Buying the boss a holiday gift … smart move or career fail?

Office gift-giving can be tricky, particularly if you're considering giving your boss a gift during the holiday season. Holiday gift-giving in the workplace can be awkward, especially if you are a new employee and unsure of what to buy or if you even should give a gift. There are no business-etiquette guidelines that suggest you have to give a gift to your boss, but there are some approaches you can take to help you decide if a gift is appropriate. The first thing you should do is check the office gift-giving policies. Large corporations most likely will have guidelines to follow. Smaller employers usually have no policies, and that’s where guessing becomes part of gift-giving decisions. How much you spend on a gift is a decision is another consideration, and a couple of factors need to come into play here, including how well you know your boss and your financial situation. The stronger your relationship with your boss, the more likely you will know their interests. Gifts do not have to be expensive to have meaning, however refrain from buying a cheap gift just to have something to give. If you decide you want to give your boss a gift, make sure you are not motivated by a desire to look good or make up for mediocre job performance. Gift-giving should spring from a desire to show appreciation. It’s often easier to approach gift-giving as a group decision. If members of your work team pitch in to buy the boss a gift, it can feel less awkward. If finances are an issue, combining your contribution with those of coworkers can be the way to go, but don’t pressure colleagues into giving the same amount. Although it may appear every team member is in the same boat financially, looks can be deceiving. Suggest a range of giving, such as $5–10 per person. Many times,  the awkwardness of office gift-giving comes from the manner in which the gift is given. For example, don’t be the one in your department to outspend everyone else. This can Continue Reading

The Kitchen & Home Holiday Gifts You Can’t Wait to Take for a Spin in 2018

Hana Asbrink, provided by Published 5:30 am, Friday, January 5, 2018 Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 The Kitchen & Home Holiday Gifts You Can't Wait to Take for a Spin in 2018 1 / 1 Back to Gallery Happy new year! (We can still say that on the 5th of January, right?) By now, the tree's likely been turned to mulch, the lights have been taken down, and the ornaments have been carefully stored away for another year. If you were good—or just good to yourself!—you may now be in possession of some fun new toys for your kitchen and home, too. We asked our Food52 community what kitchen and home goodies they received over the holidays. From little kitchen helpers to gadgets worthy of a weekend project, they ran the gamut. Think of it as our version of Show & Tell, with (in some cases), a delicious outcome at the end! LATEST SFGATE VIDEOS Now Playing: Now Playing Officer-involved shooting outside West Oakland BART station sends two to hospital sfgate How big waves find Bay Area beaches sfgate SF's Boxing Room makes New Orleans cocktails sfgate 300 people plunge into Ocean Beach sfgate Recreational+cannabis SFGate Man sought in early-morning sexual assault and robbery sfgate Opening day for legal marijuana sales in Humboldt sfgate A beginner's guide to recreational marijuana sfgate What are 'Spare the Air' days? sfgate SFPD search for suspect wearing a Santa hat and armed with handgun in the Tenderloin sfgate PHIL: I got a sous vide cooker. Looking to try it out for New Year's. Trying to figure out what to start with, maybe salmon or shrimp. AntoniaJames: Santa, with help from well-informed family members, found a number of useful items that I need, in these roundups, including the pie docking tool, a stocking stuffer, really. It's one of those items that made me wonder why I didn't own one sooner. More than for any gift, however, I am most grateful for Continue Reading

