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Employee Recognition

21 Employee Holiday Gift Ideas To Recognize Your Team

Amanda Cross
Last Updated November 21, 2023

The holidays are approaching, and it's the perfect time to show your team members some love. Whether your per-employee budget is a few dollars or a few hundred, you can make your team's day with a well-timed holiday gift.

Today, we'll cover 21 holiday gift ideas and discuss general holiday celebration tips and tricks. Let's dive into the list so you can celebrate your team members!

21 Holiday Gift Ideas For Employees

Here are 21 holiday gift ideas that will help you celebrate your team:

1. Send A Delicious Snack Basket

When the holidays are in full swing, cooking another meal can feel like a burden. It’s nice to have a few easy snacks lying around the house in between making time-consuming dinners. There are a variety of companies like Spoonful Of Comfort, SnackMagic, or SnackBOX that can make it easy to give your employees a delightful meal during the holiday season. You could also use a tool like DoorDash For Work to send full meals to your team while supporting local restaurants.

2. Give Out A Holiday Bonus

It's common for people to overspend during the holidays, trying to make sure their family and friends feel the love during this season of giving. The holidays are full of things to spend money on, from random company gift exchanges to charity events.

One welcome gift you can give employees during this time is cash. Some extra money can go a long way to ensuring that workers can pay regular bills and give back to the people they love. 

3. Help Employees Travel In Style

It’s common for travel to surge during the holidays. Employees are traveling to see family and friends, or they may even be trying to get away to cooler or warmer weather. Taking a plane ride or road trip puts a lot of stress on employees financially and physically. Why not help your employees travel in style by offering branded neck pillows, new luggage, or a gas card for an upcoming trip? You could also cover a day of a hotel room or provide a gift card so they can eat out once during their travels.

4. Upgrade Your Team’s Desk For The New Year

New year, new desk? Resetting your home can be a fun New Year activity. Employees are ready to start a new planner, do a desk deep clean, and start the year on the right foot. If you have team members who are remote or hybrid, consider providing a stipend or a gift card to an office supply store to help them reset their desks.

5. Make A DIY Gift

Do you have some time on your hands? You could save some money by purchasing a few ingredients and doing some work to craft a gift. Here are a few examples:

  • DIY Hot Chocolate Kit: Purchase some hot chocolate packages and some blank mugs. You can find a simple tutorial on decorating mugs with Sharpies or paint. On top of the hot chocolate, you can add a few additions, like a few pieces of chocolate or marshmallows. This DIY gift can be a great holiday surprise with the proper packaging.
  • Holiday Stockings: Another easy DIY is to purchase blank stockings and decorate them with your team’s name or initials. You can fill the stocking with candy and a few small branded items (like a pen or a keychain.)
  • Holiday Cookies: If you are a good baker, you could batch-make lots of cookies. To improve the presentation, wrap 6-12 cookies in a paper cookie box and add some fun ribbon to make the gifts pop.

6. Give Out An Interactive Gift

As an alternative to a DIY gift, you could purchase something interactive that gets your team's creative juices flowing. Crafting kits can be a fun way to spend the downtime that employees often get in December, and your team may end up with something they'll use for years to come.

Here are some examples of great interactive gifts:

  • DIY terrarium or plant-growing kits
  • Paint-by-number sets
  • Interactive journals or gratitude journals

7. Entertain Your Team With Books, Movies, Or Music

Authors, directors, and musicians create fantastic and exciting content every year. With so much to consume and not enough time or money, getting the right gift card can help your team access more entertainment. Having something to distract yourself with can make the holidays much smoother. For example, you can get your team a gift card to a streaming service like Netflix, a bookstore like Barnes & Noble, or a service like Spotify. Alternatively, you could give out another fun gift, like headphones, a Bluetooth speaker, or an eReader.

Entertainment like a book or Netflix subscription can give your team the entertainment they need during this time of year.

