30 Employee Holiday Gift Ideas

By Jennifer Herrity

Updated October 28, 2022 | Published April 3, 2020

Updated October 28, 2022

Published April 3, 2020

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

A person decorates a gift package with twigs and snowflakes.

Each company has its own way of closing out the year and celebrating the holiday season. Gift exchanges are a way for employees from all levels of the organization to show their appreciation for each other. For management, it’s a way to recognize the work of employees, which can improve employee satisfaction and boost team morale.

In this article, we discuss the employee holiday gift, including 30 gift ideas you might consider getting your employees.

What are employee holiday gifts?

During the holiday season, companies often host their own party, invite employees and include a gift exchange. A gift exchange guarantees that each employee gives and receives a gift.

To encourage participation and relieve any anxiety employees may have over giving the perfect holiday gift, companies may set up a gift exchange known as a white elephant gift exchange, where employees buy amusing gifts for each other. An organization may cap the amount employees can spend on gifts for the event.

Related: 11 Ways To Recognize Your Employees

30 holiday gifts to give to employees

Consider these gift ideas when buying an employee holiday gift for your staff:

1. Additional paid time off

Company-wide gifts might help bring employees together because employees perceive this gift as a gesture of gratitude for their efforts. Paid time off for all employees sends a message that they performed well during the year and are being rewarded with additional relaxation.

Paid time off highlights the company's commitment to a work-life balance. A work-life balance prioritizes wellness, which can decrease employee turnover and increase employees' commitment to an organization.

Further, a team-oriented gift helps foster a collective workforce since its rewards depend on the team's performance, and it encourages employees to interact and build relationships with one another.

Related: Your Guide To Giving Gifts to Employees (With Tips and FAQ)

2. Backpacks

Travel backpacks are great for employees who love to travel for work or leisure. If you decide to get this holiday employee gift, purchase a backpack that has adequate space so they can store key items for future adventures or business trips.

3. Bluetooth gadgets

Bluetooth gadgets can aid employees in finding missing items. Gadgets include an app for employees to connect their devices and signal if they've lost an important item. Suggest the employee use it on company property to test if it works before moving to personal items. They may get the indication that the organization wants to find different ways for employees to enhance their performance.

Related: 15 Desk Essentials for a Productive Workday

4. Bonuses

Companies usually give bonuses to employees annually or if they receive a promotion. Some companies give holiday bonuses instead of additional paid time off to raise company morale and recognize the efforts of all employees. A company may list holiday bonuses in its compensation package to recruit applicants and retain current employees.

Related: How Do Bonuses Work?

5. Books

You can also give books that match employees' interests as holiday gifts. For instance, you might give a book about the Civil War to a marketing coordinator if they love history or a cookbook to a sales manager who loves watching cooking shows. A thought-provoking book based on an employee's interest can improve their perception of the company and show how much it cares about employees.

6. Cell phone stands

Cell phone stands can give employees a location to place and charge their smartphones while they're at work. Purchase this as a holiday gift if an employee regularly uses their phone as a part of their regular duties. Employees can increase their productivity if they can easily access and use their phones to complete vital tasks during the day.

7. Coffee makers

A coffee maker is an ideal holiday gift for employees who love to stay caffeinated. Employees might look out for other employees who use the company's coffee maker in the morning to see who the ideal employees are to receive this particular gift. Employers can buy handheld coffee makers for those who need quick access to coffee while concentrating on their work.

8. Coffee samplers

Coffee samplers give employees a taste of different types of coffee. Consider asking employees what types of flavors they prefer and cater your choices to their tastes. For instance, some samplers may have bolder flavors, or some may have fruity types. Your staff can also trade among themselves to get their preferred varieties.

Related: 60 Coworker Gift Ideas To Celebrate Every Occasion

9. Cookbooks

A cookbook is an ideal employee holiday gift for an aspiring or expert cook. Purchasing cookbooks from different regions around the world can spark conversation among employees and inspire them to cook outside of the workplace. Employees could bond with each other by sharing recipes and making recommendations with ones they loved to cook.

10. Desk organizers

Desk organizers help employees who need a centralized location for office supplies. Getting them an organizer for their office supplies makes them feel that their workspace is in order and they know where to find items to perform tasks.

Related: 15 Things To Put on Your Desk at Work and Why

11. Desk vacuum

A desk vacuum is practical for employees who love to clean their workspace. Buying one that can clean difficult areas like behind the computer and in between keys on a keyboard improves the value of the gift. Employees may help clean another colleague's desk if they love the gift.

12. Festive pens

Festive pens get employees into the holiday spirit, and employees can use them to write notes during the day. This is a cost-effective employee holiday gift for companies to give to their staff and a creative way to resupply pens for employees to use.

13. Gift baskets

Gift baskets can have an arrangement of food or beverages tailored to the interest of the employee. Food baskets might include chocolates, nuts, popcorn and wine. Companies may choose to survey employees to see the types of gift baskets they'd like to receive as an employee holiday gift or speak with managers to gather insight and make it a surprise.

