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Author Topic: Gifts to co-workers  (Read 5422 times)

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Gifts to co-workers
« on: January 14, 2013, 12:56:16 PM »
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?


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Re: Gifts to co-workers
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 01:30:14 PM »
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

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Re: Gifts to co-workers
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 01:31:36 PM »
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.)
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.


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Re: Gifts to co-workers
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2013, 03:01:41 PM »
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.


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Re: Gifts to co-workers
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 04:43:32 PM »
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.
"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol


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Re: Gifts to co-workers
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013, 05:04:44 PM »
Two thoughts

1) It is fine to get the intern a different gift as she is an intern so in a different category and she was also filling in. On top of what you got her, I would also offer to write her a reference letter or to just write a letter and send it to whoever is in charge of her evaluation. Presents are nice, but a pre-emptive professional reccomendation is what an intern really needs.

2) Vegetarian does not preclude cake in most cases. In most cases vegetarian means no meat, but eggs and dairy are fine. Some people also avoid gelatin. If she is vegan than eggs and dairy (and possibly honey etc..) are not allowed.

And final thoughts, yeah for thoughful gifts. Now I need to go buy cake!


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Re: Gifts to co-workers
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2013, 06:59:13 PM »

What about taking the intern out to lunch as a thank-you?

rose red

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Re: Gifts to co-workers
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2013, 07:38:01 PM »
How about the ornament (which sounds really pretty) with a little bag/box of vegan treat?  To me, that makes it clear her gift is different because of her diet and not because you see her as better or lesser than the others.


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Re: Gifts to co-workers
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 03:08:08 AM »
how about instead of the cake, make up individual bags with some other baked goods/sweets/fudge/candy? this way, each person gets their own fix (and you can make sure the intern won't get something they can't eat) and it's not something you have to leave out (which would make it fair game for visitors).

Regardless, if you can, it might be  a nice gesture for you to take the intern out for a lunch. Interns usually dont' make that much money, and if they are only there for a short time, they don't always get a chance to really socialize much and it might be an extra nice gesture for her.

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Re: Gifts to co-workers
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 07:07:02 AM »
I think you should do exactly as you planned.  The intern will really appreciate the leaf and the thought behind it, especially if she is a vegan, and everyone else will enjoy the special cake.  I can't imagine anyone begrudging the intern her gift.