Stuck on what to give your employees for the holidays this year? Here are gifts ideas to make every worker happy
The holiday season is coming and businesses are looking for ways to reward their employees with a little something extra. Employee holiday gifts run from the silly to the sublime — primarily based on budgets.
You don’t have to break the bank to be a thoughtful and meaningful giver when it comes to employee holiday gifts. You only need to look at your staff to come up with gift ideas that will make their season bright.
If your organization runs on a tight budget, lower-wage workers may be pressed to make the holiday season festive. Employee holiday gifts that meets their needs — ones that help them stay fit, learn a new hobby or sport, or a bit of help with holiday meal expenses — could be the most impactful. If your staffers work hard for others, a bit of self-indulgence may be the best reward.
Finding the right employee holiday gifts doesn’t have to be a challenge.
Let’s face it — cash is king. Employees love to get it and owners like to give it. It’s an employee holiday gift no one will ever return.
For some, it may seem impersonal; for others, it’s eminently practical. If you worry a cash bonus at the holidays may not have the personal touch, add a note or an inexpensive, smaller token of appreciation to every employee with their envelope.
In some organizations, holiday bonuses are tied to seniority: the longer you’ve been with the company, the higher the bonus. For others, everyone gets the same amount as their employee gift.
Whichever works best for your business is fine, but if seniority is factored in, make sure employees understand your system. You wouldn’t want staffers to think the bonus is based on other criteria.
Holiday gift giving shouldn’t be a chore for business: It’s a way to give back for all the work your staffers do.
For organizations strapped for cash at the end of the year, a voucher for a paid day off in the coming year can be the perfect solution. Even if cash flow isn’t an issue, employees still love a “me-day with pay.” You’ll have to be prepared to track who’s taken their time off during the coming year, but this holiday bonus is a winner with workers.
You can tie the amount of time off to seniority as well — the longer the staffer is on the payroll the more “me-days” the holidays bring.
Gift cards and certificates can be a wonderful holiday present if they’re thoughtfully given, and there are so many types to choose from:
- Grocery store cards can help get employees through the season easier and help with food costs
- Gift cards from a large chain, like Walmart or Target, lets staffers buy sporting goods, household items, and more
- Generic cards (Visa/Mastercard) lets employees decide where to shop and for whom. Make sure to find cards that are welcome everywhere and don’t impose a fee when used
- Restaurant gift cards are a great way to offer staffers a night out on you. Family-friendly venues are the best for staffers with kids — but stay away from fast-food venues. You want to provide a sit down meal that isn’t seated in the car
- Sports gift cards, such as tennis lessons, will help your employees stay fit, and improve a skill. And check out these tennis gift ideas too.
- Spa certificates are a welcome gift to enjoy a bit of pampering, especially for workers who spend their time caring for others. Don’t think spa gifts are for women only — men also love a great massage and other spa services
- Retail store cards are almost always welcome. You can let your employees splurge on themselves with a high-end retailer card — to remind them they’re worth the cost
Thoughtful employee gifts
Sometimes the best gifts are the most practical ones. Here are some products that show your employees you thought about the items that could make their work and lives easier:
- Noise-cancelling headphones could be the most thoughtful gift you can provide if your business sports open-concept workspaces. They allow employees to shut out the clamor when they’re working and do double-duty on airplanes and during commutes
- Touchscreen gloves can be a thoughtful way of telling employees who work in and out of the cold that you know what they go through. They can range in price from very affordable to high-end, but either can be a nice way to show your appreciation for their hard work
- Mini desktop vacuums are a fun way to express appreciation to the neat freaks in the office
- Desktop card message boards are a great way to say “I’m busy,” “Back in 5,” “Do I look like Google?” and more. They come in a variety of styles, including emojis, and all offer blank pages for personal messages
- Tabletop bonsai trees, mini fountains, Zen sand gardens, and mini salt lamps can turn a hectic workstation into a calming oasis. Small terrariums or succulent gardens can be a low-maintenance way to bring the outdoors in, too
Personalized Employee Gifts
Personalized gifts are a great way to recognize staffers as individuals, but they should be customized for the staffer — not the organization. No one really wants company branded gifts for the holidays; personalized employee holiday gifts should be just for them, thoughtfully offered by you.
A way of showing appreciation from you is writing a handwritten card. Some ideas for what to put inside are:
- Applauding their achievements throughout the past year — it says you proudly noticed all they’ve accomplished
- Outlining all the ways they impacted you, their coworkers, clients, or the company throughout the year — such as the smallest shout-out for going the extra mile, or the biggest boast on how their big idea translated into big savings
If you’d like to start the appreciation card tradition for next year, keep a spreadsheet that notes employee accomplishments and extra effort. Next holiday season, handwrite a bit about each event in a personal card to show you noticed.
Homespun employee gifts
Do you make a mean 5 Alarm Chili? Is your salsa spectacular? Mason jars of your signature recipes are fun gifts employees love. If baking holiday cookies sets off the season for you, a gift box or tray for each employee is a great way to share your traditions with staffers.
Employee gifts that make a difference
If your staff members are more interested in good works than good gifts, a donation to a charity of their choice in their name could be a meaningful way to let them share the cheer during the holiday season. Bonuses for business: you may learn a bit more about what’s important to your staffers or even find a cause you can get behind as an organization.
To spread that good cheer a bit further, offer staff members a day off with pay to do some good work themselves. Spending time volunteering, particularly during the holiday season, can recharge the soul. Giving your staffers the time to give back, during the season of giving, can be meaningful for them and the community.
Don’t forget your remote workers when making your employee holiday gift lists; they’re part of the team as well. Plan ahead a bit to make sure cards and items are delivered on time and that your remote employees are included in every work event.
Holiday gift giving shouldn’t be a chore for business: It’s a way to give back for all the work your staffers do. Showing you appreciate them, with a thoughtful or impactful gift, spreads the holiday cheer for your company, your workers, and their families.