Ortiz: Cardinals’ resolve to get better is the perfect holiday gift

John Mozeliak has been so busy stocking and reshaping the roster lately, he can be forgiven for being a tad behind on his Christmas shopping, so the Cardinals’ president of baseball operations made some time to shop for gifts Saturday morning. Then he headed back to his office at Busch Stadium to work for a few hours, capping an extremely productive week for a Cardinals organization tired of finishing behind the rival Cubs and, even worse, out of the playoffs the last two years. Just a week ago, it appeared as though the Cubs had continued to stay ahead of the Cardinals. That argument isn’t as easy to make anymore. Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., Mozeliak and general manager Michael Girsch have delivered a clear message to their fans and the rest of the National League Central that they’re serious about regaining their spot atop the division standings. Moreover, Cardinals fans can find more optimism in the fact that Mozeliak isn’t done. A closer still needs to be on the wish list. It’s impossible to grade the Cardinals’ offseason because there’s no doubt that they’ll still make at least one more important addition. We say that with the same certainty we had a month ago when we declared that DeWitt and Mozeliak had a true sense of urgency this winter. The Cardinals deserve an ‘A’ for their winter shopping with a potential for a clear ‘A+’ if they land an elite closer or pull off a blockbuster move for a starting pitcher or for Manny Machado. If the Hot Stove League were compared to Christmas gift exchanges, you could say DeWitt’s organization should be pleased with their returns. • CARDS TALK: Sound off about offseason moves With Marcell Ozuna’s addition, the Cardinals improved the offense enough to make a good argument that their lineup is just as formidable as any other in the NL Central. Yes, that includes the Cubs’ impressive lineup, anchored by All-Stars Continue Reading

What to get the foodie in your life? Louisville chefs weigh in on the perfect holiday gift

Last year may have been the year of the Instant Pot, but if you're looking for THE kitchen gadget this year, the options are overwhelming. So if you're shopping for the food lover in your life – or looking for a goodie for your own kitchen – why not turn to an expert for ideas?We asked 11 Louisville chefs for their wish list picks, and there's something in here for every budget, ranging from stocking stuffer to rule the Nice List. Happy shopping – and cooking!Kevin Ashworth, 610 Magnolia, 610 W. Magnolia Ave. Two of my favorite kitchen tools are the mandolin and the Swiss peeler. They are both great gifts because both of them are fairly cheap and every cook needs a sharp one. I go through three to four Japanese mandolins a year, because I always just end up giving them to one of my cooks that needs one or needs a sharp one. They can range from $25-$35 dollars on are great for precise cuts over and over and over.. My other favorite tool is the Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peeler. I always have three to four in my arsenal and I also give one to my cooks every Christmas. Another tool that is best used sharp and very cheap.Austin Cummins, Commonwealth Cure, 108 E. BroadwayThe kitchen gadget I can’t live without, besides my knife, is my meat grinder, an old Hobart. Making anything from burger patties to a quick breakfast sausage, my grinder does wonders for helping me change up my meals with a quick button push.Second would be my small VacMaster vacuum chamber sealer for packaging and food preservation. This thing has preserved so many items for me, it’s been huge. On the hunt for Pappy Van Winkle?  You have until Dec. 9 to enter the Kroger lottery Meghan Levins, Monnik, 1036 E. Burnett Ave. I would say my pressure cooker is the most used thing at home and recommend them to everyone (we even have one at Monnik). But considering how cheap circulators are now, my money is on sous Continue Reading

Holiday gift guide for video gamers: This year is all about next-gen console games

This Christmas and Chanukah, it’s all about the games. About time, right? For the last two years it was a series of new consoles — first the Nintendo Wii U and then the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One — stealing all of the holiday video game buzz. And oh, these new systems were powerful, but they were pricey, too. Thankfully, in 2014, the focus has once again returned to the games that play on those consoles in the first place, with a flood of terrific releases that hit every demographic, from hardcore gamers to casual players to folks who are always on the go. There’s something for just about everyone this Christmas, but hey, Call of Duty isn’t for everyone. So here’s our handy breakdown to help you sort through all the advertising and hype and super-cheap (but often overrated) deals before the whole Black Friday rush: FOR THE KID WHO JUST TALKS TO HIS HEADSET It’s a good year for multiplayer shooters. There’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and it’s easily one of the franchise’s best games in years, featuring sublime visuals and plenty of new futuristic toys to play with via the Exo-Suit. There’s no direct competition from EA this year with the delay of Battlefield: Hardline, but there is a Battlefield 4: Premium Edition this holiday. Essential? No, but priority positioning on crowded servers and five included expansion packs are a nice perk for trigger-happy gamers. The wars of the future, however, are where the fun really is this year, which is why Bungie’s Destiny should be atop every holiday Christmas list. It’s a sublime futuristic shooter, with a style that’s equal parts Star Wars and Mass Effect, a game with lasting replay value for years to come. It’s best on the PlayStation 4, so keep that in mind. Speaking of Bungie, Microsoft delivers Halo: The Master Chief Collection this holiday, a compilation of all four Halo games starring John-117. Continue Reading

