3 Meaningful, Memorable, Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Employees

I know you laughed as hard as I did…

A corporate Christmas gift, from a corporate big-wig, sent to a corporate weeny. It was a ridiculously funny scene. It was art imitating life. It hit close to home.

It was the Christmas gift (or some version of it) we could all see ourselves receiving from a terrible boss, at a terrible company.

27 years ago, on December 1st, Clark W. Griswold reminded the world just how bad a corporate gift could be when he received a “1-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club.”

It was more than thoughtless, it did nothing to thank Clark for his hard work or show him that his company cared.

Why should this matter to you?

Because, first and foremost, you don’t want to be dragged out of your house by cousin Eddy, bound in a red bow, and delivered to a disgruntled employee. More so, you don’t run some large corporation with a mountain of cash and infinite time to spend on corporate parties. I know you want more for your employees than Jelly of the Month.

You want to make a difference.

You want to give your employees (who bend over backward for you) a meaningful, memorable gift; something that shows them you truly care. Click to Tweet >

So, if you are lost for ideas and think (like I do) that the countless holiday-gift-idea-Internet-posts are garbage, read on. I’m about to share 3 meaningful, memorable, and welcome holiday gift ideas that I’ve received from great small business owners like yourself.

1. Give the Burden of Gift-Buying to Your Employees


If you believe the only thing worse than buying your employee a bad gift is asking them to spend their hard-earned cash instead, think again. I spent a memorable Christmas party buying gifts for others. Click to Tweet >

One morning, my boss asked us if, instead of buying gifts for each other, we wished to donate to a local children's hospital collectively. Most of us did. Anyone who didn’t still participated and the boss added a substantial amount to the pot himself.

The next day, we gathered in a meeting room with a laptop and a projector, visited Amazon.com, and loaded up on nearly $3,000 worth of toys and games.

We bought everything in sight, adding anything that looked awesome to our cart. It took 2 hours to spend the money and we had a blast picking out fun toys for kids in need.

A few weeks later, the hospital sent a deeply appreciative note thanking us for our generosity. It didn’t take much from any one of us, but together we were happy to have made a difference.

2. Ask Your Employees to Work More

When it comes to work, Teddy Roosevelt said it best:

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

Every year, officers from our county police station line up for a chance to monitor the local Christmas parade. Why? Because they are offered overtime pay for meaningful, fun, and laid back work.

Do you have upcoming busy times this season? Why not ask your staff to help for extra cash?

Make it fun when they come into work, cut them a big paycheck for helping, and thank them for bailing you out. They’ll have extra spending money and will feel they made an impact on your organization.

3. Don’t Give Them Scheduled Time Off

Don’t get me wrong, scheduled time off is nice. During the holidays, it may be expected.

But here’s something better than an expected gift… a surprise. Click to Tweet >

Years ago, our owner called a lunch meeting one Thursday morning. He thanked us for a great year, pointed out individual accomplishments, and bought lunch.

He went on to say he looked forward to a great new year, then cut us loose for the holidays. A full day and a half before our planned vacation, we wrapped up and headed home… taking Thursday afternoon (and all of Friday) off.

This may not sound like much, but the unexpected time spent with family and the surprise of returning home early was a gift we all appreciated (and remembered).

Don’t Fall for Jelly of the Month Club


Are these the only ideas? No.

These are a few simple ways former bosses treated me in a meaningful, memorable way.

As for the “standard” holiday gift ideas? Consider this:

Your employees spend enough time at work… don’t invite them to a holiday party. What are they going to do? Talk about work? Wish they were home? Wish they had more money to buy bigger gifts for friends and family?

I would.

What about a gift? Forget it. Your employees work too hard. Unless you know them extremely well, they’re not going to like it. They might appreciate your thoughtfulness, but most likely they’ll wonder why you didn’t do more.

Your employees deserve more than scheduled time off or an expected bonus. Surprise them with something thoughtful, meaningful, and memorable. Click to Tweet >

Take these ideas as a starting point. You’ll feel your staff’s appreciation and watch them work harder for you in the coming year.

About the Author

Michael Mehlberg

Michael Mehlberg helps small businesses owners achieve their goals and live their passion. His approach to technology, corporate strategy, product development, marketing, and sales is both practical and highly effective, and has helped multiple small businesses grow into the company their owners envisioned. Reach out by emailing him at mike@moderndavinci.net or learn more on our About page.