Before buying a holiday present for your intern, (it should go without say, but…) it is first important to find out whether or not your intern believes in dear ol’ Santa, spins the dreidal or neither of the above. A bad present couldn’t be as bad as buying your intern a present for a holiday they most definitely do not celebrate. If you don’t know (and are too chicken to ask), then get them an end of the year present, don’t assume they are one or the other (because when you assume, you make an @$$ out of u and me). In the office, interns can be just as hard to buy a present for as your boss. You don’t want to overthink it, you don’t want to offend anyone and you most definitely don’t want to spend loads of money. Whether it’s your intern, or anyone else, the best gift to buy is one that they will use and suits their lifestyle — one that shows you pay them enough attention to pick up on some of the small things.
Does your intern show up with a cup o’ Joe in his hand every morning without fail? Does he come back from lunch with another cup in hand? There’s nothing wrong with getting your intern something you know they will use no matter where they go next semester. Grab a gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks (or that little coffee shop on the corner that you know they frequent). Want to snaz up the gift card? Present it in a coffee mug (because no coffee addict can have too many mugs). You can pick the mug up in the store when you get the card, or better yet, give them a company mug from your office so they never forget you.
For the bookworm
Did your intern keep their nose deep in a good book every day during lunch? Did they fill their commute with a new novel every other day? Or even if they are just headed back to college to take classes next semester, get them a Barnes & Noble gift card. This allows them to continue reading the latest best sellers even after the paychecks (if they’re even getting paid) keep coming. And even if it’s just for classes, more than 600 university bookstores are run by Barnes & Noble and they can put the money towards books for class, because we all know that books are becoming all too expensive these days.
For the fashionista
Gift card to their favorite store, or at least one that suits their look. There’s no need to buy the preppy kid a gift card to Quiksilver or to buy the hipster a gift card to Eddie Bauer. Even with stringent dress codes at work, your intern has probably shown a flare of their real dress (especially if you are their Facebook friend or if you have casual Fridays). Everyone needs clothes, and if your intern spends every lunch break shopping in the nearby stores for new threads, why not help put some money towards it.
For the music lover
What music lover doesn’t like live music? If your intern is a music lover, then grab a Ticketmaster gift card. Or tickets to their favorite band who just happens to be playing in the new club next week. If tickets are too pricey for your budget, get an iTunes gift card for them. Every music lover (especially those who cannot live without their iPhones) loves free music off iTunes, maybe not free for you, but it’s free for them.
For the one you don’t know what to buy
There is always that intern who keeps to themselves, is quiet and doesn’t let anyone in. Whether they are a natural introvert, or they just don’t seem to have many friends in the office, they still deserve something. If you are out of ideas, you can always get them a nice bottle of wine. (Keep in mind, the legal drinking age in the US is 21, so this only applies to the older interns.) Plenty of us are guilty of giving alcohol as our “fallback” gift when we are lacking ideas, or time to get a better present. Plus who knows, maybe your intern is really a wine coinsurer outside the office.
Don’t forget if their internship is coming to an end as the holidays draw near and the semester closes, you want to leave a lasting impression with your interns. Some sort of company memorabilia could always be thrown in with your holiday gift.
What was the best gift you ever gave to your intern? And what was the best gift you got as in intern?