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17 Gifts for Managers

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Gifts for Managers

This year I have rounded up a selection of presents that would make suitable gifts for managers, colleagues and project teams. There are also a few extra-special (i.e. too expensive for a Secret Santa) presents that you could either club together to buy for a colleague.

My own experience of gifting for colleagues has been mixed. I took part in the office Secret Santa one year and I didn’t get it right. I knew the person I had been allocated in the draw professionally, but not well enough to know what they would really like.

They weren’t a UK national, so for fun I got them a mug with “I love London” on. To make up the rest of the money I bought some wool and crocheted a scarf.

I enjoyed making the scarf, it turned out nicely, it was a thoughtful present that I put a lot of effort into. But I think they were disappointed. Actually, I know they were disappointed because as they opened it, they said, “I don’t wear scarves.” Oops.

Everyone else got and gave hilarious novelty gifts. I’d got the tone of Secret Santa all wrong. I don’t think I’ve taken part in a Secret Santa since then. Buying gifts for managers and project colleagues is just too stressful! If that ex-colleague is reading, they’ll know now that it was me.

OK, on with the gifts!

Practical Gifts for Managers

USB Rechargable Batteries

These [amazon_textlink asin=’B01M4LEFVP|B077YHTX1P|B01M4LEFVP|B01M4LEFVP|B01M4LEFVP|B01M4LEFVP’ text=’USB rechargeable batteries’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwelizabharr-21|otobos-20|otobos-21|otobos0e-21|otobos07-21|otobos06-21′ marketplace=’UK|CA|FR|DE|IT|ES’ link_id=’51782cd7-e06c-11e8-b9fd-dd9c2b7398ec’] would make a great stocking filler or Secret Santa gift.

Perfect to ensure that the clicker for your presentations is always topped up or for any of the children’s toys I seem to find in the bottom of my handbag.

2019 Diary

I like this 2019 year to a page diary. The squeeze the day theme is very clever. There is also a back pocket to collect loose papers. If lemons are not your gift recipient’s thing then check out Paperchase to see their massive selection of diaries and planners for the coming year.

Personalised Notebook

You can personalise this notebook with text on the spine and the front cover. Perhaps “Best Manager Ever” would be taking it too far, but I’m sure you could come up with something! I think their name would look classy. It comes in a large number of colour choices and you can get it lined or unlined. I love a notebook with many options.

Fun Gifts for Your Team

Colour Chart Mug

colour chart coffee mug

My lovely colleagues regularly offer to make me a cup of tea. Maybe it’s because I have moved desks and now the closest one to the kitchen so they have to pass me on their way to make their own drinks. More often than not I say no. I just prefer to do it myself so my tea is perfect. If I had one of [amazon_textlink asin=’B0010B0ALW|B0010B0ALW|B0010B0ALW|B01JLMYC4C|B0010B0ALW’ text=’these mugs’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwelizabharr-21|otobos-20|otobos-21|otobos0e-21|otobos07-21′ marketplace=’UK|CA|FR|DE|IT’ link_id=’8ebaf977-e06f-11e8-964a-af4200f9d3ab’] then maybe I could help my colleagues get my tea just right.

Erasable Memo Pad

Do you remember Etch-a-Sketch? How about a grown up version for your desk? This [amazon_textlink asin=’B018OR4B6E|B07DWV8KPY|B018OR4B6E|B018OR4B6E|B018OR4B6E|B0723D9V79′ text=’erasable memo pad’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwelizabharr-21|otobos-20|otobos-21|otobos0e-21|otobos07-21|otobos06-21′ marketplace=’UK|CA|FR|DE|IT|ES’ link_id=’22aefde2-e071-11e8-a763-259b03d95b17′] has had mixed reviews on Amazon so you’ll have to assess for yourself whether it would be worth the investment. I think it could be a fun Secret Santa gift for the person who has everything.

Smartphone Projector

smartphone projector

This [amazon_textlink asin=’B018ETZABW|B018ETZABW|B00R661UOQ|B00R661UOQ|B00IR9J6F6|B00R661UOQ’ text=’smartphone projector’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwelizabharr-21|otobos-20|otobos-21|otobos0e-21|otobos07-21|otobos06-21′ marketplace=’UK|CA|FR|DE|IT|ES’ link_id=’8bff98cc-e071-11e8-a733-c325b7e70aec’] is not that expensive, and would be a fun gift for a project manager. Turn your mobile phone into a projector and share your video clips, training materials and so on with your team on the wall.

Plus it’s a make-it-yourself thing so it will be fun to put together in the office or at home. It does’t look particularly travel friendly though.

Coffee to Grow

Want to impress the coffee snob in your office? Get them this Coffee to Grow kit so that they can grow their own arabic coffee plant. Start it on your desk and then plant the whole biodegradable takeaway cup in your garden.

Movie Scratch Poster

Do you have a movie buff on your team? They will love this 100 Movie Scratch poster filled with classic and obscure movies to help keep track of what they have watched.

Fridgezoo Fridge Pets

Fridgeezoo fridge pets

This would make the perfect gift for the office manager or facilities manager! There will be no more problems with people leaving the fridge door open with one of these Fridgezoo Fridge Pets reminding people to close the door.

Plus depending on the time of day they will change their greeting when you open the door. It is all in Japanese, but that is part of the fun.

