still getting random gifts this week from people I meet for work/social.

What about chocolate oranges for the kids together with a box of nicer chocolates for the host as a compromise?
posted by viggorlijah at 2:01 PM on December 30, 2014

taff: "I'd take a tube of fifty glow sticks for ALL the children "

Also came in to say glowsticks.

You can also get packages of 24 tiny bottles of bubbles for around $5 at Target or party stores or whatever.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:15 PM on December 30, 2014

Something for the group of kids would be perfect. Canadian folks tend to be more welcoming/interactive with kids at events like this, and it won't be seen as strange.
posted by barnone at 2:26 PM on December 30, 2014

No, don't do anything that could cause kid drama. If you bring gifts that other kids might see? Potential drama. Bubbles and they want to go use them right away but it's cold outside and mom doesn't want them using it in the house? Drama. Just leave it. Just bring a nice host gift - those are for the whole family anyway.
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:53 PM on December 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yes for boss, no for kids.

Her heart is in the right place, but it's so easy for a friendly overture toward kids that aren't yours to be seen as creepy. It's not worth it.
posted by kimberussell at 3:49 PM on December 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do you have kids / will you be bringing your own kids? If yes, bring a movie (and maybe some popcorn) that will entertain the whole bunch. If no, then no. For gods sake, don't bring something spillable/likely to cause a mess in the house like bubbles, or crayons that may get ground into the carpet or scribbled onto the walls. Don't bring sugar; over stimulating party + sugar makes for crazy crazy kids, which makes for a less pleasant party.
posted by vignettist at 6:46 PM on December 30, 2014

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