gift guide with work colleagues exchanging gifts

When we flip on the TV, we see endless commercials for holiday sales. When we go to big box stores and local boutiques, we walk down aisles decorated with the colors and in the style of the season.

No doubt about it: Gift-giving season is here.

And you know what? That’s pretty great, because you know a lot of people who made your life easier this past year at home, at school, and in the office. This is the time to show your gratitude to those who are essential to your life with a thoughtful end-of-year present.

We know how tempting it is to just get them a gift card, but take a moment or two to think about how you can personalize your thanks. Figuring out what is meaningful will show how much you appreciate them. And make sure that whatever you choose from this holiday gift guide, you accompany it with a thoughtful handwritten note that will touch their heart.

Holiday gift guide for work colleagues

These are the co-workers, bosses, and clients who add a little light to your nine-to-five. Was there someone who helped ease you into a new job this year? A client who championed you for a promotion? A co-worker who lent their invaluable assistance on a project? Recognize them for their support with one of these classic yet thoughtful gift ideas.

holiday gift guide Personalized Bamboo Cutting Board

Bamboo cutting board

A cutting board made of eco-conscious bamboo lets your office colleague know that you care about sustainability. Personalize it for special significance.

holiday gift guide paperwhites


A quintessential holiday flower that says thank you without the connotation of other, more intimate flowers, such as roses. Plus, they don’t break the bank, and they smell divine.

holiday gift guide pears

Royal Riviera Pears

There’s a reason bosses send fruit year after year: It’s a winning gift that leaves a great taste in the recipient’s mouth. These famous pears are a rare treat, so get them while they last.

holiday gift guide popcorn tin

Popcorn tin

You might just work together, but that doesn’t mean you’re not fun, and there’s just something fun about three flavors of this delicious snack in a giant can.

Holiday gift guide for childcare providers 

You couldn’t get out the door without some hand holding — literally, for the little ones — from babysitters, nannies, and au pairs. Leaving our children in the care of just anyone won’t do. Whether it’s a neighbor, your mother, or a caregiver you hired at the recommendation of a friend, childcare helpers deserve one of the biggest thank yous we can offer. Write them a note of appreciation, and give them a present that lets them know just how important they are to your family.

holiday gift guide aloe plant

Aloe vera plant

Aloe plants can last years and have the bonus of health uses — making them perfect for the person who takes care of the bumps and bruises of your little one.

holiday gift guide Safari Animal Succulents

Safari animal succulents

Who doesn’t love a cactus? It’s easy to keep alive, and the playful containers can be reused (if you do happen to let yours expire).

holiday gift guide Classic Christmas Evergreen Sleigh

Christmas evergreen sleigh

For her table centerpiece or by the front door, this gift will save your sitter from having to decorate a bit.

holiday gift guide Hand And Foot Spa Set

Lavender spa set

Let your caretakers ensconce themselves in luxury while breathing in the scent of this calming herb.

Picture of 18F Christmas ad

Holiday gift guide for household help

In a world where we have a job (or, in some cases, more than one), volunteer commitments, and family obligations, sometimes we have to outsource housecleaning, gardening, lawn mowing, and the like. And the special home improvement project (new front door, anyone?) can require expertise beyond our capabilities. Let these imperative workers know that you couldn’t live without them by offering a gift of thanks (and maybe a cash bonus as well).

holiday gift guide Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls are a hit with almost everyone. Plus, it’s nice to not have to plan a meal around the holidays.

holiday gift guide Herb Garden Trio

Herb garden trio

Give some flavor! This pretty planter of fresh herbs will keep on giving throughout the new year.

holiday gift guide Grooming Kit For Men

Grooming kit for men

From plumbers who make emergency calls to the lawn care pros that saved you from weekend yard work, don’t forget the guys who helped you this year! Let them get spiffed with their own set of goods.

holiday gift guide Lavender Herb Wreath

Lavender herb wreath

This purple-hued wreath will give a lovely fragrance to your painter or contractor’s home.

Holiday gift guide for educators and leaders

Teaching is hard. Anyone with a school-aged child will tell you that. Keeping kids focused and on task — not to mention enthusiastic about learning — is incredibly challenging. The school teachers, coaches, tutors, music instructors: To you we say, “You’ve touched our lives.”

holiday gift guide Airplant Terrarium

Air plant terrarium

Beautiful, budget friendly, and easy to care for — what more can we ask for?

holiday gift guide White Phalaenopsis Orchid

White orchid

A simple, delicate orchid is always in style and conveys the message that the recipient is important to you.

holiday gift guide Thank You Gift with Wine

Wine and chocolate

You’re sending your thanks, and they’ll be thankful you did with these two perennial favorites.

holiday gift guide Magnolia Tree

Magnolia tree

Make sure your recipient has a large space to plant this beautiful and fragrant tree — a forever reminder of your appreciation.

Holiday gift guide for just because recipients 

For the people who have gone above and beyond for you this year — such as a nurse or doctor if you’ve been sick, friend who helped you through a crisis, or realtor who guided you through the buying or selling process — now is the time to recognize their efforts. These folks might not be in your life year after year, so stretch your wallet with a special one-time gift that reflects your thanks.

holiday gift guide Holiday Flower Tree

Holiday flower tree

Giving a Christmas tree-inspired arrangement will be welcomed throughout December.

holiday gift guide fruit bouquet

Fruit bouquet

Fresh fruit and chocolate-dipped strawberries are a winning combo, and will show the person on the receiving end how much of a difference they made in your life.

holiday gift guide Chili Herb Wreath

Chili and herb wreath

Lovely colors transition nicely to spring, giving a lasting reminder of your appreciation.

holiday gift guide Tea Gift Box

Herbal tea assortment

Help your hard worker find inner peace and mental clarity with this set of comforting chai teas. Feeling relaxed already!


Elizabeth Craig Wells is a former senior editor at Real Simple magazine where she focused on the Life, Style, and Simple Solutions sections. She writes for magazines, websites, and catalogs, and recently edited a 50-year history for an international women’s organization. Wells holds a B.A. in French and B.M. in flute performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She lives with her three children in Connecticut where she coaches soccer and tennis and is working on a series of contemporary novels.

You Might Be Interested In...

Comments are closed.