Getting your employee holiday gifts right is more important than you think.
Almost 60% of employees believe a “meaningful” holiday gift from an employer would make them more likely to stay in their current position.
But how do you find the right gifts for your people? How do you make them meaningful and personalized, yet still practical and affordable? How do you cater to staff of different generations? Or employees working in different positions?
We like to think we know a thing or two about employee gifting here at Guusto. So we’ve put our heads together to come up with this list of creative, fun, and unique holiday gifts for employees.
We’ve also divided these ideas into different categories to help you find the perfect gifts for your team. Whether you’re dealing with deskless workers, office staff, remote employees, or all three, you’ll find something that will wow your team here!
Unique holiday gifts for employees at any company
Let’s kick things off with a few all-purpose ideas that work for any employee. Whether they’re frontline staff to remote workers, students or seniors, these are the kind of employee holiday gift ideas that everyone can appreciate.
1. Fitness tracker
With the pandemic meaning gyms and other fitness outlets were often closed, the past few years have made it challenging for people to maintain their physical fitness.
Even as lockdowns have lifted, employees have struggled to get back into their old routines with the shift to remote and hybrid work.
You can let your employees know you care about their health and wellness by gifting them a fitness tracker or smartwatch.
As the New Year begins, you might even use this employee holiday gift to run fitness challenges, with rewards for participation. It’s a fun way to engage your employees and promote health and wellness, all at the same time.
2. Cooling towel
Whether it’s for a hot summer day, doing yard work, or going for a jog, a cooling towel can be just the thing your staff needs outside of work hours (or even during work if they’re doing a lot of physical activity). For a cooling towel to work, you must soak it for two to three minutes in water. Then, wring them out before using them.
Cooling towels are water-activated, and use evaporation to draw water away from your body. They not only help you stay hydrated, but also prevent stroke and heat exhaustion.
3. LED Cinema Box Light
If you’re looking for a workspace upgrade that works at home or in the office, an LED Cinema Box Light makes an excellent desk decoration. Your employees can place them alongside their workstations and create their own words or phrases that will brighten their day.
You can even run a contest. Have your staff take a snapshot of their workstation and offer a Guusto gift card for the best photo and phrase.
These actually make great holiday gifts for employees who don’t work at desks too, as they can use them to spruce up their home decor.
4. Extra time off
Of course, sometimes there’s no need to overthink things. For instance, one easy and greatly underrated gift you can give employees is time. At your holiday party, surprise them with extra PTO. With no packaging or delivery required, it’s a gift that takes no time or effort to send, either.
The downside, of course, is that it may be difficult for your company to accommodate, and you may need to work hard to get buy-in from management.
Company holiday gift ideas for deskless workers
One of the downsides we’ve noticed about these kinds of lists is that they tend to focus on holiday gifts for employees who are either remote or work in an office. This automatically means that they’re not relevant to 80% of the global working population!
With that in mind, here’s a few holiday gift ideas specifically for employees who have deskless positions in industries like retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality.
5. Household and Cleaning Gifts
A lot of frontline employees spend most of their day on their feet, meaning spending their downtime doing backbreaking household chores is the last thing they want to do.
Depending on your budget, you can make life easier for your frontline employees by relieving some of their workload at home. If you can spring for it, giving them vouchers for a cleaning service will instantly make you their all-time favourite employer! Alternatively, spring for a Roomba so they can take care of the vacuuming simply by pressing a button.
6. Food delivery services
Another thing that can be hard for frontline workers after a long day is taking care of the cooking. With that in mind, a simple but much-appreciated holiday gift for employees might be gift cards for food delivery services like Uber Eats or Doordash.
Some of these apps now even offer grocery delivery services, so they can keep their fridge stocked without taking away from their free time.
7. Frontline Tech Accessories
While many companies who have remote or office workers give them tech accessories to help optimize their work setup, few employers think about doing the same for frontline employees.
You could create a tech work pack for your deskless workers, with high quality wireless headphones to listen to something while they work, or wireless chargers to keep their devices running through the day. You could also include portable UV sanitizers, convenient carry cases for devices, or anything else that might make working on the go easier.
