It’s time to think about Christmas gifts for employees. Because Christmas will be here before you know it.
Whether you’re counting sleeps until the 25th, or dreading it like a medical procedure. It’s coming all the same.
And with Christmas comes the expectation you’ll organise some Christmas gifts for employees.
We’ve got 31 great staff Christmas gift ideas that won’t go straight into the bin. Or end up re-gifted to someone’s least favourite cousin.
Simple and easy to combine with a thank-you note, vouchers are can be called a ‘lazy’ option. But the reality is that the only laziness is in presentation.
Put some effort in and make a fanfare of the occasion. Give your staff a few ideas on how they can use them, and make a fuss of all the choice the vouchers offer. Drive home the excitement.
2. Gift cards
Gift cards function almost exactly like a voucher, but with some key advantages.
You can get them branded to your company’s look so they’ll be more effective at generating gratitude.
They also often come with an online option. That could be direct online spending, or an online exchange to trade the funds for another selection of gifts.
If you don’t know what your employees like, just ask an expert. Find something less “recognisable” than the usual brands carried in supermarkets though.
An unusual or exotic wine feels much more special than something familiar.
4. A big Christmas lunch
Get everyone out of the office for lunch at a nice restaurant near the office. Hosting the meal during the day also makes celebrations more inclusive.
Employees with children or other responsibilities often struggle to juggle children and evening events.
6. Wholesaler memberships
A membership to a wholesaler like Costco could save staff an enormous amount of money on bulk household items.
A few litres of toothpaste aren’t exactly a ‘Christmas-y’ thought, but your employees with families will be grateful. Especially during the winter seasons when they’re entertaining a houseful of guests. They make helpful and well received christmas gifts for employees.
7. Special coffee or tea mugs
The UK drinks more than 60 billion cups of tea every year. That’s more than enough cause to know special mugs make a great gift.
8. Funds for a party
A work-organised Christmas party can end up feeling like a school dance. Instead of trying to be in charge of it, let your staff organise something fun.
You just need to provide the resources and let them do the rest. They can pick the right venue, the right food and the right booze for themselves.
Reward codes are sent over sms or email, then redeemed online. They make more sense than gift cards or vouchers for more “online” staff.
To give them a more personal touch, spruce the delivery up with personal messages of appreciation.
The Christmas period is hectic. The cash might not be there to fork out for a load of gifts for staff.
But just being flexible with hours during the period could be as welcome as a fancy bottle of wine.
11. Tote bags
We all want to make less waste, but that means lugging more containers about with us.
Rucksacks aren’t always a chic choice, but totes are. A quality sustainable fibre tote is a great gift for someone sick of dragging a tatty Bag for Life around.
12. Great books
Books are often a byword for boring gifts. But that’s because they’re often just the latest vapid celebrity biography, or a tenuous link to a hobby.
Put some time and thought into a good book and it will be a fantastic gift. it shows not just that you’ve thought about someone, but that you actually know them well enough to pick them out a great book.
13. Luxury gift cards
We have already mentioned gift cards. But special gift cards for high-end shops like M&S or John Lewis are different.
Even the most dour employee can find something delightful with a luxury gift card. Only being able to get something luxurious makes them great Christmas gifts for employees.
Hampers are a classic. And they tend to stick around the house while you pick away at the chocolates, spreadables, cheeses and preserves.
Just make sure what’s in the hamper is special. That’s what sets hampers apart when it comes to Christmas gifts for employees.
For some employees, offering your heartfelt thanks would go much further than any cash-value item.
Knowing their efforts are valued and noticed as they head into a Christmas break does as much for morale as rewards might.
16. A BS button
Give someone the chance to call BS out when they see it. Or more to the point hear it.
Gift a novelty button that breaks the tension when someone wants to call BS on a bad idea without feeling awkward.
17. Donation to a charity
You really need to know the room before making a call like this. People might feel let down, or maybe even a bit patronised.
But if you look at the office and can’t imagine what to get for your socially-conscious millennials, a donation works. As long as it speaks to a cause they’re invested in.
Almost every meat eater enjoys a high quality cut of steak. Good steaks are an indulgence that really needs to be savoured.
You can’t really go wrong by plumping for one of the marquee cuts either. Ribeye, filet, or a strip all work. Or really go wild with some T-bone or porterhouse options.
And for your vegan or vegetarian staff, there are some amazing developments in vegan and plant-based alternatives.
19. Custom print cushions, pillows or luggage
Submit someone’s picture, or maybe a picture of their pet, and it becomes a print of the item. That could be pillows or cushions.
But the best is luggage – there’s no debating who a suitcase belongs to when your face is all over it.
20. Wireless shower speakers
Ideal for anyone that really can’t go a minute without a bit of stimulation. Not even for the duration of a shower. Also ideal for an employee that likes a long soak in the bath with a good podcast.