8. Send Out Some Nectar Points

Nectar is all about choice. When employees receive Nectar points, they can be used on gift cards, Amazon products, and even company swag. Using the Nectar recognition system makes it easy to send a mass message to everyone with a set number of points. Whether you use our Group Give feature or make a custom holiday award, you'll easily be able to send points to those who need them.

Are you intrigued? Take a peek at our platform and sign up for a demo today.

9. Help Your Employees Learn A New Skill

Only 65.38% of employees feel their company is actively invested in their career growth. Reversing the opinion of the other nearly 35% of employees can be a challenge. The holidays are the perfect time to learn a new skill, whether your team wants to learn something fun or something that will help them excel in their chosen occupation. Encourage your team to take a class on a site like Udemy and reimburse the class cost as a holiday gift.

10. Create Some Custom Holiday Swag

From fun winter onesies to tacky holiday sweaters, there's a ton of holiday company swag that your team could love. If you want to keep your celebration neutral, try gifting winter swag that focuses on snow, snowflakes, and snowmen instead. For example, you could create a shirt that features a snowglobe with things that matter to your organization as the snowglobe scenery.

11. Make A Charity Donation

Each member of your team probably has a charity they care about. With upcoming events like Giving Tuesday, the end of the year is the perfect time to give back to your local and national community. Even $25 can go a long way for a charity, so figure out what your team loves and donate in their honor.

12. Embrace Different Cultures With Your Gift Giving

Most HR leaders will point out the importance of being general and celebrating all the holidays that happen during this time of year. One way to take that to the next level is by celebrating diversity and cultural differences in your gifts. You could gift a museum or art gallery membership, give out tickets to a cultural event or festival, or give out books/music based on different cultures.

13. Gift A Fun Game

No matter what holiday you celebrate, gathering around a fun board game can be a great way to wind down after a stressful day. Gifting a family-friendly game like Uno, Monopoly, or Heads Up can be an inexpensive way to show holiday gratitude. If your team is really into board games, you can find more obscure or indie games to give them. Here's a list of board games that might help you pick something new.

14. Warm Up Your Team With Some Winter Accessories

Depending on where your company is headquartered, some of your team members may have to deal with a lot of winter weather. Winter accessories like gloves, scarves, beanies, and jackets can be great gifts for your workers. You can also add your company logo or mark to the accessories to make them stand out while advertising your organization.

Cute winter accessories can be a simple way to hand out branded items to your team.

15. Help Your Team With A Holiday Service

As we've shared, the holiday season is busy. Employees are traveling, visiting family, and dealing with tight end-of-the-year deadlines. Instead of letting all this stress your team out, why not give them a helping hand by providing a service? For example, you could hire a house cleaner for a holiday refresh or pay to dry clean some fun holiday party looks.

16. Give The Gift Of Experiences

Getting to experience something new is one of the best gifts you can get someone. From a fun bungee jumping experience to a big concert, experiences have a gigantic impact on a person. If you have the funds, you can get your team a ticket to a fun event (or a gift card so they can pick where they want to go.)

17. Invest In Your Team’s Wellness

Better diet and exercise are common New Year's resolutions. According to YouGov, 23% of Americans set a 2022 New Year's Resolution to live healthier, while 20% set a goal to lose weight. This means that around 4 in 10 New Year's resolutions revolve around health in the United States. Employee wellbeing has several positive benefits for your team and organization. If you have a team member who is interested in working out, why not give them a gift like a:

  • Workout class
  • Gym membership
  • Gift card for workout clothing
  • Massage
  • Meal service

18. Buy A Subscription Service For Year-Round Fun

Who doesn't want happy mail delivered to their door every month? Subscriptions are the gift that keeps on giving, making your team think about the company they work for throughout the year. There are subscriptions for everything from coffee to books to socks, so you will surely find a reasonably-priced subscription that your teammate will enjoy.

19. Offer Some Extra PTO

Employees want to spend time with their families during the holiday season. If your company can spare the time, offering extra PTO during this time of year can show your team how much you care. Even large companies like Walmart have realized the need for some time off during the holiday season. They've shut down on Christmas Day for several years in a row. Whether you shut down for a few distinct holidays or you decide to give your team a choice in the time they need off during the holiday season, PTO will be a great holiday gift. 

