The 6 BEST (and Worst) Personalized Gifts for Bosses

By Daniel Whitehouse

corporate Gift pens for bosses

The 6 BEST (and Worst) Personalized Gifts for Bosses

By Daniel Whitehouse

Personalized gifts are, without a doubt, one of the best ways to show appreciation to your hardworking bosses.

Why? Because it strengthens your personal and professional relationship with them. It shows that you didn’t just go out of your way to buy a gift. You also went the extra mile to think about them as an individual and as a mentor figure.

That’s something that no mass-produced gift off a retail shelf can offer.

While there are many terrific personalized gifts you can give your boss, you should be wary of some bad ones as well.

Assuming that your company culture fosters a healthy gift-giving culture, you probably won’t get fired by giving these “bad” gifts. But it may leave a sour taste in your boss’s mouth, even if you had good intentions.

So, mind your etiquette.

Here we’ll give you a glimpse of the best personalized gift items to give to your bosses. Additionally, we’ll also list the ones that are best avoided. Let’s begin!

Good Gift #1 - Engraved Pens

An engraved pen makes for a fantastic tool to give to your boss. The versatility, functionality, and sharp looks make it one of the best personalized gifts out there. A professional pen also comes in a range of prices, from wallet-friendly rates to top-of-the-line luxurious price tags.

Looking for some good and affordable customizable pens? Here are some fantastic ones that your boss can enjoy:

From rollerballs to fountain pens, you’re brimming with unique gift options that are sure to suit your boss’s needs.

Bad Gift #1 - Cheap Jewelry

Sure, buy your boss a branded Bvlgari or a Tiffany & Co. necklace. But if you’re looking for a simple and affordable gift, you may be enticed to scour online retailers for a discount brooch or earrings for your boss.

Stop right there. Unfortunately, that idea may fall flat. Not only do these knock-off jewelry pieces lack in the quality department, but they also have high levels of unsafe chemicals in them, notably lead, chromium, and nickel.

Having said that, the good ones tend to fall under the more expensive side. So, you’re typically better off looking the other way, lest you don’t mind splurging.

Good Gift #2 - Desktop Clock

Woodmark Stinson desk set

With a glossy and gorgeous piano wood finish, a desk clock accentuates a sense of professionalism and high class. With its own custom nameplate and two pen stands, this gift is perfect for bosses who’ve performed beyond expectations when mentoring and handling their respective teams.

Product Features:

  • Wood set with clock and two gold-plated pens
  • Golden custom nameplate against a black finish

Bad Gift #2 - Lingerie

Giving lingerie to your boss is an inappropriate idea, plain and simple. It denotes a relationship beyond work and is suggestive, embarrassing, and extremely unprofessional. If your boss is particularly irritable, they’d have no problem escalating the act to the HR department too.

Play it safe and give work-related gifts to your boss. If any prying eye finds out, nasty, unproductive gossip could spiral as well. Trust us; it’s not worth it.

Good Gift #3 - Customized Name Plate

custom name plate

Looking to give your boss something extra special? Nothing gets more personalized than a custom name plate. A rosewood name plate with custom engravings is a great item that beams professionalism and reverence for everyone to see.

Some name plates come with added features, too; this Rosewood name plate comes with a business card holder and a beautiful black plate.

Product features:

  • Rosewood finish wooden wedge
  • Beautiful gold engravings against a black finish

Bad Gift #3 - Expired Food

Food and snacks are great gifts. A box of Belgian chocolates, crusty and oven-toasted pizza, souvenir dried fruit from the tropics—all these make for a swell gift to give your boss.

But be absolutely certain that the food you’re giving is still fresh and edible before handing it over. You may be tempted to give some old packaged food from the holidays, for example, only for it to have expired days or weeks before.

It’s easy to overlook the expiration date of the item, so get it right the first time!

Good Gift #4 - Custom Stuffed Animals

Want to give something soft and easy to carry around? A stuffed toy is a great gift item you can send to your boss. Many online stores offer custom stuffed animal services to get the perfect one for you, all with the specific modifications.