Related: Employee Appreciation Gifts (Guide, Benefits, and Examples)

14. Grocery store gift cards

A grocery store gift card is a thoughtful gift for employees looking to get additional savings the next time they go food shopping. You may pay the membership for membership-only warehouse clubs so employees can spend it on a variety of products sold at these locations. Try to ask employees where they shop for groceries to see if paying the membership is something they'll take advantage of.

Related: Employee Reward vs. Recognition: What's the Difference?

15. Massages

Companies may have a massage therapist come in to give full-body massages to help employees relax. Therapists can remove tension from employees' backs, which can reduce fatigue at work and manage pain. Consider having massage therapists come in more than once a year (e.g., at the end of every quarter) if it proves a popular employee holiday gift.

16. Mouse pads

Personalized mouse pads are a uniquely practical gift for employees because they can give them inspiration while at work. For example, if an employee is a fan of a particular sports team, an employer can get them a mouse pad of their favorite team.

Related: 34 of the Best Home Office Essentials

17. Movie discounts

Movie discounts are good gifts to give to employees if they frequently go to the movies. For example, you might give this gift to an employee whose children like going to theaters, who will, in turn, appreciate the effort you made to ensure they received a discount for one of their favorite activities.

18. Mug warmers

Coffee mug warmers permit employees to heat coffee at their desk. As with the coffee makers, you may need to find people who drink coffee regularly at the company so they can use it often. Employees could give it to a friend or family member who likes coffee, too.

Related: 40 Ideas To Show Appreciation for Your Employees

19. Music speakers

Music speakers are a high-quality gift for anyone who loves to listen to music at the office. Try buying portable music speakers for employees who like listening to music at social events or at home before going to work.

20. Noise-canceling headphones

Noise-canceling headphones are key for employees seeking to increase their concentration at work. Staff will appreciate this employee holiday gift because they can wear them outside of the office for activities like running or listening to an audiobook.

Related: Tips To Help You Focus When You're Distracted Easily at Work

21. Pencil pouches

Pencil pouches help employees keep their pens and pencils in one place. Companies may provide this organizational holiday gift to employees if they need assistance with organizing and keeping track of items.

22. Personalized snacks

Personalized snacks are a meaningful gift for employees with dietary restrictions. They may include dairy-free snacks, gluten-free snacks, free of nuts and soy, etc. You can still give sweets to employees without dietary restrictions, but the attention to employees with food allergies conveys that the company prioritizes their health and well-being.

Related: Customization vs. Personalization: What Are the Differences?

23. Phone charger

Purchasing backup smartphone chargers is another thoughtful gift for employees if they're in need of a new charger. Employees can use it while traveling to ensure they stay connected to all their important responsibilities.

24. Skydiving adventures

Companies offer skydiving excursions to employees who love embarking on daring adventures. A supervisor might issue a challenge for one employee to help them excel in uncomfortable situations. It might be a cost-effective gift if the skydiving company provides discounts during the holiday season.

Related: 17 Benefits of Team Building for Your Organization

25. Spa box

A spa box is an arrangement of soaps, balms and candles. This gift could encourage employees to relax when they're off from work. Choosing different scents allows employees to trade boxes if they like one box's assortment of scents over another.

26. Stress balls

Stress balls are a considerate holiday gift for employees that might need to relieve stress at work. Squeezing stress balls may elevate employee productivity if they have a healthy outlet to give themselves more energy while relieving stress.

Related: 23 Office Relaxation Items Plus Tips for Relaxing at Work

27. Travel bag with electronics

A travel bag with electronics like a laptop and a smartphone is vital for employees if they're frequently away from the office. Employees need to have updated technology to reach their goals whether they're on a plane, in a hotel or somewhere else on the road. This employee holiday gift sends a message that the company cares about providing tools and resources to employees so they can succeed at work.

28. Travel mugs

Employees often appreciate travel mugs so they can keep their beverages insulated wherever they go. They may use it while in the office to keep their coffee warm or drink out of it during a business trip. Multi-purpose cups serve as good gifts for employees, especially if they're in need of convenience during work hours.

Related: 35 Ideas for Your Work Gift Exchange

29. Wine bottle gift box with a personalized message

A wine bottle gift box with a personalized message is a great employee holiday gift, especially for employees achieving milestones with the company. If you purchase this gift for an employee, give a wine bottle gift box and include a milestone that an employee achieved leading up to the holiday season.

Such a gift can make employees feel that the company is engaging with them because they're recognizing the employee's accomplishments. Employees may keep it as a souvenir to remember their time at the company.

30. Winter touchscreen gloves

Getting winter touchscreen gloves could be an attentive gift for employees. This holiday gift is practical for teams that work in a cold-weather environment. You can also purchase unisex gloves so they're usable for male and female employees.

Related: 105 Gift Ideas To Thank Employees

Why are holiday gifts important?

Employers give their employees holiday gifts to show them they appreciate them and their contributions to the company. Also, receiving an unexpected holiday gift can improve an employee’s perception of the organization. The employee may feel the company invests in them, and this type of company recognition can also even, perhaps, increase their loyalty and longevity with the organization.

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