Gifts for a Female Boss

by Debra Kamin

Shopping for a female boss is a tricky but necessary part of the holiday season. While it is important to show your boss that she is appreciated, the type of gift you select for her--and how much money you spend on it--can send very strong signals. When shopping for your female boss, remember that yours is a business relationship. The gift should reflect your working relationship by being thoughtful, but not overly intimate or personal.

She's a Working Woman

A fancy pen is a great gift that reminds your boss you are thinking professionally.

The bests gifts are those that are useful, and every female boss is a busy professional who is likely balancing work and family. What professional female wouldn't want a gift that helps her stay organized and on track? A leather-bound planner, a beautiful paperweight or a fancy pen are three fabulous examples of office gifts that convey a sense of professionalism while still showing the recipient that you put time and thought into your choice of present.

Go for Her Feminine Side

A potted plant plays to your boss's feminine side without being too personal.

Nearly every woman, even the most businesslike, enjoys feeling feminine. If you know your boss has a girly side, you can play to it by selecting a gift that shows you understand she has a life outside of work. A package for a spa treatment or a lovely blooming plant are two good examples of feminine-themed gifts that are very work appropriate. If you like, you can get together with several co-workers and all chip in for a big spa package (these tend to be pricey). If you go for flowers, stick to the potted kind, which are beautiful in an office; fresh flowers are customary with dating and courtship, and would be inappropriate to give to a boss.

Play It Safe

A wine bottle stopper is a nice gift that plays it safe, but still projects luxury.

If you don't know your boss well, are new to the office or just hesitant to give a gift that sends the wrong message, there are plenty of great options that play it safe, but still send a nice message. A coffee mug filled with gourmet coffees and teas is a lovely and simple gift that is never wrong. A nice box of chocolates is always appreciated--what woman doesn't love chocolate? A wine bottle opener or stopper is also a fool-proof gift that projects luxury without being too expensive. If you want to take the gourmet gift a step further, check out the decadent and delicious gift baskets offered by vendors such as Harry and David. The baskets come in all price ranges, are beautifully arranged and are always a tasteful alternative.

Keep It Office Appropriate

The skills that come in handy when choosing a gift for a female boss are the same skills that help you succeed in the workplace: Listen carefully and stay professional. No female boss wants to receive a gift that makes her uncomfortable, so stay away from presents such as lingerie (too personal), stuffed animals (too juvenile) or jewelry (too expensive). Get to know your boss: What are her hobbies and what does she like? The knowledge you gain from building a relationship with your female boss will not only help you streamline your gift shopping, but also is guaranteed to help your performance in the office. And a hardworking and caring employee who is tuned in to her supervisor's needs is the best gift a boss can ever receive.

About the Author

Debra Kamin has reported from the Hollywood red carpet, the war zone of the Israeli/Lebanon border, and many nooks and crannies in between. She holds a Master's degree in English literature and enjoys traveling, biking, and finding errant commas in major newspapers. She lives in San Diego.