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October 5, 2006

Holiday Office Etiquette: 3 Survival Tips

Can you blow off the dreaded office party? Avoid giving an irascible colleague a gift? Don't do anything until you read this.

girls and guys dancing

Dress, $3300, Lanvin.Dress, $560, Max Mara.Dress, $4000, bodysuit, $475, Alessandro Dell'Acqua; shoes, $640, Jimmy Choo. Dress, $3900, Blugirl by Blumarine; tank, $17, American Apparel.

Photo Credit: Philip Gay

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Problem #1: The Gift Trap

You're unsure what to give. How can you be "present perfect" every time, for your colleagues, boss and clients?

Consider buying something for your colleagues that improves office life - like mugs for the kitchen. Or, suggest that everyone chip in for an espresso machine. A personalized item - a frame in each person's favorite color or cookies with a note - makes a memorable impression. Thank the perpetually unrecognized (interns, building managers) with a $10 gift card, says Robyn Freedman Spizman, author of The Giftionary.

Organize a group gift for your boss - it makes everyone look good. Or, keep your own gift personal: Fill a jar with her favorite candy or treats for her dog. "Something expensive will only make your boss uncomfortable," says gift expert Sherri Athay, founder of GiftElan.com

Avoid sending clients anything with a logo - it smacks of self-promotion. Deliver your gift a month early, so it won't get lost in the pile of packages from other associates. If you're in a position to receive gifts, be cautious. Check your company's policy - you may be prohibited from accepting gifts of more than a certain value.

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