Free & Cheap New York: Where to go and what to do around the city for the week of Dec. 2, 2012

WINTER WONDERLAND . Bundle up and grab some hot chocolate on your way to the Holiday Lighting in Central Park. See the lighting of the Dana Center and the trees that line the Harlem Meer. Take photos with Santa, sing along to Christmas carols from the Original Dickens Carolers, and watch Okamoto Studio carve an ice sculpture. 4:30-5:30 p.m. Free. Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, Central Park at 110th St. (212) 860-1370. HAIRY HOLIDAY. Celebrate the Festival of Lights at Hershel’s Hairy Hanukkah event. Storytelling duo Play Me a Story will put on a show featuring puppets, lively klezmer music and a chance for kids to take part in the festivities. 10:30 a.m. Free. Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place. (646) 437-4202. AUTUMN LEAVES. Enjoy the remaining beauty of fall foliage during the Garden and Conservatory Walk at Wave Hill. Join park rangers for an hour-long tour of seasonal highlights. 2-3 p.m. $8 Perkins Visitors Center, W. 249th St., Bronx. (718) 549-3200. THE GIFT OF GIVING . The Little Marc Jacobs store looks to spread early holiday cheer at the Milk and Bookies event, which seeks to enlighten young children about giving back while they enjoy a good book. Kids can choose a book to donate or buy new ones and feel great about giving. Books to buy will be available along with arts and crafts, milk and cookies and other fun activities. Noon-3 p.m., 298 W. Fourth St. (212) 206-6644. WREATH-ING ROOM. Get in the holiday spirit at the Wreathmaking Workshop. Make an evergreen wreath to hang on the door and enhance your holiday decor. Supplies will be provided, just bring garden shears. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $20. Queens County Farmhouse, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park. (718) 347-3276. TRAILBLAZE . Jump-start your morning with a vigorous Fitness Hike. Join the Urban Park Rangers for a hike through Alley Pond Park’s hills and rugged terrain. Strap on your hiking boots and pack water and a snack. 11 a.m. Free. Alley Pond Park Adventure Continue Reading

A complete guide for holiday gift-giving

The holiday season is here and there are only a few more weeks to purchase gifts for your loved ones.Don't fret! We have compiled a gift-giving list just for you.1. Buy-local ideas for kidsIn the market for a kid's gift for the holidays? Carmichael’s Kids in the Highlands is the perfect antidote to big-box-store madness. The cozy Highlands shop has an eclectic selection of toys, books, kits and crafts. From board games to puppets, there’s something for the young and young at heart at 1313 Bardstown Road. Find local ideas for kids here.2. Cookbooks for the everyday chefThose fascinated with where their food comes from or how to sharpen their cooking skills have plenty of options for cookbooks. Here are five cookbook options that stand out as prime choices for treasured gifts.3. Locally hand-crafted ornamentsForget the made-in-China ornaments this year. Pick something different and made locally by artists who infuse them with their own charm. Here are five sources for ornaments by local artists.4. Men's luxury grooming products Guys, there's nothing wrong with trying to look pretty, even if it is kind of a long shot. And that means being open to using some decent products; that bar of Irish Spring is only going to get you so far. Here are five ideas for men's luxury grooming products.5. Kentucky-themed products You won't find a single race horse or bourbon bottle in this group of Kentucky-born gifts. Instead, we looked for items which offer a subtle nod to the Bluegrass state that makes great gifts to send to out-of-town friends and family or to enjoy here at home. Find the Kentucky-themed gift ideas here.6. Local items for coffee fiends If you give the gift of coffee, you'll want some items to go with it. Here are five suggestions from your favorite local shops. Grab a few to share with friends and family this holiday season.7. Gifts from cheap to pricey for your music nerd Here's a Christmas gift guide Continue Reading

Consumer Reports rates the best Valentine’s Day boxes of chocolate for holiday gifting