Gifts for The Boss Who Travels

Adventure Map

Perfect for the person in your team who likes to travel, or who has to travel for business. This world map comes with 300 built-in adventures. Scratch off the ones that you have done and plan your next trip!

Bluetooth Keyboard

This looks awesome. The [amazon_textlink asin=’B00NB2NZ92|B00MUTWLW4|B00N4M5IH6|B00MWNDUDM|B00NGKYKPW|B00NCVSA5G’ text=’Logitech K480 keyboard’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwelizabharr-21|otobos-20|otobos-21|otobos0e-21|otobos07-21|otobos06-21′ marketplace=’UK|CA|FR|DE|IT|ES’ link_id=’e5f3b431-e071-11e8-8ffb-e9decb3c866c’] lets you switch between devices on the same keyboard.

Up until now I was just looking for a Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad so that I could type more easily on the train. But now I’ve seen this, I want it.

The only downside is that at about £50 it’s too expensive for a Secret Santa present. This would make a great gift for a boss who is leaving.

Watch how it works in this video.

Cup Warmer

cup warmer

This [amazon_textlink asin=’B009NU82GW|B00XDSF6YG|B004NY39DY|B07JH3QD1B|B07H98MZV2|B000W72G6M’ text=’USB cup warmer’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwelizabharr-21|otobos-20|otobos-21|otobos0e-21|otobos07-21|otobos06-21′ marketplace=’UK|CA|FR|DE|IT|ES’ link_id=’2073a252-e073-11e8-b7b5-9d041b50b35f’] would be a perfect gift for someone who is on the road a lot and really values a decent hot drink.

It’s also great for office-based staff. I can see me using it on those times where I’ve just got a drink and then someone calls with something urgent and I can’t slurp it while I’m on the phone and I’m just watching it get cold before my eyes.

Does that only happen to me?

The thing I like most about this gadget is that it doesn’t use up a USB port as it includes a built-in 4-port USB hub. It works best with a classy stainless steel mug (which might make you feel a bit like you are camping out) but it doesn’t say it doesn’t work with a ceramic one.

Wall Calendar

This city landscape cute wall calendar

is a non-gender specific and practical gift for a boss who travels. It features 12 different cities, one for each month. It will definitely brighten their wall. The cities include New York, Paris, Lisbon, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Monaco, Singapore, Porto, Stockholm, Vancouver, and London. Make sure you check out the other items that Tessa Galloway offers on Etsy. She is an artist local to me in London.

project manager mug

Project Management Gifts

Keep Calm And Listen to the Project Manager Mug

Sometimes I wish I could say this to my stakeholders. Perhaps I could subtly get the message across with this [amazon_textlink asin=’B00OQR75X8|B01F19VDQ4|B0721QPK84|B00OQR75X8|B07JCVY1Z3|B07JCVY1Z3′ text=’Keep Calm and Listen to the Project Manager mug’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwelizabharr-21|otobos-20|otobos-21|otobos0e-21|otobos06-21|otobos07-21′ marketplace=’UK|CA|FR|DE|ES|IT’ link_id=’f1eba36c-e074-11e8-879c-43b0c47d9c8a’] instead.

This mug is sure to put a smile on someone’s face when they see it. It is professionally printed and microwave and dishwasher safe, so should last a very long time.

Hankie Notebook

hankie notebook

What project manager doesn’t like a good notebook for keeping on top of tasks? This [amazon_textlink asin=’B007EGGXHW|B007EGI2B2|B007EGI2B2′ text=’notebook that looks like a handkerchief’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwelizabharr-21|otobos-20|otobos06-21′ marketplace=’UK|CA|ES’ link_id=’0a8a2b14-e076-11e8-beff-97ca1fd24886′]?

It’s cheap, fun, and would make a good neutral present for a male colleague. The small size means it will easily fit in a pocket so it is always around for taking notes.

Phone-Controlled Paper Planes

phone-controlled paper planes

This is about £40 and would be too expensive for me to buy as an office Secret Santa gift. But perhaps if the team clubbed together as a gift for a manager?

How cool would it be to fold a paper plane, add the Bluetooth spine and then soar it round the office controlled by your phone? The description says “crash-proof design” but I’m sure my team would test that to the max.

A [amazon_textlink asin=’B00N8GWZ4M|B07FSR21JY|B00N8GWZ4M|B00N8GWZ4M|B077LQYNCF|B00N8GWZ4M’ text=’phone-controlled plane’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwelizabharr-21|otobos-20|otobos-21|otobos0e-21|otobos07-21|otobos06-21′ marketplace=’UK|CA|FR|DE|IT|ES’ link_id=’7d051d62-e076-11e8-9ec0-9dc21a941201′] would be an awesome icebreaker for a team event too.

Project management t-shirt

Scope Creep T-Shirt

This Who is this [amazon_textlink asin=’B00WYYU26W|B00X3XF3HG’ text=’Scope creep’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwelizabharr-21|otobos-20′ marketplace=’UK|CA’ link_id=’cb941a33-e07b-11e8-bfc9-b59470170528′]? T-shirt would make a good Secret Santa present for a project manager or one of your team. Perhaps someone who is particularly bad at keeping to scope!

I hope that’s given you some ideas of gifts for your manager and teams!

About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin is a Fellow of the Association for Project Management in the UK and the award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.


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