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National boss day is celebrated on October 16th every year. It's a chance to show your deep appreciation for all the mentorship, flexible schedules, constructive criticism and shout-outs that made you better at your job. We have appreciation days for friends, teachers, police, nurses and everyone who makes a difference in our lives, so why not have one for the bosses?

The tradition can be traced back to Patricia Bays Haroski of Illinois, who worked as her father's secretary in 1958. She got the idea to create a holiday to celebrate extraordinary bosses and chose her father's birthday, October 16th, as the day. In 4 years, it was a holiday in Illinois, USA; in two decades, it was celebrated across many countries. In this article, we go a bit into national boss day and give you 20 ideas on making it special.

Importance of national boss day

The importance of a gratitude culture is well understood across all organizations. People love being recognized for good work, and bosses are no exception. They significantly impact the teams and their performance by creating a work atmosphere that is conducive to productivity and growth.

When things don't go as planned, the bosses are always there to take ownership, and great boss always takes the heat off their teams to keep things functional. Recognition and appreciation are, therefore, just as important for bosses to keep going as it is for the rest of the employees.

20 ways to celebrate national boss day

Here are 20 ideas to show your boss how special they are this national boss day:

1. Give a thoughtful gift

As the name suggests, a thoughtful gift has plenty of deep thought behind it that tells your boss that you have been paying attention to them. These gifts need to have a personal touch and a lot of sentimental value.

A great idea could be to pool your resources with the rest of the team and gift them a voucher for something they've wanted to buy for a long time. A collage of pictures and personal anecdotes from all the team members talking about the most helpful advice your boss gave can also be a touching gift.

2. Write a heartfelt thank-you note

A simple hand-written note is often an excellent way to express gratitude. Of course, you can make it special by picking up a quirky boss day card. Whether your boss is introverted or extroverted, cards are your safest bet to send a thank-you note.

If you have the time, interest and skill, a hand-made card can be extra special for a thank-you note! Your message can be simple: "Thank you for all the guidance and support every day. I appreciate everything you do".

3. Decorate their office

When done the right way, office decoration can be a fantastic surprise. It's a classic move that's been around for decades, and the secret to getting it right is timing and technique. You could get balloons, confetti, boss day gifts, cards, and everything else the team had planned.

It's essential that your decoration can be removed just as quickly as it was installed. Avoid making a mess in the office and disturb as few things as possible. You can pull this off on the eve of national boss day or even in the middle of the day when they're out for lunch.

4. Get out of the office

To make the special day more fun:

  • Start by changing your surroundings and going out with your boss and team.
  • Plan a visit to a nearby resort or picnic destination where everybody can be at ease.
  • Book an activity your boss loves and get the whole team on it. You could also make a reservation at their favorite dining place or take them out to play golf.

The idea here is to focus on your boss and the activity centred on their interest. If your boss is an avid outdoorsman, you could also plan an early morning trek somewhere close to the city!

5. Give a public recognition

Nothing says best boss in the world than public recognition on the company's communication channels, social media or even a glowing recommendation on LinkedIn. Public recognition is a testament to someone's performance, especially when their teammates leave positive notes and messages of appreciation.

If you wish to leave behind a lasting review, you can give them a great recommendation on LinkedIn. Since advocacy and praise are potent factors that act as a referral for jobs, it can be the best public recognition you can leave behind.

6. Surprise them with gifts

Humorous presents and a little prank on the side can keep things fun and even break the ice at the workplace. Of course, you must be cautious with how far the gag can be pushed based on your boss's temperament.

Ideally, it would help if you planned something that balances what your boss would tolerate and what your coworkers are willing to participate in. Also, ensure that the gag can be interpreted correctly.

7. Create a video tribute

Pictures are great, but the cool thing now is to leave a video tribute as it is more authentic, real and touching. The key to getting it right is to balance the video's length and energy. Ask your teammates to create short videos saying their favorite things about your boss and put together a video montage.

The video length can range anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute but try to extend beyond two minutes. You can play the video montage on the day of your celebration for the whole team to see and have the boss take the centre seat while watching it!

8. Host a surprise party

Well, any party thrown on the national boss day won't precisely be a surprise as everybody would anticipate some celebration. However, you can still plan one and build up to it through your usual gifts and greetings without hinting about any plans.

If the whole office is planning it collectively, it's a good idea to get together your best party planners and keep it a secret from as many people as possible.

9. Make a donation in their name

If your boss is of the kind and generous type who cares for the environment, people experiencing poverty, or the world in general and often engages in charity or service work, then a donation in their name would be a wonderful idea.

