The season of giving is upon us, and you鈥檙e probably already juggling a pretty extensive list of must-buy presents. Your S.O. naturally deserves the perfect gift, you鈥檝e already been invited to participate in three white elephant exchanges, your parents are perpetually impossible to buy for鈥 are you starting to sweat? As if you needed one more thing to worry about, there鈥檚 always the issue of what to give people at the office 鈥 that is, if you give them anything at all. Oh, you hadn鈥檛 thought of that yet? Sorry. We totally just made everything worse.

Gifting company Knack recently conducted a survey about holiday presents in the workplace, and the good news is that it really seems to be the thought that counts. According to Knack鈥檚 results, the most memorable gifts among professional contacts are items chosen especially and uniquely for the recipient, those that include a personal note, or those that are shareable (like edible treats that can be split among family and friends). Expensive or labor-intensive presents don鈥檛 make the list! Commence your happy dance 鈥 to the tune of 鈥淛ingle Bells,鈥 of course.

A woman opens a holiday gift at her desk

If the prospect of choosing gifts for your coworkers still has you breaking out in a case of holiday hives, we鈥檙e here to help. We talked with business etiquette expert Arden Clise to get the lowdown on office gifting. She has eight tips to share 鈥 and we鈥檙e pretty confident they鈥檒l make the whole thing feel a lot less stressful. Read on for all the details.

1. Leave your expectations at the door. 鈥淗oliday gift giving at the office is a nice way to say thank you to the [people] you work with,鈥 Clise agrees. 鈥淭hat said, [it] should not be expected. People have different budgets, and not everyone celebrates the holidays, so there should never be a requirement or expectation that coworkers exchange gifts.鈥 If you choose to share gifts at the office, don鈥檛 expect that everyone else will do the same 鈥 and if you鈥檝e opted not to gift something to your colleagues, rest assured that you haven鈥檛 committed a major faux pas.

2. Avoid overly personal presents and gag gifts. It should go without saying that it鈥檚 best to avoid giving a colleague anything that feels too intimate, but perfume, jewelry, and pajamas are all no-nos. And while it鈥檚 easy to default to a silly present when you鈥檙e not sure what else to get, gag gifts are also not a great idea. 鈥淭hey might be funny with close friends or family, but they may be seen as mean-spirited or inappropriate for a coworker,鈥 Clise explains.

3. Be careful with booze. A bottle of wine can often seem like a nice present for just about anyone, but take a beat before you hand over the gift of holiday spirits (pun!) to someone at the office. Do they drink? Do they have religious or other restrictions that limit their alcohol consumption? Within the context of your relationship with this particular person, would a bottle of wine feel like a weird or inappropriate gift?

A woman prepares holiday gifts

4. Skip the gift for your boss. According to Clise, it鈥檚 generally best not to share a holiday present with your supervisor. 鈥淚t鈥檚 fine for bosses to give gifts to their employees, but employees should not be expected or feel obligated to give a gift to their boss,鈥 she says. 鈥淏eing a great employee is the best present you can give your boss.鈥

5. Give gifts only to your closest coworkers. If you鈥檙e working on a budget this year (aren鈥檛 we all?), there鈥檚 no need to feel pressured to buy something for every single person at the office. Give gifts to your closest office pals or to anyone you spend a significant number of your working hours with. Someone you鈥檝e swapped a few emails with 鈥 no matter how nice they are! 鈥 doesn鈥檛 need to merit a holiday present.

6. Keep office gifts simple. Even your office BFF isn鈥檛 going to expect something extravagant from you this holiday season 鈥 which is good, since Clise suggests you stay away from anything that could potentially come off as over-the-top. 鈥淸Extravagant gifts] may make someone feel uncomfortable that you鈥檝e spent so much on them,鈥 she reminds us. 鈥淚t鈥檚 the thought and appropriateness of the gift that matters, not how much you spend.鈥 Go for homemade baked goods or jams, or something store-bought in the $5-$10 range. A close friend at the office might merit a bigger budget, but don鈥檛 go overboard.

A woman gifts a holiday gift to a friend at the office

7. Swap presents with your work bestie in private. If you鈥檝e opted to get something a little more expensive for the coworker you eat lunch with every day (and who鈥檚 also likely responsible for you maintaining your sanity at the office), give it to them in the privacy of your office or at happy hour after work. This is especially important if you鈥檝e made the totally understandable decision to not give gifts to other colleagues.

8. Don鈥檛 stress if you get a gift from someone who wasn鈥檛 on your list. We鈥檝e all been on the receiving end of an incredibly thoughtful gift, with nothing to give in return. Clise鈥檚 advice? Don鈥檛 stress! 鈥淪ay thank you and let it go,鈥 she recommends. 鈥淣o need to say or do anything else except write a thank-you note. If you give your colleague a gift later, it will look like you didn鈥檛 plan to give them a gift and instead scrambled to buy one after they gave you one.鈥

Do you have any other helpful rules of thumb for exchanging holiday gifts at the office? Tweet us @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)