Picks

A Gift Under $50 for Every Type of Co-worker

From the coworker who multitasks, to the one who’s known to drink an afternoon cup of coffee.

A collage of a Slate notebook, rainbow Croc, and Le Creuset egg cup.

Coming up with gift ideas for co-workers can be surprisingly difficult, especially now that so many of our interactions are happening via Zoom or Google Hangouts. But the general principal of co-worker gifting remains the same: items that are thoughtful, but don’t cost too much, or accidentally offend. This is not an easy balance to strike. Which is why we did the legwork for you, and hunted down the 36 best gifts under $50 for every type of co-worker, from your work spouse, to your department’s intern, to the HR representative who kindly and patiently explained your company’s retirement benefits to you.

For the co-worker who has everything (except a green thumb)

GTIDEA Artificial Anthurium Potted Plant

Giving a plant can be a little risky, especially if the recipient doesn’t have a green thumb or lives in a setting with less-than-ideal lighting, which is why we suggest opting for a (very real-looking) artificial plant instead, like this lovely faux anthurium.

For the co-worker who always asked to borrow your charger

Anker PowerLine+ Lightning Cable (10ft)

The gold standard of cables, according to writer Alison Freer, the Anker phone charger is ten feet long and covered in a durable double-braided nylon that’s virtually indestructible.

For the co-worker who’s become a quarantine influencer

Case-Mate Naked Tough Case, Iridescent (iPhone XR, XS, XS Max)

Writer Francesca Giacco told us that her favorite phone case reminds her of the ubiquitous Ultrafragola mirror, and “makes my reflection look … better. The case always shows me a version of myself that appears better rested, moisturized, and generally more attractive.”

For the co-worker who multitasks

Omoton Adjustable Cell Phone Stand

Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness told us about this handy-dandy phone “easel” that will free up your multitasking colleagues’ hands so they can work on spinning even more plates.

For the co-worker who hoarded salt packets in their desk

Maldon Salt Bucket

If your co-worker likes to add salt to everything, you cannot go wrong with this massive tub of Maldon. The salt just so happens to be one of former Vogue editor Tonne Goodman’s favorites to give, a fact we unearthed when we asked 130 people with exceptional taste to tell us about their go-to gifts.

For the co-worker who brought two boiled eggs for breakfast

Le Creuset Stoneware Egg Cup

If you miss the tap-tap-tapping sound of your keto-dieting co-worker preparing breakfast, consider gifting them this stoneware egg cup which are big enough to fit even extra-large eggs.

For the co-worker who constantly Slacks you about good WFH footwear

Crocs Men’s and Women’s Classic Tie Dye Graphic Clog

Comfy, breathable, and psychedelic. What’s not to love?

For the co-worker who’s a neat freak

Woolzies Wool Dryer Balls (Set of 6)

If their Zoom background is always spick-and-span, they’ll likely appreciate these time-saving dryer balls that, according to former Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens, are “an all-natural fabric softener that staves off static, prevents wrinkles, and — maybe most appealingly — cuts down on drying time.”

For the co-worker who’s a cat person

Pettsie Cat Collar With Friendship Bracelet

They’ll appreciate that it comes with a matching bracelet (for a human), and the tacit message that you’ll never get sick of hearing about their feline friend.

For the co-worker who’s more of a dog person

Insect Shield Dog Insect Repellent Bandana

Strategist writer Liza Corsillo’s doggo, Uli, owns this sporty bandana that looks adorable on and protects against ticks.

For the co-worker who needs to take quarantine one day at a time

Peanuts 2020 Wall Calendar

Charlie Brown always took each day as it came. This wall calendar featuring him and the rest of his Peanuts crew will help your co-worker do the same.

For the co-worker who’s also your work spouse

State Cashmere Cable Knit Cuffed Beanie

A lovely, 100 percent cashmere beanie says “I love you” — but in a platonic, professional way.

For the co-worker whose positive vibes are contagious

Chive Set of 6 Decorative Vases

These plump little bud vases have a Heath Ceramics–esque look to them and will brighten up their home desk.

For the co-worker who’s always cold

DII Rustic Farmhouse Cotton Chevron Blanket Throw With Fringe — Eggplant Purple

The best desk blanket, according to our colleagues at the Cut, is one that isn’t too heavy, is relatively inexpensive, and looks more like a shawl than a duvet. This cotton number definitely fits that bill — and for less than $20, no less. (It would also look great draped over your own wall ladder at home, for what it’s worth.)

For the co-worker who says their home is “dry”

AmuseNd USB Humidifier 280ml Cactus Shape

This charming mini-humidifier is powered via USB, and also happens to be shaped like a cactus.

For the co-worker who always shares their skin-care tips

Eau Thermale Avène Thermal Spring Water

This French facial mist is another line of defense against dry air — and also acts as the perfect mid-afternoon facial spray pick-me-up. It’s a favorite of Rio’s and a bunch of other beauty experts’, too.