If your company has a mix of office/remote and deskless employees, you can easily create a similar pack with items more suited to your office staff, too.
8. Spa days
Possibly one of the best holiday gifts for employees in high-pressure frontline positions might be a spa day. Your staff can get a massage treatment, enjoy a sauna or water circuit, and just let the stress melt away.
9. Cold brew coffee maker
An inexpensive employee holiday gift idea and one that could be a huge hit with your frontline staff, especially those who work early mornings.
The beauty of a cold brew coffee maker is that you can prepare your coffee the evening before you want it, stick it in the fridge, and then it brews overnight. When your employees get up for their early shift, they’ll have a delicious cold brew waiting for them, with no prep required!
Gifts for Remote Employees
At the other end of the spectrum, you may want to find unique gifts for remote employees at your company.
Remote workers enjoy very different lifestyles to those in physical workspaces, and may appreciate gifts that provide extra home comforts, or help them optimize their home office setup. Here’s a few ideas that might hit the spot.
10. WFH Office Upgrades
As people have transitioned to working from home, many companies have opted for holiday gifts that help them spruce up their home office setup.
Everything from noise canceling headphones, to office furniture like ergonomic chairs or standing desks, to smart water bottles can help to make your team’s WFH experience more enjoyable.
11. Braven BRV-S speaker
This is a wonderful speaker for any tech-savvy professional. It is IP68 waterproof, offers 12 hours of playtime, connects wirelessly, has amazing 360-degree outdoor sounds, and comes with a USB-C cable. Plus, you can make and receive calls as your phone connects to the speaker, making it a great gift for remote employees.
12. Sherpa Blanket
A lot of remote workers like to lean into enjoying the comforts of home by bundling up and getting cozy while working, especially on cold, winter days. So why not help them out by getting them a sherpa blanket?
These blankets are super comfortable, and made from a synthetic material that looks and feels like sheep’s wool. They are often referred to as “faux sheepskin,” and their name comes from the Sherpa people in Nepal. The fabric feels warmer than other fleece fabrics on the market, making it perfect for the bitter-cold times of the year.
13. Bombas Socks
Staying with the comfort aspect of working from home, Bombas socks could make winning gifts for remote employees. Some people say that they are the best socks that have ever been worn.
What makes them so great? Well, for a start, Bombas’ ankle socks have tabs for blisters. The calf socks also have a tension that is thoughtfully placed. otherwise known as “stay-up technology.” Plus, there are the no-show versions, which combine contoured seaming and heel grips to stay put.
Gift experiences for employees
Corporate gifts for employees don’t always have to be a physical item. It might make a nice change of pace to give employees experience-based gifts, where they and their loved ones can create fond memories over an afternoon or evening. Here’s a few simple ideas.
(Pro tip: While we’ll admit we’re a bit biased, we’d definitely recommend getting employees gift cards for experiences rather than giving them tickets for a set event at a set time, as it may not fit into their schedule. A gift card gives them the option to redeem their gift at a time that will suit them.)
14. Cinema tickets
Cinema tickets are a simple holiday gift idea for employees, but one almost everyone can enjoy. Your employees can treat the whole family to tickets, or go with a friend or partner. Some cinemas even offer VIP ticket options with extra legroom and more comfortable seating if they want a more luxurious experience.
The holidays are a great time for this gift, too, as many studios release must-see blockbusters during the festive season.
15. Dinner out
Another experience your employees might appreciate would be a meal out with their family, friends, or loved ones.
Like cinema tickets, this is an option that works well as a bulk gift for employees of many different backgrounds and tastes, since they can all enjoy it. After all, everyone’s gotta eat, right?
The one thing to be mindful of is that employees may not all want to eat at the same kind of restaurants. Gift card providers like Guusto can offer a wide variety of dining locations to redeem from, so each of your employees are catered for.
16. Travel gift cards
What better way to brighten up your team’s chilly winter than to help them plan their next vacation? You can give your employees gift cards for AirBnB, hotel chains, or even airlines to help fund the cost of a trip.
