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Today I’ve got another holiday gift guide for you! This one’s for people who are in your daily life, but who you’re not super close to. Think holiday gifts for neighbors, co-workers, teachers, the mailman, etc. Basically, it’s your obligatory Christmas list.

But first, if you missed my previous gift guides make sure to check them out!

Gift Guide 1: Best Holiday Gifts for a Friend Going Through a Breakup

Gift Guide 2: Holiday Gift Guide for Bloggers and Content Creators

Should You Get Gifts for Neighbors? What about Co-Workers or Teachers or the Mail Man?

How many people do you interact with regularly? Or, who provide an important service for you – like delivering your hundredth Amazon package or teaching your kid math?

The answer is a LOT. There are a lot of people who *could* potentially be on your obligatory Christmas list. So, how do you decide who to get a gift for?

I think the easiest answer is… it’s complicated. Certain people should always be on your list – like your kids’ teacher (or teachers.)

But, what about the people next door? Should you get holiday gifts for your neighbors? What if you live in an apartment complex? Or a big-ass neighborhood?

And, then, you’ve got your work. Should you get a gift for your boss? What about your co-workers? What if you’re all still working from home? Do you still get them a gift?

Some Basic Holiday Gifting Guidelines

As much as you might want to give everyone around you a gift, that’s typically not feasible for most people. Instead, choose who goes on your list based on how much of a role they play in your life.

Again, the teachers and daycare workers who watch your child(ren) should be given a high priority – they’re pretty damn important! But, if you’ve got a kid in middle school or high school, you can consider just giving some of their teachers a gift. (For instance, their Homeroom teacher should definitely get one, but you can probably leave their P.E. teacher off the list.)

Then you’ve got your neighbors – I’d say definitely give a holiday gift to the neighbors closest to you (proximity wise, not relationship wise.) Which, for most people, would probably be 3-5 of them. And if you can afford it, it’s a nice gesture to get your mailman, bus driver, and garbage man something small too.

For co-workers and bosses, it’s a bit trickier because every office has it’s own established etiquette. When I had an office-job, it was customary for all of us to chip in $10 for the bosses gift. But, if yours doesn’t do that, it’s a safe bet to get your boss something small and bring in a plate of desserts for your co-workers.

Aside from that, I’d advise that you err on the side of caution and keep a few small gift items on hand just in case Jane from way down the block unexpectedly gets you something and you need to reciprocate.

How Much Should you Spend on Obligatory Christmas Gifts?

This is another question that will heavily depend on your own budget and the norm within your office or social circle. But, in general, here’s my guideline:

  • Neighbors$10-20
  • Co-workers – anywhere from $5 to $20 (depending on how big of an office you’re in)
  • Teachers and Daycare Workers$15-30
  • Your Boss – between $20 and $40 (you might think spending more will make you look good, but actually, it might just make your boss feel uncomfortable.)
  • Mailman, Garbage Collector, and Bus Drivertips up to $20 or homemade treats (make sure to check the actual guidelines, too, because in many places, mail carriers aren’t legally allowed to accept cash.)

With that said, it’s always a nice and appropriate gesture to give holiday cards or a plate of cookies to anyone on your list. If you’re strapped for cash or want to give everyone a little something, that’s a great alternative.

But, if you want to give gift gifts, keep reading for my favorite suggestions!

Best Gifts for Neighbors

When getting gifts for neighbors, you likely know whether or not they celebrate Christmas, so it’s a good opportunity to get some cute Christmas decorations. Ornaments are always good – they’re small but thoughtful. Other decorative items could include hand towels, pillows, table settings, or little Swedish Gnomes.

Best Gifts for Co-Workers or a Boss

For co-workers or your boss, it’s a better idea to gift them something more practical. Lotions, candles, desk accessories, or winter gloves are all appropriate. Candy and small treats are also always a good idea. If you’re wanting something slightly more extravagant for your boss, the Tea Lovers Gift Set is a really nice item.

Best Gifts for Teachers

I have several friends who are teachers and when asked, they’ve all said the best gift is a gift-card. Boring, I know! But they probably get a lot of “teacher” themed items every year, so a gift-card will probably be greatly appreciated. Still, a personalized tumbler would probably be adored.

And, again, lotion, candles, and winter apparel like gloves or a scarf would also be a good gift idea. And I love those Swedish Gnomes, so I included another one of those too!