For the intern who went above and beyond

Blackwing Slate (Plain)

Give them a handsome notebook, complete with a slot for the cult-y Blackwing pencil, which actor Rob Corddry swears by. If they really went above and beyond, throw in a slick backup pen to go with it.

Ohto Horizon Aluminum Hexagon Barrel Needlepoint Ballpoint Pen (0.7mm), Orange

Like this sleek ballpoint, which came in second in our ranking of the 100 best pens, and yields the “thinnest, smoothest line,” according to our editors, and looks good, too, with its handsome hexagonal tube design.

For the co-worker who’s known to drink an afternoon coffee

KeepCup Brew Glass Reusable Coffee Cup, 12-Ounce

This travel cup that’s a favorite among coffee connoisseurs will help your co-worker move away from their single-use paper cup and plastic lid habit.

For the co-worker who’s become a quasi-professional barista

OXO Good Grips Single Serve Pour Over Coffee Dripper with Auto-Drip Water Tank

This little coffee dripper will let them make a single serving of pour-over coffee right at their desk (or, you know, kitchen table).

For the co-worker who’s always meal prepping

Bentgo Salad BPA-Free Lunch Container

Rio loves this office-friendly bento box for salads that separates the greens from the toppings — and dressing. Your co-worker will never complain about their wilted lettuce again.

For the co-worker who loves to snack

Rezip 3-Piece Stand-Up Leakproof Reusable Storage Bag

Strategist contributor Alison Freer swears by these reusable food-storage bags that can be used for anything from nuts to apple slices to cookies. They even stand, meaning less opportunity for spillage.

For the co-worker who’s serious about hydration

BuildLife 1 Gallon Water Bottle

This gigantic water bottle beloved by contributor Caroline Goldfarb (@officialseanpenn on Instagram) fits one gallon of H2O and features a bunch of inspirational words to help you finish every last drop.

For the co-worker who’s always spilling things

DII Swedish Dishcloths

These cheery, reusable Swedish dishcloths are “a game changer,” according to writer Ashlea Halpern. “They are superabsorbent, able to soak up 20 times their own weight in liquid,” she writes, adding that they’re also “soft and pliable when wet, and dry quickly in between uses.”

For the co-worker you don’t know that well

Fox Run Triangular 100% Natural Polished White Marble Bookends

If they don’t need bookends (which, who knows — they might!), these would make for nice paperweights.

For the co-worker who gets all of the swag

BAGGU Standard Reusable Shopping Bag

How festive is this “yellow tartan” version of one of our favorite bags?

For the co-worker who organizes Zoom office happy hours

Kikkerland Lightwood Fish Corkscrew

This do-everything bottle opener has a corkscrew, foil cutter, and bottle opener so they can open up everything from a fancy bottle of champagne to an after-work IPA.

For the co-worker who detests getting wet

LifeTek New Yorker Umbrella

This umbrella was our No. 2 pick in our ranking of the best umbrellas. When using it, says Senior Writer Karen Iorio Adelson, “it’s easy to forget it’s even raining out. It’s like being in a bubble of dryness that encompasses your whole body.”

For the co-worker you have never actually met in person

Sugar & Cloth White Melamine Tray and Multicolor Condiment Cups Set, 8 Pieces

While these sweet pastel-colored melamine trays are technically for condiments, we think they’d also make fantastic desk catch-alls for paperclips, hair ties, and any other messy desk things.

For the co-worker who wants to make their desk feel cozier

Tealyra — Peak Ceramic Yellow Tea Cup Infuser

Former Strategist writer Lori Keong says this vibrant mug with a tea infuser is “the perfect color to make my fluorescent cubicle feel more homey.”

For the co-worker whose desk is in a closet

TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp

This highly rated desk lamp will make your co-worker’s work space feel a little less cavernous.

For the co-worker who answers all of your questions about health insurance

Modern Innovations Sticky Note Pad Holder

This cool, mod Post-it holder is a thoughtful gift for the HR rep who is busy keeping track of everyone.

For the co-worker who’s analog

Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook

Just a classic dotted notebook from Leuchtturm that ranked 11 in our ranking of the 100 best notebooks. According to writer Dominique Pariso, it “delivers on the hype.”

For the co-worker who can’t stop tweeting

The Miracle TimeCube Timer

Strategist managing editor Maxine Builder swears by this plastic timer when it comes to getting things done in a timely manner. “I now divide my time,” she says, “into manageable 25-minute, Twitter-free chunks (à la the Pomodoro Technique), punctuated by the timer’s forceful, hard-to-ignore, but not abrasive beeps.”

For the co-worker quarantining with small children

Death Wish Organic USDA Certified Whole Bean Coffee

Coffee is a perennially appreciated gift, and these beans from Saratoga, New York–based coffee roaster Death Wish are sure to make an impression, especially since they claims to make the world’s strongest coffee.

And for the co-worker quarantining alone

Orchard

This solitaire like game, in which the player aims to “harvest fruit” (score points) by playing cards so that their trees overlap other trees already in the same “orchard” that bear the same fruit, will help keep them occupied.