I understand that it is important in US for one to maintain good relationships with previous supervisors, professors, and managers in universities and companies, especially when the one had some up and down relations with some of them before, and might need good references.

Suppose that I have moved to a different place from my previous supervisors and managers.

What are some good ways to do that?

Is it good to mail a gift card and a holiday card to them?

Are gift cards generally acceptable to former supervisors and managers in US? If yes, what range for the money put in the gift card is good? Which is better, sending a physical gift card or an electronic gift card?

Is it tacky to mail a holiday card? Is sending a physical holiday card better than an electronic holiday card?

Is it a good idea to order a cake or a bunch of flower to their home or office?


  • 2
    You don't repair "up and down relations" with those you worked for with gifts at Christmas time. And Christmas cards don't make up for that either. Dec 8, 2016 at 7:22
  • 1
    Asked and answered before, see duplicate link.
    – Lilienthal
    Dec 8, 2016 at 8:00
  • 3
    @sleske Gifts are gifts, though I'll grant that you could say this question is actually about bribes instead.
    – Lilienthal
    Dec 8, 2016 at 8:51
  • 1
    You don't need to kiss up to ask for a reference. Kissing up creates an unfortunate perception of you. Dec 8, 2016 at 15:15
  • 1
    "how would you ask for a reference?" Same way you ask for directions. Make sure to say thank you. That's all. Dec 8, 2016 at 15:18

2 Answers 2


$0.00 is the appropriate amount. Just send the card with a personalized note inside.

You can offer to treat your former boss dinner if he's ever in your new area; anything beyond that is creepy at best. At worst, sending a physical gift or cash looks like a clumsy attempt at a bribe and can nuke your bridges behind you.


It depends on different paremeters:

What was your relationship with this person? just formal ( a card or an email should be enough) or friendy ( so you should know what he likes and buy a gift accordingly) or a mentor (in this case i would buy a more expensive gift). what do you expect in the future from this person can tell you how much money the gift can be.

Be carefull by using flowers, sometimes it can be perceive as sexist ( I am not saying it is sexist) or as a sexual proposition in order to get a date.

Where to send the gift: You need to be carefful how it can be noticed by other boss/manager you didn't send. If you send a big gift to a manager/teacher and the other manager/teacher on the same floor received nothing it can create jalousy and in some way be bad to you. So if it is a big gift better sent it at home, if it is a card better at the office.

If you leave a company, don't send a gift to just 1 person, you can send a big cake to all the member of your previous team.

For cakes and other food, don't prepare yourself something ( as it can be seen as supicious and a tentative of poisonning - there it is lot of angry people looking for vengence after a bad experence in the workplace), you should better make it a delevery from a famous food store/bakery.

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