Pool together donations from all your employees and pick your boss's favorite charity to donate to. You can visit a charitable trust as a team to make the donation or do it online on various donation platforms.

10. Organize a volunteer day

Picking up on the last idea, you could do work that's way more satisfying than just donating money. There's much satisfaction in getting your hands dirty and accomplishing tasks such as volunteering for a cleanup drive, or help the underprivileged, or participating in an afforestation program.

You could dedicate the volunteer work to your boss's day and have a great time bonding with the team as you engage in meaningful work outside the office.

11. Give them a spa day

A relaxing day at the spa is one of the most rejuvenating things anyone can do after a hectic week at work. Since your boss is the one taking all the pressure to perform a spa treatment gift on national boss's day can help lift their spirits and get back to work fully energized.

If the whole team is pitching in for the spa vouchers, then getting them a full range of services, from aesthetical treatments to relaxation and wellness classes, is a good idea.

12. Buy them a subscription

Subscription gifts are great when you still determine what your boss might appreciate. You can choose a range of services, from self-care products to streaming and fitness subscription boxes that can be tailored to your choices.

If you want to gift them the best, it helps to ask about their subscription interests well in advance without giving a hint about your plan to gift. When picked correctly, subscriptions make meaningful gifts your boss will surely appreciate.

13. Cook/Bake for them

Cooking their favorite meal is a wonderful way to show appreciation on the national boss day. It's a good opportunity to put your cooking skills to use and come up with a delicious dish you know they would enjoy.

Alternatively, you can bake a personalized cake of their favorite flavour and carry it to work. Pulling it all off in the office pantry is a bonus, as everything you whip up stays fresh.

14. Give them a self-care basket

A self-care basket can be quite a thoughtful gift. You can throw in all the right stuff. Bosses have hard days at work and must take care of their health and well-being. Put together a self-care basket with customized items you know they will find useful. You can add warm socks, comfortable night pants, oversized hoodies, aromatic candles, candies, chocolate, a can of coffee, a set of soothing body wash and anything else.

You can always take the advice of people who know your boss well if you need clarification. Alternatively, you can track their interests and assemble a wellness basket on the boss's day.

15. Gift them a desk plant

Desk plants can brighten up our mood regardless of the situation and help ease us into our work. If your boss loves plants, chances are they already have a plant on the table; however, they would surely appreciate one more! If they don't have a desk plant, they need one to have a relaxed workplace atmosphere.

There is a wide variety of plants, such as succulents, bamboo, violets and even Aloe. Most of these plants are low maintenance and do well on an office desk where they get enough sunlight and steady temperature to thrive.

16. Best boss award

While it's not official for the company, you can create an awards ceremony to present your boss with the best boss award and make it a cute and memorable event. Most gift stores make customizable trophies, mementoes and medals, so it should be easy to find one and engrave it with your boss's name.

The idea is to keep it a little silly but heartwarming. If your teams work remotely, send it for delivery on October 16th and have them open it on the group call.

17. Give them a gift card

Gift cards are the safest bet when you're unsure what to gift your boss. It's particularly useful if you're a new team member and need to learn the boss better to pick any of the gifts we've discussed above.

Gift cards enable them to buy what they need while you stay on the safe side of the game. When in doubt, ask for a little hint from a coworker about which gift card to buy and of what value.

18. Give them the best day at work

You can ease your boss's day at work by taking up some of their tasks or offering to help beyond your role. Finish off the tasks you've procrastinated on so they have everything on time and schedule.

Do you have ideas you were hesitant to share but would infinitely improve the work environment? Today's the day! Small gestures of kindness from everyone can make your bosses' day.

19. Take them out for a coffee or drink

Taking your boss out for a coffee or a drink seems normal but can be a big deal if your work relationship has been very formal.

If you've been working remotely and barely get a chance to meet, then taking them out for a drink can be a pleasant experience to get to know them. You could also do this as an after-work event and drink with the whole team.

20. Give them a personalized gift

Personalized gifts have custom messages or features to a product that show it was meant for them. You can pick from various customizable items such as key chains, jewellery, mugs, cutlery, art, books and even clothes. You can also add quirky messages to make it more personal.


There are only 20 fun ways to celebrate the national boss day. You can always change the ideas and add your touch to improve them. The key to honouring your boss is to present them with a thoughtful gift with some personalization. Research their interests and pick gifts that fall in the ballpark.

Alternatively, you can discuss the best item with the rest of the team. While most bosses may not appreciate the most expensive gift, they would certainly appreciate the most thoughtful one.

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