General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Gifts to co-workers

(1/2) > >>

I work with awesome people.  There are only 4 of us who are full-time staffers here (we work in a small ethnic heritage center/museum/archive) and we currently have a 6-month intern from our ethnic group's "mother country".

Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, I was out of the office A LOT.  My youngest daughter had a serious health scare which culminated in my husband and I driving our daughter 12 hours from home to consult with experts in a specialized hospital.  Did I mention I missed a lot of work?

For all those days when I was gone, my co-workers kept my office open in case any patrons needed to use the resources there.  Our intern in particular, filled in for me whenever it was asked of her. 

Our director gave us all small gifts (probably cost ~$25/person), but none of my other co-workers exchanged gifts for the holidays.  However, in light of all the support and help they gave during a really stressful time for my family, I wanted to give them all a small thank you gift now that I'm back to work.

(Oh, and everything is back to normal with my daughter.  We discovered that she had a really aggressive viral infection which led to pnuemonia, and then some other health concerns, but nothing close to what they were initially thinking.  Thank goodness!)

My initial thought was to give them all a specialty kind of cake that my husband and I always order during the holidays that no one around here makes anymore.  I know none of of the full-time staff has any food concerns (we've had that discussion in passing at lunch on several occasions), but it came to my attention that our intern is a vegetarian.  Would it be rude of me to give the others the cake and get a non-food gift for the intern?  I was thinking I'd give her a locally made type of ornament/sun catcher.  The price for the cake and ornament would be equal, and both cost less than the gift from the director.

Does gender matter in this?  Two of my full-time co-workers are men, while the other and the intern are both women.  I know neither of the men would like the ornaments (they don't like 'clutter'), and I'm not sure if the other woman would.  I just don't want anyone to think that they're getting a "lesser" gift is one person gets something different.  What say you, Ehellions?

What about bringing in the cake for everyone to share and giving the ornament to the intern when she is getting ready to leave.  That way she can partake in the food if she chooses, but you are not deliberately leaving her out.

Outdoor Girl:
The fact that the intern was the primary one to fill in for you makes the difference in the gifts more understandable, even though the value is similar.  My only concern about your gift for the intern is its fagility.  Is intern going to be going back to 'mother country'?  And by plane?  Something breakable might not be the best choice.

But really, the note that goes with whatever you give is the important bit.  If they know the details of why you were off, you can even mention that DD is doing much better and will be fine.  And something about how their support made it easier for you to be there for your daughter and not having to worry about work.

I think it is a really sweet gesture.

(And I like PastryGoddess's idea, too.)

Thanks for the feedback so far. 

PastryGoddess - Your suggestion would make everything easier, but our office is set up in such a way that it's impossible to have food out to share.  There is no separation between space the general public can wonder into and our "office space".  And because we are gearing up for a HUGE regional ethnic festival, there are TONS of people tromping in and out all day everyday.  Many of our frequent visitors, be they patrons, vendors, or others involved in festival planning would see nothing wrong with helping themselves to a piece of bakery left in view.  Makes for some interesting days...

Outdoor Girl - The ornament/suncatcher I had in mind for intern is not breakable.  It's actually a real leaf that has been dipped in metal.  Copper is a HUGE part of the history of our area, and the Birch is a huge symbol in "mother country", so I thought a copper dipped birch leaf would be appropriate for a lasting memory for our intern.  They are very sturdy and I've mailed them and traveled with them as gifts to others.

Why is the fact that the intern is a vegetarian stopping you from giving her cake, unless your cake has actual meat in it, it is fine.  Or if the intern is vegan, than that would be a problem.  But a vegetarian would be able to eat a cake made with milk and eggs.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version