From color to size to body type, the options for your stuffed animal idea are near limitless.

Bad Gift #4 - Anything Scented

I have a firm policy that this also includes scented soaps, lotions, candles, etc.

The products people like to use and the scents they prefer are incredibly personal. Nobody wants a surprise Cotton Candy Apple Candle. It is awkward to have to smell a gift that makes your nose tickle in a bad way and then have to smile and says "wow I had no idea glistening frost smelled like that!".

Now, that being said, if you know your boss loves a certain brand of candle or a particular brand of hand sanitizer then there are always exceptions to the rules. 

To keep things safe and amicable, give a safe office gift that can be placed on a desk.

Good Gift #5 - Custom Artwork

Do you reckon yourself as a talented artist or painter? Or a woodworker?

Depending on your craft and proficiency, you can spend a couple of hours creating custom-made gifts for your boss. You can draw an image of their likeness, or one of a show they enjoy. These are great gift ideas if you’re running on a tight budget!

Bad Gift #5 - Prank Items

Sure, your pals back at the bar would love these prank gifts. Send your friends your gag toys and worm-in-a-cans.

But for your boss, it’s a whole different story. It’s important to maintain a professional relationship. This means restricting your gift ideas to things that’ll highlight work successes, triumphs, and prosperity. And, to be frank, a poop toy doesn’t even come close to falling under that category.

Good Gift #6 - Customizable Padfolio

Dayspring Pens A4 Leather Padfolio & Pen Set GP-1482

Does your boss love good old-fashioned note-taking? If they’re a notorious note-taker, this is one gift you can send their way! This product comes in a variety of different color palettes, namely gold on black, black on brown, and gold on brown. 

Whether your boss is celebrating a promotion or you just want to reward them for their hard work, a padfolio is a spectacular item that they’re sure to adore.

Product Features:

  • 7 x 9 inch
  • Comes with a folder sleeve and business card holder
  • Pen loop on the inner spine
  • Comes with free logo stitching and personalization
  • Ships with replaceable pad paper

Buy the Customizable Leatherette Padfolio.

Bad Gift #6 - A Pet

Have you ever heard your boss express their grievances over a lost pet? Or their desire for one?

Though a dog or cat definitely seems extreme, sometimes the temptation can arise for a fish or an ant farm.

My aunt has received at least two living creatures, given with best intentions (the person thought my little cousin would love having a Beta fish and then also love raising caterpillars to see them transform into butterflies. The end result...a dead fish and my aunt having to bring a giant net of cocooned Monarch butterflies on a road trip to the family beach house so they wouldn't be trapped in the net when they hatched...)

In general, offering a pet as a gift can do more harm than good. What if your boss can’t take care of it? What if they already adopted another furry fellow a few days ago?

A pet is not a one-and-done gift, it requires constant attention and care. It’s a responsibility, and you may even be adding extra stress to your boss by giving them that little puppy.

Want to Browse for More Gift Ideas? Find Them at Dayspring Pens!

At Dayspring Pens, we have a wide variety of amazing gifts for your boss. From pens to clocks to stationary, a premium selection of corporate gifts awaits you.

We also offer customization services to each of our products. Ask us to sprinkle a touch of individuality in your item, and we’ll do it right before we ship it to you!

Have a gift you want to send out? Order and craft your individual message easily on any product on our store page.


Daniel Whitehouse is the President and CEO of Dayspring Pens. He uses his expertise with premium writing utensils to create exceptional, intentional products and craft easy-to-understand articles that help both new and experienced users learn more about their writing tools. He lives in Virginia where he and his wife are raising their four children.

To learn more about him and his insights about custom engraved gift pens, follow Daniel on LinkedIn.


@PAT WALKER Thanks for the feedback! Can you tell me where you are seeing that misspelling? I’d love to fix any mistakes/typos in my our articles!

Samantha Di Nardo

The word Chief is misspelled (Cheif). Really? Who writes this stuff.

Pat Walker

This article is terrible. Hygiene products? Why would anybody do that? A PET? Really? who picked this stuff.


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