Ok, so … we’ve gotten through family (moms, dads, siblings and bff’s), we’ve talked about bosses. Now, let’s get to the REALLY annoying circle from the Circle of Gifts….Acquaintances and Co-Workers. This is THE most annoying group to buy for because a) it’s a damned GROUP and b) you really don’t know them that well (nor do you like most of them). It causes little pangs of anxiety to know you have to buy things in multiples, battle the box store parking lot and spend more money than you REALLY want to over the holidays.
We’ve budgeted about $7-12 for this category. Let’s say you have 10 people to buy for at work. That’s only $70 (and in the grand scheme of things, really not that much). Depending on their likes and dislikes, you can easily pick up some meaningful but inexpensive (that’s a big word for cheap-ass) gifts. Generally, you want to keep the playing field even in these situations because A-holes like Stan at the office might get offended if you buy something great for Greg, but Stan only gets the $5 AMC gift card with a puppy Christmas card you got free in the mail for donating to that dog rescue. While that’s fine and Stan might just deserve that, you know it’s going to cause all kinds of office dramatics once he starts bitching to Shelly in the design department.
While I am not a big fan of splitting things into “Girls” and “Boys”, sometimes you have to when the situation calls for it, so let’s just do it. For Lady co-workers, you might think about something along the lines of soap, lotions, lip balms and the like. For the Man co-workers, you could easily pick up things like say, food or gift certificates to kick ass places. Dudes don’t want your pinterestified coffee cup with the spoon dipped in chocolate that you stayed up all night assembling to spice up his coffee in the morning with a bit of milk chocolate. They don’t want stupid crap for their desks and they certainly don’t want soap (even though you probably have someone you work with who REALLY needs it). They want practical crap they can use or eat.
One thing no co-worker dude can really balk at is an ornament. This is a good gift for lady co-workers, too. Not just any ornament, though. You can pick up some great Ybor/Tampa themed ornaments at the Ybor Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Center and Gift Shop for $12.99. They’ve got your basic cigar, the trolley and a host of other ornaments that represent Tampa. Another FAB gift that literally anyone would want (unless they have a gluten free, sugar free, cookie free diet) is a tin with delicious cookies inside with a super fantastic Ybor City light post design on it that was designed by yours truly! You can pick these tins of cookies up at the Visitor Center for $12. Ever been to the Columbia Restaurant and had their sangria? You can get the Sangria mix at the Visitor Center for $5. Stick this in cheap wine glass with a homemade card (that you can pick up at the Ybor City Saturday Market from Hogan Made for only $3.50) and your alcohol loving co-workers will tell you that you officially won the holidays. What about the 1905 Salad dressing that you would like lick off the bottom of the bowl after eating? You can grab a bottle of that and some all-purpose seasoning from the Columbia, too!
For the Lady co-works, let’s start with candles. What lady co-worker do you know does NOT like a good candle? Candles are a dime a dozen, but homemade soy candles could be just the ticket! Get a handful of them at the Visitor Center (made by the Seventh Avenue Apothecary) for $8 each. Get a bunch of different flavors and then once you give them to the ladies at work, they can feel free to trade up for the favorite flavors. Everyone is treated evenly and equally, so nobody’s going to pulling anyone’s weave out and HR won’t have to get involved. Soap is basically the same. You can pick up handmade soap at a host of places around town, but why not stop by the Ybor City Saturday Market and visit Jeannie at Soap Handmade by Jeannie? You can get so many yummy smelling soaps from her! For $6 each, you can get the entire office done! You simply can’t go wrong with soap. Another place to get great soaps is A Peace of Plant City. Jayme stocks the mother UP with some fine-ass soaps. You can get goat’s milk soap with a piece of Tarpon Springs sponge for $7.50 or without the sponge for $5. Either way, you’re going to LOVE these so much, you’ll walk out with an extra for yourself. Another fantastic and amazeballs gift you can get at the Ybor City Saturday Market is Hogan Made’s very own Tea Towel. You can get them for $10 with all your favorite Hogan Made designs. This might actually be the best idea. Scrap everything else I’ve talked about and just do this. Of course you are going to have that special someone at work that you like a lot more than all the other jackbags. You’ll have to work that outside the office for the best protection from prying eyes (Stan).
But, now we’ve discussed these smaller, less expensive gifts, right? You’re thinking ok, this seems a little skimpy, right? No. It’s not skimpy damn it, it’s a locally handcrafted gift for Christ’s sake! Make sure you grab a business card from whomever you are purchasing from and include it in the gift. This will a) show your co-workers you didn’t just go to Starbucks and get them a gift card while rolling your eyes and b) will spread the good will of small business throughout the city! There are lots of ways to spruce up a smaller gift. You could get a cool soap holder, a handmade wash cloth/scrubby or an awesome book of matches for the candles. You can also stop by Hogan Made’s booth at the market and grab some blank notecards with all your favorite Hogan Made designs. Who knows, if you are really super nice maybe the owner will give you a discount … maybe tell that witch you read her blog….just sayin’