What to buy your assistant for the holidays

Looking for the perfect gift for someone you manage? We’ve got you covered.

What to buy your assistant for the holidays
[Photo: Kira auf der Heide/Unsplash]

The holidays are the perfect time to pass along a thank-you gift to assistants or other people you manage. They work hard to make your life easier, and one of the most thoughtful ways to show your appreciation is to get them something you know they wouldn’t spring to purchase for themselves. The best gift is one that fits their personal tastes—but if you’re stumped, we’ve come up with some safe but thoughtful options that any assistant would be grateful to receive (as devised by the many former assistants on our staff). Just be careful: They’re so good, you may want to buy them for yourself too.


Corkcicle x Poketo Canteen
The team at Corkcicle (specialists in keeping your to-go beverages eco-friendly and cold) partnered with the L.A.-based artists and creatives at the too-cool brand Poketo to make drinking vessels that look like pieces of art. The bold graphics, slim profile, and unique shape add a little more fun to drinking water (or iced coffee, whatever). Plus, this canteen can keep beverages cold for 25 hours or hot for up to 12. ($35)

[Photo: courtesy of the Sill]
Pilea peperomioides
Say it with me: Everyone loves plants. They liven up even the blandest cubicle and can even lower stress. The Pilea peperomioides—also called the pancake or UFO plant—is known for its cute coin-shaped leaves. This extra small air cleaner is also pretty easy to take care of. All it needs is partial light and a good watering every 2-3 weeks. Six planter colors. ($26)

Ekobo Bento Lunch Box and Cutlery Set
For the worker bee who packs their lunch, stackable, storable bento boxes are the perfect way to tote meals and snacks—and in style. This cheery, colorful set is dishwasher-safe and tough enough to stand up to daily use—and for the eco-conscious, it will cut down on throwaway plastic containers and utensils. ($35)

[Photo: courtesy of Ultimate Ears]
Give your assistant the perfect gift for outside the office: a portable speaker. This one is dustproof, drop-proof, waterproof, and has a shockingly big sound—making it great for use at a desk, at home, in a park, at the beach, or anywhere an adventure might take it. It’s Bluetooth compatible and can be paired with other Wonderboom speakers to create the ultimate surround-sound experience—wherever you are. ($100)

Myrth Ceramics Porcelain Mug
These handcrafted mugs from Boston’s Myrth Ceramics are beautiful, durable (they’re microwave- and dishwasher-safe), and come in a variety of trendy colors. Pair one with a set of holiday teas or an artisan coffee blend for the gift of cozy, caffeinated afternoons all winter. ($46)


[Photo: courtesy of Everlane]
Everlane Twill Weekender Bag
This stylish Everlane Twill Weekender Bag will be a welcome surprise to any recipient ahead of hectic holiday travel. It’s gender neutral and just the right size to fit a few changes of clothes for a trip home for the holidays—and any other getaway they might want to escape to throughout the year. ($98)

Nordstrom Wool and Cashmere Scarf
Whether your office is business casual or casual-casual, a cashmere scarf is a necessary accessory as soon as the weather gets below 55 degrees. This supersoft Nordstrom basic comes in a variety of colors, from safe cream or black to of-the-moment lilac, poppy, or millennial pink, and it can be tucked into a coat or worn as a throw in chilly offices. ($99)

[Photo: courtesy of Paddywax]
Wabi Sabi Evergreen & Embers Candle
Fancy candles are the gift that everybody wants but nobody buys for themselves. Poured into gorgeous matte, ceramic bowls (that can be used for dining after your candle is burned!), this 12-ounce candle smells as good as it looks. Fragrance notes include pine, eucalyptus, smoked cedar, and patchouli. ($35)

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