17. Event tickets
If you want to give your employees an experience they’ll really remember, event tickets can be a great bet. They can go to see a concert by their favourite artist, a comedy show, or even a sporting event.
Obviously, it might be tricky to find something every employee will enjoy (and secure tickets to specific events!), but you can give them gift cards to redeem at services like StubHub, so they can find an event they really want to attend.
18. Unique experiences
If you really want to think outside the box, you can get even more creative with these kinds of gifts, and treat your employees to more unusual experiences. Depending on your team’s interests, this could mean anything from an escape room, to a murder mystery experience, to something really adventurous like skydiving.
Be warned, though, we’d only recommend this option if you are 100% sure your employees will want it. You wouldn’t want to give a voucher for an escape room to someone who hates puzzles, for example – or worse, a skydiving lesson to someone who’s afraid of heights.
Subscriptions gifts for employees
If you want to really maximize the sense of appreciation your employees feel from their holiday gifts, why not get something they’ll use all year round?
You can find subscription services online for almost anything you can think of these days, and they make a great option if you want a gift that keeps on giving. Here’s a few ideas for subscriptions that work well as bulk gifts for employees.
19. Streaming services
A subscription to a streaming service can be a great holiday gift for employees, and one they will enjoy day after day. You could choose a TV and movie platform like Hulu, or a music streaming app like Spotify. Either way, it’s a gift that will have universal appeal for most of your employees.
20. AudioBook or eBook Subscriptions
If your employees are more likely to prefer curling up with a good book – or listening to one during their morning commute, for that matter – then a subscription to eBook or Audiobook service could be the way to go.
Audiobook subscriptions, in particular, can be a great gift for frontline employees if they work in positions where they can listen to something on their phones or in their vehicles as they work. They’ll be able to find thousands of titles to enjoy as they go about their days.
21. Food subscriptions
Another great option is a subscription to a food service. Companies like HelloFresh and GoodFood deliver fresh ingredients direct to people’s doors every week, together with recipe to cook up gourmet meals.
Alternatively, you could opt for monthly subscriptions that deliver different varieties of specific foods or beverages throughout the year, like coffees, fruits, or snacks.
Like many holiday gift ideas on this list, though, you’ll need to make sure you’re picking something that all of your employees will enjoy. Even if you’d love a ‘Tinned Fish of the Month’ subscription (yes, this actually exists), your team might not be too wild about it!
22. Learning & development subscriptions
For a different spin on subscription gifts, why not invest in something that will help your employees personal and professional development? You could give them subscriptions to services like MasterClass, so that they can learn new skills from experts.
The great thing about this gift is that these platforms tend to offer a lot of variety in their courses, so there will be something for everyone in your team, whether they’re looking to upskill for their career, find a new passion, or just take their favourite hobby to the next level.
Personalized gifts for employees
Looking for corporate gifts for employees with more of a personal touch? Here’s a few ideas that might speak a bit more to the individual personalities in your team, and make them feel seen and valued this festive season.
23. Personalized work accessories
If you want personalized gifts for your employees, what better option than to give them accessories for their work with their name on it? Depending on their roles, you could give them personalized day planners or cleaners, personalized office equipment, or anything else you think they might enjoy.
24. Company swag
Who doesn’t love swag? You could create some new branded goodies to use as holiday gifts for employees. You could even give your swag pack a festive theme by including ugly holiday sweaters, mugs for hot cocoa, blankets, and other items that are perfect for the season.
Alternatively, you could let them choose the swag they want for themselves. Guusto offers swag as a custom reward option for companies, meaning you can send your team a gift card and let them pick something they’ll appreciate.
25. Charitable donations
The holidays are the season of giving, and many of your employees will appreciate donations being made in their names to a worthy cause. A lot of companies have been making donations as corporate holiday gifts for years, and it’s always a good move.
Millennials and Generation Z, in particular, are extremely impact driven, and prefer companies with a strong sense of social responsibility. They will likely appreciate the opportunity to give something back rather than just receiving something themselves.