21. An office pet
There are loads of benefits to having dogs in the office. They make your company more fun, less stressful and more empathetic.
Who could be mad when there’s a cute dog in the room? Of course, only break this one out once you’re sure no one has an allergy or phobia of dogs.
22. Wallet-friendly powerbanks
Always running out of charge is annoying. But so is carrying around a giant power bar all day.
A wallet-friendly power pack helps your electrically-challenged employees stay online. Without taking an unwieldly battery everywhere.
23. Event or theatre tickets
You always hear theatre fans saying they “should” get tickets when Wicked or War Horse is on. Make sure they don’t miss out this time. Make your Christmas gift for employees something they’ve been putting off for years.
24. Multi-tools for outdoorsy types
Our outdoors types love a multi-tool. Especially the specialised ones for cyclists, climbers, woodsmen and more.
Depending on what your staff get up to in the outdoors, there’s a quality multi-tool out there.
25. Slippers for indoorsy types
Our indoors types, by contrast, love a good pair of comfortable slippers. Everyone loves a really comfortable pair of slippers for those cold nights in.
26. Infusion water bottles
Supplying staff with their own refillable, non-toxic bottles benefits you and your staff. They cut down on waste, saving money on disposable cups.
And they help staff stay hydrated during the work day. Infusion bottles also let staff stick a bit of citrus fruit of a tea bag in for a healthy flavoured drink.
27. Speciality coffees
Caffeine is an essential office supply. A specialty coffee selection is a great gift for anyone that always says “yes” when the barista offers them the special blend.
28. Stadium tours
It’s amazing how many people live in a city with a major sports team but never take a look inside.
Stadium tours give you a glimpse into the history of a team, and how that history affects the city you live in.
29. Guided museum or heritage tours
Not everyone’s into sport. But a guided tour of a gallery, historic site or museum would be a huge treat for staff that like a bit of culture.
30. Streaming sticks
Like Roku or Amazon. They turn laptops and televisions into streaming devices with thousands of channels available.
They’re a quick and easy way to get more out of the great indoors without having to buy a cable or satellite subscription.
31. Adult learning classes
For someone that’s always wanted to speak Spanish. Or wishes they knew how to paint with oils or create pottery.
They’re fun and personal. And they let your staff do something personally fulfilling and enriching outside their work.
5 Christmas gifts for employees to avoid at all costs
It’s the thought that counts. Unless you’re thinking about really bad gift ideas. Or even worse if you don’t think about someone at all.
Steer clear of this stuff if you want good Christmas gifts.
1. Being forgotten
Forgetting to buy some employees gifts is a miniature morale crisis. That goes double if they’re remote or mobile.
They’ll already have their guard up about not being in the office. And being forgotten amplifies that feeling.
Old reliable, and reliably boring. No one hates having more money, but cash doesn’t make a great Christmas gift for employees.
Especially in companies where year-end bonuses are the norm for performance targets.
3. Cheap and boring food and drink
Anyone can walk into a supermarket and buy themselves a bar of Dairy Milk. It’s not interesting, thoughtful or special.
If you’re so out of ideas you’re thinking about buying someone a Toblerone, just get them a decent gift card.
4. Gag gifts
Sometimes they work, but it’s best avoided. That goes double if you’re the boss. Remember that as an employer that you’re “punching down.”
You’re most likely in a position of authority or power over your staff. What seems harmless to you can come off as an assault on someone’s work, or their position in the company.
5. Self-help books
The Secret and Rich Dad, Poor Dad might have completely turned your life around.
But don’t try to pressure other people into “improving” themselves. It’s incredibly patronising and not very exciting at Christmas.
4 simple guidelines on Christmas gifts for employees
Keep a few ideas in mind when you’re looking to gift to stay on the safe side.
1. Be fair
It’s a gift, not a bonus. No one should feel hard done by when you save the lion’s share of your gift budget for the best performers.
2. Be consistent
Pick a price range you’re confident you can stick to next year too. A big blowout one year and little the next isn’t great for internal credibility.
It gives off uncomfortable boom/bust vibes.
3. No company logos
We love employee engagement but we don’t want to see staff turned into walking billboards for their company.
Let your employees enjoy their gift without having to sport the corporate logo everywhere they go.
4. Keep HMRC happy
Keep in mind the value of what you gift is subject to tax regulations. Especially if the cash-value of your gifts adds up to more than £50 per employee over the year.
Talk to your finance people and make sure you keep everything square with the tax man when gifting.
Remember: There’s no need to stress about it
If you’re stressing about it, let me stop you right there. Just get the basics right.
Put the effort in, try your best to anticipate the tastes of your employees, and act in earnest gratitude. Hit those notes and you’ll be alright.
And if you’re still not sure, get in touch with us. We’d be happy to talk you through a few options.