Unique Gifts to Give Your Employees This Holiday Season

The holidays are a time of giving, and who better to give to thank those who work so hard all year to make your business a success? ‘Tis the season to show your employees how much their hard work means to you — and that you understand their wants and needs as individuals. At the same time, the last thing you want is to pass out yet another impersonal gift.

In a study of companies about their gift-giving activities, researchers found the average spent on each employee is around $65. No matter how much your business spends on each person, finding something which resonates with employees takes time, creativity and thoughtfulness. Sure, you can pass out some branded merchandise, but do your employees really appreciate that? Whether you opt for an officewide gift to improve everyone’s workplace experience or individualized offerings, business owners can easily find gifts that actually make an impact. We’ve gathered 12 ideas which fall into each category so you have a few options to start.

  1. Customized Tumblers
    One thing most people use at work is coffee tumblers or insulated drink cups. However, the ones commonly available on the market are fairly boring and generic. Step it up by ordering custom tumblers that reflect your employees’ unique interests. Make sure you put extra thought into the custom features, including using the person’s favorite color, adding their name and perhaps a graphic of one of their passions — like their favorite breed of dog or preferred sports team.
  2. Food Baskets
    At first glance, giving an employee a food basket seems a bit boring. However, if you pay someone to create a custom basket and fill it with local goodies or the person’s favorite treats, it becomes a bit more exciting while still retaining its functionality. Figuring out what the person and their family most enjoy requires a bit of detective work. You must get to know your employees on a personal level and pay attention to likes and dislikes in order to create a food basket they’ll love.
  3. A Company-Wide Outing
    What if you could gift all your employees at once with something everyone enjoys? Let everyone know you’re hosting a company outing on a set date for them and their families. Give them a paid day where they can go and have fun instead of working. This might include entry to a local amusement park, an evening at a local dinner theater or even a company cookout complete with bouncy houses and entertainment. Try planning an outing that nearly everyone would like, regardless of their age or family structure.
  4. Standing Desks
    Workers spend a good chunk of each week in the office, so why not make it a place they’re comfortable in? If your employees spend the majority of their day sitting at their desks, invest in their health this holiday season and buy everyone standing desks. Yes, you’ll spend more than $65 per person, but you’ll also improve the productivity and engagement of employees. They’ll see you care about their well being and giving them options for how to achieve their best work possible.
  5. Home Brewing Kit
    Do you have employees who love beer or have expressed an interest in home brewing? Microbrewing is a hot trend for a reason. A home-brewing kit makes a great gift that can offer hours of enjoyment for the right employee. Obviously, the gift is for their home and not to be used during work hours, but you could start a conversation throughout the year about how they’re using the gift and what new types of craft beers they’re brewing. It also sets the tone for future gifts as you can also give them accessories, order different types of hops and even give them some custom beer labels for their brews.
  6. New Snack Area
    Looking for whole office gifts? What about adding a refreshment area to the office and keeping it stocked with snacks and beverages? There are even subscription services which allow you to try out different types of snacks throughout the year and gift your employees with something interesting to try and talk about. Or, you could simply stock it on Fridays with donuts, muffins, and other breakfast goodies to remind employees how much you appreciate their hard work.
  7. Portable Power Banks
    Do your employees work remotely or out in the field? Giving them portable power banks creates convenience while they are out and about. It allows them to keep their laptop or smartphone charged so they can easily stay connected with the office, expanding their working options to a number of environments. However, they can also use the portable power bank for personal use. Invest in the best one you can afford that will at a minimum charge a phone several times before needing to recharge itself.
  8. Wireless Noise Isolating Headphones
    Who doesn’t love a good set of earphones for listening to phone conversations or videos in privacy? Nearly any employee will love a set of wireless noise-isolating headphones as a gift. Sure, the gift may seem a bit less personal than some of the others mentioned on this list, but they are something useful for a variety of activities — including gaming, music, and sleeping on long flights. Even if your employees own some wireless earbuds, noise-canceling headphones can level up their focus for both work and hobbies.
  9. Personalized Messenger Bag
    A messenger bag is a great gift for both men and women. It gives your employees a convenient way to tote a laptop and other daily essentials to and from the office. Customize each bag by varying color choices and adding a monogram or some type of graphic that represents the person’s interests. You can even allow them to choose the color and design themselves if you notify them of the gift ahead of time.
  10. Event Tickets
    Let your employees know you appreciate their need for fun and relaxation in their free time. Invest in event tickets for something local, such as a theater production, a night at the ballpark or college basketball game. If you buy in bulk, you may be able to get a discount. Ideally, the employee can choose when they attend the event, so you might even want to go for vouchers or gift cards to the local movie theater.
  11. Extra Time Off
    Gift everyone in the office with an extra day off to be used when they wish. Who wouldn’t appreciate an extra day to take for a field trip with their kids’ school or for a little extra rest and relaxation? Don’t attach any requirements to the extra time. Simply gift them with the day and let them use it at their discretion. It may be the most appreciated gift you ever give.
  12. Ham and Turkey for Everyone
    Nearly every family has some type of dinner or goes to dinner during the holidays. Gifting your employees with a free ham and turkey — with the option to switch to a vegetarian alternative — saves them money and makes them think of you when they’re preparing the meal. Make sure you let them know you’re gifting them with the ham and turkey ahead of time and get the gift to them in time for them to prepare for the big day. You may even want to deliver the gift to their homes so they can get the items directly in the fridge or freezer.

    Unique Holiday Gifts for Your Employees

While the 12 ideas above may be a bit outside the norm, nearly anyone should appreciate these items. Giving a truly unique gift, however, depends upon how well you know your employees and what they might enjoy. Spend time with your workers, have conversations and even ask what group gift they might all enjoy. With a little attention and effort, you’ll give a gift they’ll remember and appreciate for the rest of their lives.

Lexie is a UX content strategist and web designer. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee (with a dash of milk) and walking her Goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner

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