I live in The Netherlands, so I'm not sure if the same practice is also in the US (or other countries). But here, generally around Christmas time, it's typical for the employer to give Christmas packages as a "gift" to employees for Christmas. That's fine, but the packages I've got from this employer the last 2 years contain items that 9 times out of 10 I don't need/want, and I give them away to my friends.. now I'm not at a high income atm, I was wondering if it is OK for me to ask my employer to, instead of giving me a Christmas package, give me the value in cash, or a gift card, that I can select items that I need? Would that be too rude to do? (After all, he doesn't have to give us a Christmas package).. Or would it be reasonable (my income is below minimum wage)?

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    If your income is below minimum wage, you might ask yourself if it is reasonable to work there at all.
    – Brandin
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 17:25
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    @Brandin my income is below minimum wage, but that is because I can't work fulltime yet.. my income per hour is semi-reasonable I think
    – AJ_
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 17:51
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    I don't think anyone can answer this without knowing your company's culture. I would point out that the company may be getting gifts at a discount, so the case equivalent may be less than you expect.
    – keshlam
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 19:37
  • Im in the US and I wouldn't think that is appropriate. At some companies I've worked for, we voted for what the company would give us, and at another we either got something or we didn't. I would feel that if you asked for money instead, it would seem like you don't appreciate their gesture of kindness. But again, it would depend on your company culture there. On another note, you could always try to sell the things they give you, just try not to let any co-workers know about it. Politics and all. Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 19:46
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    My point is that the answer may differ from company to company, so your best approach would be to enquire there rather than asking us. Our answers may not apply to you.
    – keshlam
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 1:07

2 Answers 2


It's not appropriate to stipulate what you want as a gift of this sort. If you get an Xmas bonus that is a totally different scenario. But a gift is totally up to the giver and should be accepted (good or bad) in the spirit in which it is given.

You can always ask, but it's not the 'right' thing to do.

I get lots of things that are useless to me, mostly alcohol (I don't drink), but I thank the giver respectfully and keep any disappointment to myself.

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    I hadn't thought of it this way.. thanks for the feedback
    – AJ_
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 8:24
  • Also note that things that are useless to you can be used as gifts, offerings or products to sell to others.
    – Jonast92
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 16:13

It is extremely rude to refuse or express distaste with a gift that is given in good faith and is not a dishonor to you.

With any honest gift, the thing to do is to make the best use of it that you can.

If the gift is trashy, thoughtless or is a "joke" gift, then just privately throw it away.

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