We’re huge believers in gifts that make a social impact at Guusto, too. That’s why we offer charitable donations as a custom reward option for all our gift cards. All your employees need to do is submit the charity’s details and our team will make the donation on their behalf.
Not only that, but we donate one day of clean water for every Guusto gift sent through our partnership with the One Drop Foundation.
26. Holiday peer recognition
If you really want to think outside the box for your holiday gifting, why not start a holiday peer-to-peer recognition program?
The idea is simple. If you’re using a recognition program like Guusto, then rather than giving your employees a gift directly from you, give them a temporary gift budget to recognize each other in the system during the holiday season, and show their appreciation for teammates who they feel have really made a difference for them during the year.
What could be more personalized than that? It’s a great way to spread a little holiday cheer among your team throughout the festive season. And if you find it really resonates with your people, you can always keep your peer-to-peer program going into the new year.
Employee Holiday Gift Boxes
Whether you put something together yourself or order a pre-prepared package from a provider, employee holiday gift boxes filled with goodies are a surefire way to show your people some love.
Here’s a few ideas which might work well for your team.
27. A tech pack
This is an employee holiday gift box that you’ll have to put together yourself, but it can be very worthwhile. What you need is a nice box or bag, preferably something reusable, and include the following items (as a suggestion):
- A rubberized power bank
- Charging cable
- Spot pro Bluetooth tracker
- Custom holiday message
You can include as many items as you want, but the key is to select items you know employees will use.
28. Food gift boxes
Another option is to create a delicious gift box of tasty treats for your team. A food gift box could be holiday-themed, or feature foods from around the world, or just snacks like chips, candy, and granola bars.
You can put something together yourself if you have something specific in mind, but you can also find lots of curated options online from companies like SnackNation.
29. Coffee, tea, or other drinks
Another option is to give your employees a gift box featuring gourmet coffees, teas, or even wine and beers. Again, there are lots of providers online that will create curated selections from around the world.
Do be careful, though, to be mindful of checking whether you have employees who don’t drink alcohol or caffeine. You want to make sure that your employee holiday gifts are inclusive, and that everyone on your team can enjoy them.
30. Self-care kits
If you want to help your employees unwind during their downtime, a self-care employee holiday gift box could be just the trick. These gift boxes typically include a variety of items to help employees pamper themselves at home, such as bath balms and oils, scented candles, and herbal teas.
You can also find all sorts of other employee holiday gift boxes online, including boxes featuring preserves, boxes for fitness enthusiasts, or anything else you can imagine. The key is to know what your employees like, and make sure you choose an option that they will all be happy with.
Our best employee holiday gift idea
While all of these company holiday gift ideas could potentially be a hit with your employees, finding something they will all love can be tricky. If you have a diverse workforce, everyone has different hobbies and tastes, making it nearly impossible to satisfy your whole team.
That’s where we come in…
31. Let them choose something they really want
Instead of sending your employees something that you are not sure will make the positive impact you were hoping for, you can send them a Guusto gift card to choose something they really want from our 60,000+ global merchant locations and other custom reward options.
Keep in mind, too, that you don’t have to choose just one of the employee holiday gift ideas on this list. For instance, you could give everyone on your team a holiday gift box so everyone gets a physical gift, and a Guusto gift card so they can pick out something for themselves.
Need more employee holiday gift ideas? Get our guide
If you want more corporate gift ideas, plus tips for holiday party planning, year-end recognition, and more, check out The Employee Holiday Gifting Playbook. We’ve packed this resource with insights, tools, and other goodies to help you make this holiday season truly special for your employees.
Download your copy today!
Build a culture of appreciation all year round
While holiday gifts for employees are great, it’s not the only time of year when you should be showing your appreciation. By investing in employee recognition, you can build a culture where people feel valued, have high morale, and work to help each other all year long.
And when you do, you’ll see the impact on your bottom line as well, through increased retention, productivity, innovation, and much more. In our free guide, Culture is the Ultimate Advantage, we show you how to make your people your company’s greatest strength. Fill out the form below to get your copy.
**Editor's note: This blog was originally published in July 2022, but has been updated and expanded to include additional suggestions and tips.