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Thursday is National Boss's Day. Here's how to show your gratitude without breaking the bank.

3 minute read

Since its creation in 1958, there’s been one key question swirling around National Boss Day

How much do I really need to spend on someone who makes more money than I do?

Our suggestion — based on personal experience — is to chip in with your officemates. This has three advantages: There’s no competition to suck up, it’s cheaper on you, and you get to give something nicer with your combined contributions.

We suggest spending no more than $10 per person. So here are our ideas for employees in groups ranging from one to five…


1. One employee: Lemon balm plant

Price: $10 from Etsy

Studies show that the scent of lemon oil can improve your mood, and this plant is hardy enough to survive almost any office environment because it doesn’t need much sunlight. When life gives your boss lemons, at least he’ll be able to smell them.


2. Two employees: Wall-hanging fishbowl 

Price: $17 from Target

Save the valuable space on your boss’ desk with this acrylic fishbowl, which mounts on the wall and is less breakable than glass. If your boss isn’t a fish fan, use it for a decorative mini zen garden instead.


3. Three employees: Cheery day umbrella

Price: $24 from Great Lookz

For the boss who’s always borrowing your rain gear. This umbrella is the perfect way to chase away dreary-day blues. Black on the outside, it opens to reveal a cheerful blue sky with fluffy little clouds.

VistaQuest - 8" Digital Photo Frame - Espresso - Larger Front

4. Three employees: Digital photo frame

Price: $30 from Best Buy

There’s no reason that your boss has to stare at that same family photo from his or her 2003 Disney World trip. Upgrade their photo display with an auto-rotating slideshow of digital images. (If your boss is always asking you to fix his computer, you may have to provide technical assistance on this one.)


5. Four employees: Vibrating foot massager

Price: $35 from Sears

For the boss who’s always on her toes, this beaded, cushioned massager provides relief for aching feet. It can be stowed away under your boss’ desk, and comes with high and low intensity settings.


6. Four employees: Cube clock 

Price: $38 from MoMA

For the boss who’s always running behind. The coolest feature is the snap activation: Snap your fingers and the cube lights up to show the time, date, and temperature. The clock has three built-in alarms as well as a “dim” function, making everyone’s least favorite part of the day a little bit easier.


7. Five employees: Newton’s light-up cradle

Price: $50 from ThinkGeek

For the boss who’s always talking about maintaining momentum. ThinkGeek has a kinetic light-up version of Newton’s Cradle, complete with multicolored LEDs in each glass sphere.

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About the Author

Jess Miller

Jess Miller

Miller is the former assistant editor of

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