solve your office gift shopping dilemmas with Staples

And now a word from a sponsor…

If you’re planning to give holiday gifts to colleagues this month and you’re stumped on what to get them, Staples has loads of fun and affordable options that you should consider!

You might think of Staples as your go-to place for office supplies, but they have great gifts as well – especially when it comes to office-appropriate gifts. For example, you could get these comfy Sony headphones ($20.99) for your coworker who gets annoyed by noise as she’s trying to work (or who annoys you when she plays music without headphones!). Or, here’s a Darth Vader USB flash drive ($12.99) for your Star-Wars-obsessed coworker. Or for the coworker who always joins you for Happy Hour, here’s a Refinery wooded whiskey barrel ($19.99) that says it will turn cheap booze into top-shelf liquor. (This is fascinating, and I want this.)

They also have an amazing number of old-timey toys and nostalgia gifts, like the original Silly Putty ($1.29) and this Collector’s Edition Slinky ($4.99), which would be especially good if you’re looking for smaller trinkets to keep things affordable. (And eeekk, Fashion Plates! Do any other children of the 1970s remember these? Those have nothing to do with office holiday gifts; I’m just excited to see them.)

Staples also has you covered however you like to shop, whether it’s in-person at their stores or buying online at (with free next-day shipping on orders over $49.99). And they have personalized cards and gifts, gift wrapping, and packing and shipping services so you can take care of everything at once … and then relax and spend more time on your couch sipping hot things.

As you’re shopping for gifts, keep these points in mind:

* Know your office! Most offices have a mix of gift-givers and non-gift givers, and you can do whatever you’re comfortable with. But it’s useful to know the general culture around gifts, especially if, for example, everyone else on your team exchanges gifts and you’ll feel awkward about not participating.

* Etiquette says you don’t need to get a gift for your boss, because gifts at work should flow downward, not upward.

* If you want to give gifts to other colleagues, it’s okay to keep it simple. Just stay away from gifts that are very personal, which tend not to be appropriate for work. A good rule is to stay away from gifts intended to be put on the recipient’s body, like clothes, jewelry, perfume, or lotion.

* Be thoughtful about what your recipient will truly appreciate. Don’t give wine to a non-drinker or a gift certificate to a steak restaurant to a vegetarian! (If you’re looking for clues about what someone might like, look at what they have displayed in their office or at their desk – there are often clues there.)

But really – Staples may be the solution to all of your office gifts needs this year. Check out their weekly ad for savings, and then shop in their stores or online for work-appropriate and budget-friendly gifts for colleagues this holiday season.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Staples. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Amber Rose

    Hilarious aside about Staples: I was trying to buy tweezers for the office first aid kits, and we looked at ordering them from Staples because we have an account there, but all we could find was a pack of 20 for like $80. Who needs this?

    Otherwise, I get a lot of stuff there. I get all my flyer printing done there too, since they have complimentary cutting services.

  2. A is for Anonymous

    So … you’re saying not to give gifts which are intended to be put on the recipient’s body, but you’re recommending headphones?

    1. The Other Dawn

      YESSS! I used to love them! However…I wasn’t very good at matching up the tops and bottoms, and matching colors. A problem I still struggle with today when trying to dress myself.

      1. JulieBulie

        I think the tops and bottoms were supposed to (theoretically) be totally interchangeable.

        Colors are trickier. I usually stick with a solid color for one piece, the other piece in a pattern that has just a little bit of that color. (But that’s mostly for Fashion Plates. For real clothing, it’s sometimes a miracle to get two pieces to match colors that well unless they’re a set.)

      2. Specialk9

        A trick I learned from Miss Mininalist was to choose colors that you could dress in the dark and still be ok. So only wear neutrals of one color family and color pops of your favorite 1-3 colors, that go with each other.

        Neutral: black, grey, white.
        Colors: turquoise/teal & crimson red.

        Neutral: greys
        Color: purple & berry

        Neutral: dark brown, olive green, & camel.
        Color: dark red, orange, mustard.

    2. So Very Anonymous

      I was OBSESSED with Fashion Plates. I whined so much about wanting them that my mom finally caved (though I do remember her yelling at me about the whining). And then I played with them CONSTANTLY. It was definitely a case of me knowing exactly what I wanted :)

    3. PlantLady

      I LOVED Fashion Plates! My parents bought me my very own ream of paper to go with my set so I’d stop stealing my mom’s typewriter paper for them. (Wow, did I just date myself or what?)

    4. Project Manager

      YES. My sister had them, and I was super jealous (I’m 6 yrs younger). I would still totally play with them today. Wish I had seen this earlier bc I already got my sister’s present. Oh well!

    5. carlie

      I looooooved my fashion plates. I remember it was a bit weird that the fashions were nothing anybody was wearing where I lived (or in my socio-economic class – tennis racquet? Does that go with the knee-high boots?) but man, I used the heck out of those. I don’t even know how many I made and colored. Now I wish I still had them.