Extra Gifts to Keep on Hand – Just in Case

Did anyone else grow up with a “gift closet” or was that just me? Our gift closet wasn’t actually an entire closet, but rather, a small section of the closet where we kept little items just in case we needed a gift last minute. Ornaments, candles, lotions, soaps or stocking stuffers are all good to keep on hand for this reason.

I also think it’s a sweet gesture to get everyone around you a Holiday card or a small tin of homemade cookies, turtles, fudge, or candies. Luckily, you can buy cards and cookie tins in bulk to make sure you’ve got plenty!


Whether you decide to go all out this year or not, remember it’s always the thought that counts. But, if you do decide to get gifts for neighbors, co-workers, and the mailman, hopefully this post gave you some good ideas.

Do you agree with my holiday gifting guidelines? What are your favorite gifts for neighbors and co-workers? Let me know in the comments below!

As always, thanks for reading!


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  1. avatar

    Great post! I didn’t grow up with a gift closet, but as an adult, I always make sure I have several options on hand. You never know when you’ll need them! A lot of the gifts that I used to give coworkers are great items to buy during the after holidays sales, especially at Bath and Body Works. You can get the same stuff, but significantly cheaper. Plus, if you want a holiday candle for yourself, it’s great to get it then too.

    1. avatar

      After the holidays is a really good time to stock up on some of those gifts for the next year. Good idea!

  2. avatar

    These are really lovely gift ideas, and I love how you’ve shared practical advice on who to buy for, and how much to spend. I usually only gift to family and close friends, but I agree that it’s a great idea to have some small gifts on hand just in case you receive an unexpected gift. Those Swedish gnome decorations are so cute!

    1. avatar

      I think so too! They’re so fun and different – I love stuff like that.

  3. avatar

    This was such a helpful guide! Gifting our neighbors or even mailman is so thoughtful. Got some ideas flowing!

    1. avatar

      I’m always so glad to hear that!

  4. avatar

    These are some fab suggestions! Although I’m not sure if it’s different in the US but in the UK we definitely don’t give presents to everyone! But we have a couple of neighbours and people like our hairdresser who we always give something small to x

    1. avatar

      That’s so interesting! Someone else said that too, but I’d never thought of giving a gift to my hairdresser. It’s common to give to teachers here though and to the mailman.

  5. avatar

    What a great gift guide! I never know what to gift people I don’t know *that* well, so this was really helpful.

    1. avatar

      So glad to hear that! It’s always hard when you’re not super familiar with the person.

  6. avatar

    Such a great list.

    We buy for coworkers and my parents neighbours, so these are some useful suggestions.

    1. avatar

      Good, I’m glad you found it useful!

  7. avatar

    I am always searching for what are good gifts for the people who we interact with on a daily basis but aren’t really close with. These are great ideas to help me think of things that they might like so I am not searching for items at the last minute. One year, I purchased all my children’s teachers scarves and I said I would do that again- practical and nice. I had forgotten about that until I read this post so thank you for the reminder and the other ideas!

    1. avatar

      I agree – things like scarves, ornaments, candy/food are all good things that can be fairly universal. Glad you found it helpful!

  8. avatar

    Where I live, you don’t have to give gifts to everyone like this and I’d never heard of it before reading this, but I love the idea behind it! It’s spreading a little love into the world 😊 thanks for inspiring me!

    1. avatar

      That’s so interesting! I’ve always given small gifts to neighbors and teachers before, but I can understand that it probably depends on what’s customary where you live.

  9. avatar

    It’s nice to have some guidelines on who and what to gift at Christmas. I also tip my hairdresser (who makes it clear she wants cash only) and my esthetician. Thanks for sharing!

    1. avatar

      As an extra for the holidays? That’s very nice of you!

  10. avatar

    This is such a great gift suggestion list! Everyone knows the secret santa at work can be a nightmare!
    I tend to only give neighbours cards, and in future I plan to make homemade cards with my little boy to send out and I’ll treat that as the gift lol.

    1. avatar

      That’s a great gift idea though! Homemade gifts like cards or baked goods are always nice.

  11. avatar
    Riyah Speaks says:

    This is a really nice holiday gift guide. I never thought about gifting the mail man or my neighbors before.

    1. avatar

      I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary, but I know a lot of people do.

  12. avatar

    This is such an extensive and helpful gift guide. Thanks so much for sharing! It’s always difficult trying to find gifts for people you maybe don’t know as well as your closer friends and family x


    1. avatar

      I agree! You want something thoughtful but it’s not as clear what they might like.

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30ish Lifestyle blogger, relationship "expert," and modern-day agony aunt.
Sometimes humorous, always honest.