20. Help Your Team Get Organized For The New Year

As we mentioned earlier, employees are excited to start the new year on the right foot. You could send out new work planners for your team or get them new office supplies like nice pens. You could also purchase items like wall or whiteboard calendars for their home. The overall goal of this holiday gift is to ensure your team has what they need to feel confident about the year ahead.

21. Organize A Group Gift

If your employees are in the same location, it might be fun to organize a group gift. For example, you could revamp your break room with nicer equipment, furniture, and decor. Alternatively, you could embrace team building and take your team to a nice dinner or excursion like Top Golf or a theater to see a new movie. Group gifts should be fun and something the entire company could use (bonus points if they can invite their families.)

A group gift like a dinner or company outing can be a fun way to bond as a team and meet family.

5 Tips For Celebrating The Holidays At Work

Before we wrap up, let's cover some helpful tips to improve your employee holiday celebrations.

1. Celebrate The Holidays

The last quarter of the year is filled with many holiday celebrations, like Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Generalizing as much as possible when celebrating is crucial so everyone feels represented. Alternatively, encourage your team to share the holidays they will be celebrating and to bring that spirit to work. For example, if you have a door decorating contest, encourage employees to decorate in a way that exemplifies how they celebrate the season.

2. Acknowledge Workers Who Don’t Celebrate At All

It's easy to forget that some people don't celebrate any holidays. They may have an adverse reaction to the holidays due to family, or it may be a religious objection, all reasons for not celebrating are valid. It's important to keep these people in mind, and you may need to ask if they want to be involved. If you are giving out gifts to your team, you'll want to be fair and make sure they get gifts if they want them (especially if you are passing out something big like a holiday bonus.) Some of your team may opt out, but it's important to involve everyone who wants to participate.

3. Be Conscious Of Your Budget

Your budget is everything. We know that people tend to overspend during the holiday season. Companies are made of people trying to do the best for the business, customers, and employees. Before you spend money on employee gifts, consider what you have time and money for.

  • If you have more time, you might build something yourself and go the DIY route to save money.
  • If you are short on time and have a limited budget, try to ere on the cheaper side when purchasing a gift.
  • If you are short on time or you have the budget, don’t be afraid to spend a little more to find the perfect gift for your team.

4. Keep Communication Open To Support Your Team

Employees deal with a lot, from family time to work obligations during the holidays. Communication is a necessity during this time. Ensure your company has a clear communication strategy to address workplace expectations during the holidays. On top of that, make sure that employees know that they can speak with their manager or HR if they have any specific issues or concerns during the holiday season.

5. Make Room For Peer Recognition

Peer recognition has a place when it comes to celebrating the holidays. From sending end-of-the-year shoutouts to your team to doing gift exchanges, employees should play a role in this process. Platforms like Nectar are the perfect place to share gratitude and appreciation for teammates during the holiday season.

Conclusion: Celebrate Your Team With The Best Holiday Gift

Your team does so much throughout the year, and as that time comes to a close, finding the perfect gift to bookmark that experience makes sense. Whether you have money or time, it's easy to find a holiday gift that will make your team happy as long as you put in effort.

Alternatively, if you have a tool like Nectar, sending holiday gifts to your entire team is easy. With our Group Give functionality, you can send a shoutout to everyone in your organization. Group Give is set up based on departments (or everyone in your company.)

Using our staff shoutout functionality, you can use the "@everyone" tag to write a holiday message, attach a fun GIF or picture, and assign a certain number of points. You should send a decent amount of points, like $25-$100 for a holiday gift.

Once employees receive the points, they can be redeemed in the Nectar Rewards store for gift cards, Amazon items, swag, and custom rewards.

Do you want to learn more about Nectar? Sign up for a demo and chat with one of our sales representatives today.

Actionable workplace tips & insights for fellow people lovers

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