What to Give
Whether it's for Boss's Day, a birthday or a holiday, buying a gift for your boss can be fraught with political pitfalls. Spend too much and you look like a suck-up. Get too personal and things get awkward. Finding something you can afford that’s both thoughtful and appropriate can be trickier than it seems. Here are 12 fun, clever gifts for your boss, all for less than $50.
Bluetooth Mini Keyboard ($25)
Have a boss that's constantly sending out emails from her smartphone? Let her know how much you appreciate those incessant off-the-clock correspondences with this universally compatible, Bluetooth-enabled miniature keyboard. It works with all recent Apple and Android devices and even comes with a smartphone stand for easy viewing while typing. While this gift might destroy your dreams of an email-free evening, your employer's thumbs will surely appreciate it. At <a href="http://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod2690547&categoryId=cat1630018" target="_blank">Restoration Hardware</a>.
Cool Cufflinks ($12-$48)
Is your boss a secret Nintendo fanatic? Or perhaps a closeted WWII buff? Either way, there's a cufflink out there bound to make his day. You can choose from hundreds of out-of-the ordinary (but still work-appropriate) accessories. At <a href="https://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?q=cufflinks" target="_blank">Etsy.com</a>.
Desktop Skee Ball Machine ($28)
The only thing better than playing your favorite arcade game is playing your favorite arcade game while sitting down. Your overworked boss will appreciate the chance for play and relaxation that the nostalgic desk toy will provide her. And this miniature skee ball machine will also be a good chance for you to show your employer that you're still in touch with your inner child. <a href="http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/desktop-skee-ball" target="_blank">At UncommonGoods.com</a>.
Miniature Bonsai Forest ($39)
Nothing says "it's time for some zen" like a beautifully kept bonsai tree. And this lovely grove of European Cypress Bonsai trees requires very little maintenance to keep it looking it's best, making it a great gift for even the most brown-thumbed of bosses. At <a href="http://shop.brusselsbonsai.com/Details.cfm?ProdID=9030&category=15" target="_blank">Brussel's Bonsai</a>.
Sandwich On Board ($28)
The perfect solution for soggy-sandwich syndrome, any tasteful employer will appreciate this classy-looking sandwich container from British design firm Black and Blum. The natural antibacterial bamboo lid doubles as a cutting board, so your boss can cut up his lunchtime tomatoes in real time. Even if he's a lunch meeting kind of guy, he'll appreciate the thoughtfulness behind this unique gift. At <a href="http://www.black-blum.com/products/sandwich-on-board/" target="_blank">black+blum</a>.
iPhone Case ($42)
iPhone cases aren’t just practical. With every imaginable style to choose from, they can be changed just like jewelry or a purse. Etsy offers thousands of choices from personalized to furry. This one, featuring the <a href="https://www.etsy.com/listing/109451112/iphone-5-case-new-york-city-print-urban%3Fref=br_feed_46%26br_feed_tlp=gifts">New York skyline</a> is $42.</p>
Warren Buffet Books ($15)
Give your boss the gift of knowledge with this <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Snowball-Warren-Buffett-Business/dp/0553384619/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381857071&sr=8-1&keywords=snowball+buffet">biography of Warren Buffet</a>. The 800+ page tome offers a deep look inside the mind of one of history’s most successful businessmen.</p>
Personalized Flask ($19)
Though drinking at the office isn’t exactly as acceptable as it was during Don Draper’s days at Sterling Cooper, having a backup pint on call for a late night at the office wouldn’t be so bad, would it? This personalized faux barn wood flask fits the bill and will show the boss you’ve got a sense of humor, too. This store has a large selection of other customized flasks, too. At <a href=http://www.etsy.com/shop/thehairofthedog?ref=top_trail target="_blank">Etsy.com</a>.
Guitar Pick Hole Punch ($24.99)
He may be holding court in the corner office now, but he wasn’t always all about the suit and tie. For the boss who can’t stop telling you about the punk band he used to play in, here’s a way to relive a little of his glory days. This guitar pick hole punch lets you turn anything into a guitar pick. At <a href=http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/e91b target="_blank">ThinkGeek.com</a>.
Mini Wooden Speaker ($32)
Music soothes the savage boss, right? This little speaker will let your boss enjoy his or her favorite music with just a little bit of a handcrafted feel. You’ll get credit for improving the mood at work, too. At <a href=http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/mini-wooden-speaker target="_blank">UncommonGoods.com</a>.
Handcrafted Chocolate (5 for $44)
Nothing makes the afternoon a little brighter than a good piece of chocolate. This craft chocolate handmade in Brooklyn is too expensive to justify splurging for your regular afternoon sugar fix. However, these beautifully wrapped bars will be greatly appreciated. Who knows, maybe your boss will even share. At <a href=http://mastbrothers.com target="_blank">Mast Brothers</a>.
Portable iPhone Charger ($35)
This will send your boss on a <i>rea</i>l power trip. This cool battery charger allows you to recharge an iPhone, iPad or iPod for an additional three hours while away from an outlet. It needs to be charged for three hours before taking it on the road for use as a backup. At <a href=http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/portable-iphone-charger target="_blank"> UncommonGoods.com</a>.
‘F’ in Exams ($9.95)
A nice way to say, “See, we’re not the only stupid ones.” A fun little book, called “F in Exams” reveals some of the more creative ways students have answered test questions. Surely your boss will see that you’re not such a dope after all. At <a href=http://store.mentalfloss.com/the-mental_floss-store/Books/F-in-Exams#.ULZm-4VrfE4 target="_blank">MentalFloss</a>.
Undercover Tablet Sleeve ($22.95)
Nothing will annoy your boss (and, therefore, make your day miserable) more than having a tablet stolen. This cute tablet case, made of durable foam and Tyvek, is camouflaged as a crumpled old mailing envelope. Not only will it keep your boss’s iPad safe, it also says, “Hey, I’ve got your back.” And, what boss doesn’t want to hear that? At <a href="http://www.perpetualkid.com/undercover-tablet-sleeve.aspx" target="_blank">Perpetual Kid</a>.
Sideview Mirror Purse Mirror ($15)
Sometimes, even the boss needs to check her teeth before heading to the next meeting, especially after a lunch. This cute mirror looks like the one on the side of your car and even expresses a little compliment in the form of a message that reads, “Objects in mirror are even more fabulous than they appear.” At <a href="http://www.funslurp.com/sideview-purse-mirror" target="_blank">Fun Slurp</a>.
Personalized Map Pencils ($15)
Even in the digital age, it’s nice to have a good pencil on hand. This set of six pencils is wrapped in beautifully colored maps and can be customized to bear a message of your choice. (Yes, the phrase “I need a raise” would be tacky.) At <a href=http://www.etsy.com/listing/106767916/personalized-map-pencils-for-travelers target="_blank">Etsy.com</a>.
Sky Umbrella ($48)
Everyone should keep a spare umbrella at the office for those days when it starts raining after you get to work, but most of us just never get around to keeping one in stock. This umbrella from the Museum of Modern Art Store is both eye-catching and practical. Besides, anything that makes the boss’s day a little easier will be good for you, too, right? At <a href=https://www.momastore.org/museum/moma/ProductDisplay_Tibor%20Kalman%20and%20EFM%20Sky%20Umbrella_10451_10001_12210_-1_11470_11470_12211?cm_sp=Homepage-_-Panel%201-_-Sky%20Umbrella%2020121128 target="_blank">MomaStore.org</a>.