Gift shopping can often be a daunting and soul-crushing experience – just ask any panicked last-minute shopper on Christmas Eve or any man out shopping with his wife. Unfortunately, however, you can’t exactly sit this one out while your wife tries on what feels like the hundredth dress, and occasionally “mmm” and “ah” your way through your very own personal hell.
As your coworker Joe’s birthday is just around the corner, who happens to be the person you dislike the least at work, you feel obligated to get him a little something. But the thing is you don’t know what to get him, and he already has everything. However, there’s no need to hide under your desk and start rocking yourself back and forth because we’re here to help make gift shopping for coworkers easy -peasy with these five awesome birthday gift ideas!
1. Indie Coffee Passport
Price: $12 to $30 + VAT (depending on city)
Like cars require gas to run, some people need to consume coffee to function properly. If that reminds you of someone you work with, someone whose motto is “Coffee makes the world go round”, then it’s safe to say we all know what would make a great gift for them. But rather than going for the decades-old standard that is the coffee machine, why not opt for the Indie Coffee Passport?
While the Indie Coffee Passport is only available in select cities in the US and Canada, it makes for a unique gift for any coffee-loving coworker.
Passport holders can visit participating coffee shops and choose a drink from their unique list of beverages exclusively available to ICP holders, and users get their passports stamped. The ICP only runs for a specific period (in Chicago, for example, it runs for nine months whereas in Washington DC, it runs for seven months), and the founders are “really never sure” if the Passport will return the next year. It’s currently only running in Chicago, East Bay, Montreal, and Washington DC.
2. Water Garden
Cubicles can become very depressing, especially if workers feel like they’re cut off from the outside world. And that’s why it’s especially important to keep cubicles decorated: not only will it decrease emotional exhaustion but it will also increase productivity and even socialization.
And Back to the Roots’ Water Garden can help accomplish that.
The Water Garden is a self-cleaning fish tank that combines traditional aquaculture and hydroponics, and creates a closed-loop ecosystem where the fish feed the plants, and the plants keep the water clean. It, therefore, doesn’t require any cleaning, and it’s ideal for that fish -loving coworker who has green fingers. It includes a silent, submersible water pump, natural fertilizer, gravel, organic seeds, fish food, and a coupon for a Betta fish.
The trouble with giving a Water Garden a gift is that you might have a change of heart and decide to keep it for yourself. And who can blame you?
3. Spotify Premium Gift Card
Price: Starts at $9.99 for one month
Is there that one person in your department who keeps singing songs out loud like Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” and the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”? Do they often hum the “Pink Panther Theme” when the entire office suddenly falls silent? Then why not give them the gift of Spotify?
For $9.99 per month, Spotify Premium members can listen to and download over 20 million songs (as of December 2012) without all the ads and with unlimited skips. You can also treat your coworker to a three, six, or 12-month subscription, and it’s super easy: simply select your preferred subscription length, choose a color theme, and send it off to a lucky someone.
Meanwhile, if you work with family, and you’re already a Spotify member yourself, you can add your relatives to the Spotify Family plan and get 50% off their subscription. You can also buy $10, $30, and $60 gift cards at retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.
4. 'Star Wars' Personalized Coffee Mug
The Star Wars movie series is one of the most loved and successful movie franchises of all-time. In 2012, the franchise had an estimated value of over $30 billion, while the series’ seventh installment Star Wars: The Force Awakens broke box office records in 2015 when it became the fastest-grossing movie to surpass $1 billion in just 12 days worldwide.
That means that there are a lot of Star Wars fans out there, and there’s bound to be at least one person in your office who can recite the movies’ collective dialogue by heart. But there’s one line from the movies that even non-fans can associate with Darth Vader: “Luke, I am your father”.
This awesome mug by GelertDesign takes a fun take on that world-famous line by replacing the word “father” with “mug”, and you can also personalize the mug with the recipient’s name (subsequently ensuring no one in the office steals it).
5. Bubble Calendar
Price: $25.99 (Now on sale at Amazon for $12.34)
The US unemployment rate may be falling but workplace stress levels are still on the rise with a whopping 83% of workers saying they felt stressed on the job, according to Everest College’s 2013 Work Stress Survey. And while just about every “How to manage workplace stress” article out there does offer some pretty good advice, none has actually stated the obvious: bubble wrap. Yes, bubble wrap can, and does, help overcome stress. In fact, Sealed Air Corporation found that one minute’s worth of popping bubble wrap was the equivalent to a 33-minute massage.
So, why aren’t we funding this? Well, we are, actually.
The lovely people over at Bubble Calendar had the genius idea of designing a wall calendar that not only helps you keep track of the year but also lets you pop bubble wrap while keeping your stress levels to a minimum. This 48” x 15.5” poster calendar features a heavy bubble (“for a bigger POP”) to pop every day, and all major holidays like Cinco De Mayo and Christmas Day are marked for easy reference.
Not ideal for people who give in easily to temptation. In this case: the temptation of popping every single bubble in one bubble wrap-popping session.
Can you think of any other awesome gift ideas for coworkers? What’s the coolest give you’ve ever received from colleagues? Tell us in the comments section below!