If your love is like a box of chocolates, you don’t want it to be cheap and stale. This Valentine’s Day, Consumer Reports has taken some o the guessing out of the sweet gifting game by rating the best boxes for artistry, taste and price. Tasters ranked Norman Love Confections Signature Gift Box ($49) as a top pick for its unusal but delicious fillings, like key lime and peanut butter and jelly. Woodhouse’s 48 piece assortment is pricey ($90) but Cosumer Reports gushed over the “smooth flavors” of mint and cinnamon toast “explode” in your mouth. Christopher Elbow’s 21 piece collection was the least expensive at $40 a box but ranked high for its wild flavors like caramel and rosemary and balsamic vinegar. Other heavenly bites included boxes by Jaques Torres, LA Burdick, Fran’s and La Maison du Chocolat. For last minute chocolate buyers, tasters recommended Godiva Gold Ballotin box of 36 chocolates for a sweet, traditional take. They also ranked boxes by See’s, Ferrero and Leonidas as good options. Consumer Reports didn’t care for many selections from top chocolate brands. Skip the Hershey’s Pot of Gold Premium, Russell Stover Assorted Fine Chocolates, Whitman’s Sampler and the Lindt Classics. Tasters found the flavors in those to be “chalky,” “hard,” and “gritty.” Don’t assume priciest is the best either. Richart Petits Collection Intense Ballotin may cost an eye-popping $8.38 an ounce but the flavors hardly stood up to it’s cheaper but tastier rivals. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Cheap, last minute holiday gifts for the 99%!

Christmas became a legal National Holiday in 1874 when President Ulysses S. Grant signed it into law in 1870. It was not until 1894 that Christmas Day was a day off from work. Before then if you were a factory worker in NYC, it was just another 12-hour day. Rather than the raid the malls and trample the elderly, I prefer to make many of my holiday gifts and decorations. Here are some last minute, cheap ideas for the 99 %: Top your tree with a star: My husband's 101-year-old grandmother is crazy for George Clooney. Of course she is, she still has two eyes and a pulse. I made her a George Clooney  Christmas tree topper. I cut up a sturdy piece of silver cardboard in a star shape and glued a photo of Mr. Clooney in the center. Her tree is the talk of the assisted living center. Ornamental libations: One year I collected a bunch of tiny, airplane sized bottles of Chartreuse Liquor and tied the bottle with red ribbons and decorated the tree. Taking down the tree is not such a let down after New Years when you get to drink the ornaments. DIY booze: A pal gave me a cookbook published by the Memphis Junior League and it has a great recipe for homemade coffee liquor. I recommend wrapping each in ribbons and serving to guests in cheap flasks. I found a few for under $2 on Coffee Liqueur 6 cups of sugar In a large saucepan, mix the sugar, 6 cups of water and the coffee and bring to a slow boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hours, so the sugar and coffee dissolve and concentrate. Remove from the head and let cool. Add the vodka and vanilla and stir well. Pour into flasks. Happy Holidays to the 99 %! Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

How to get the most out of your holiday gifts

The biggest gift-giving days of the year packed your pockets with all the latest gadgets and gizmos. Now what? Here are some tips to get the most mileage from your new tech toys.No matter what digital device you found under the tree, there’s a good chance it’s not fully up to date with the latest software and security features. Grab that shiny new phone, laptop, tablet, or camera and head into the settings menu in search of the latest update. Some gadgets, like phones and computers, automatically alert you when a new update is available, but not always, so it pays to double check.This habit is a hard one to break, but it’ll pay off in the long run. Toss those disposable coppertops and go the rechargeable route. Six or seven years ago when they first hit the market, rechargeable batteries were way too expensive to consider as an option. That's changed. You can score a 16-pack of these never-say-die batteries for $25.99 on Amazon, and recharging them is as simple as plugging them into cheap charging dock.That new smartphone or tablet you have on the coffee table probably has more app logins than you expected, so keep privacy and security top of mind and take the time to install a password manager like 1Password or LastPass. These handy little tools keep all your passwords safe and encrypted, and auto-fills them whenever you need, so you don’t have to memorize a dozen different combinations just to keep hackers at bay. Both are free to try and premium plans are as little as $1 per month, which is a small price to pay for the ultimate safety net.Don’t let a malfunctioning gadget or impossible-Bluetooth-pairing get you down. If you’re having any issues with a digital device, from an iPhone to an electric grill, Google is your friend. Everyone is quick to call tech support, but what makes Google so great is that if you’re having a problem right now, there’s a good chance someone else already had that problem before and Continue Reading