    6. Lizzy Lifting Drink

      I was so excited to find Fashion Plates on Amazon a few years ago. I immediately got a set for my daughter, who actually enjoyed them as much as I used to.

  3. SarahKay

    Oh, fashion plates! My cousin had a set; I was very envious. Is it bad that as a 40-something I am tempted to buy a set now?

      1. SarahKay

        Actually, that’s a fabulous idea as a gift for my sister; I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one eyeing my cousin’s set enviously when we were kids. Thank you :)

    1. The Other Dawn

      You should definitely buy them now. There are lots of things i wanted as a kid and never got because I was kid #5 and my parents just couldn’t afford it. Or they felt I didn’t need it, such as the Barbie dream house.

        1. PlantLady

          There was an Etch-a-Sketch at my grandparent’s house I could play with, so I never got my own, but what I really wanted (and also never got) was a Big Wheel. I was so envious of the kids in my neighborhood, showing off those handbrake turns. :(

          1. JulieBulie

            The Big Wheel was the greatest thing ever, until the Green Machine came along. Now that was one bitchin’ hunk of plastic.

        2. Be the Change

          LOVED Sit & Spin. If I tried it now it would be Spin & Puke.

          But what I really, really loved was the bouncy ball, the one that you sit on and bounce up and down. They have ’em for adults, it’s a heck of a cardio workout! …and I bet they don’t have ’em for kids any more because of fear of falling and bashing heads on the floor.

          1. Elsajeni

            My husband briefly had a yoga ball to sit on at work, and his one complaint was that they wouldn’t let him get one with the Hippity Hop handles so he could bounce it down the hall to get coffee.

        3. Arjay

          Mine were a Glo-Worm and a Lite Brite, both of which my best friend gave me as an adult. My mom was terrified that the Lite Brite was some sort of Pinto-like fire hazard, unsafe at any wattage.

    2. JulieBulie

      I bought a set last year (at age 49) because 1) they were originally for my niece but I realized she was too old for them, and 2) I never had them as a kid so I decided to try them out.

      Then I remembered that I never enjoyed coloring very much. But it was still a fun way to kill an afternoon (when I had much better things to do), and then I gave it to my neighbor.

    3. Adlib

      We killed entire afternoons with our neighborhood friends just doing fashion plates!

      So many good toys back then: Skip-It, pogo ball…ah, childhood.

  4. BoardPrez

    I once brought silly putty and a slinky to a Hanukkah party for the gift exchange portion of the evening. I remember thinking it was so cool that I found them and wasn’t it a clever gift for that type of thing. Fast forward to me seeing the look of utter disgust on the guy who opened my gift. Turns out EVERYONE at the party got the memo to bring booze as a gift exchange item and I was the loser who brought toys :(

      1. JulieBulie

        Booze all by itself, maybe. But add an Etch-a-Sketch, a Slinky, and some Silly Putty, and then you’ve got a real party!

        I think Staples has that Atari many-games thing. Honestly, in the 21st century those games might seem better with booze.

      1. copy run start

        Me too! Not everyone can drink booze or enjoys booze. I’m actually considering Silly Putty as my office gift. Or maybe Play-Doh. Legos?!

  5. E

    Buy your coworker a Rocketbook Everlast and a set of Pilot Frixion pens. Happy coworker with all the colored pens and erasable notebook pages so that they can keep all their to-do lists updated. :)

  6. All Hail Queen Sally

    Just got back from spending over $40 at Staples today before seeing this note. I like to shop at my Staples because they have the nicest and friendliest sales people.

  7. Greg M.

    *gets home*
    ah, now that work is over I can forget about it for a couple days before dealing with Christmas customers again on Monday.
    *checks blogs*

  8. Media Circus

    Spouse and I have done the mini whiskey barrel thing (albeit from a local distillery). I wouldn’t say that the results were exactly “top shelf”, but it was really interesting and we had a lot of fun with it! I’d like to pull it out and try other experiments with it next year.

  9. Specialk9

    I like Staples because they win all kinds of environmental awards. They are rockstars in the warehouse world for the recycling standard they’ve set for the industry. I’ll admit, that kind of thing wins my loyalty.

  10. Anna

    The whisky barrel is lined with plastic. It won’t “age” anything, because there’s no contact between the wood and the alcohol. At best, it’s an interesting looking decanter. At worst, depending on what you put in it, mold will grow because you’ll have sugar sitting in a container that isn’t air tight.

  11. JeanLouiseFinch

    It’s great that one can get desk toys at Staples. My 2 go-to places for desk toys are Think Geek, where my daughter got me an Annoy-a-tron and Archie McPhee, where I got my boss’s secretary a “killer unicorn” toy with a toy boss to poke the horn into. I totally recommend the Annoy-a-tron.

    1. Adlib

      We recently got a ThinkGeek retail store in my city! I haven’t been yet as that particular mall is God-forsaken, but maybe someday long after Christmas, I’ll get over there. There’s always the internet. :)

  12. kible

    The amount of random things that Staples gets is pretty amazing, especially around holiday season. I used to work at one (omg) and we’d even get some major video games.


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