Top 20 Christmas Gifts Ideas for Staff

28 Nov 2022

Are you the person responsible for arranging your employees’ Christmas gifts? With so many personalities to cater for, the task of selecting employee appreciation gifts can seem overwhelming. But the good news is, we’re here to help.

First, let’s remind ourselves of the importance of spreading festive joy with gifts for employees during the holiday season.

We recently surveyed a cross-section of employees from across the UK to get a snapshot of what they want when it comes to the perfect holiday gifts. No less than 60% of recipients believed that their companies were bad at gifts for office staff. A troublesome statistic when you consider that emerging talent are three times as likely to consider leaving an organisation if they don’t receive a festive stocking stuffer.

The research also unveiled that novelty gifts or branded office supplies will no longer suffice. Meaningful gifts for coworkers should offer your entire team – including remote employees – a wide variety of choices and flexibility. This is particularly important when you consider that one-third of UK employees would contemplate joining a new business if they were to give Christmas gift cards. 

“This year’s festive challenge is for employers to gift smart,” says Chris Ronald, VP, EMEA Incentives, Blackhawk Network. “Providing rewards as a ‘thank you’ plays an important role in ensuring that staff feel appreciated. Even small gestures can go a long way in building loyalty and bringing some festive cheer to hard-working teams.”

Our research has shown that if you get your office gifts right, the benefits are incredible:

  • Employee rewards encourage colleagues to work harder
  • Employee rewards make employees want to stay with their employers for longer
  • Employee rewards make staff members feel valued and less likely to experience burnout

So, without further ado, here are 20 thoughtful Christmas gift ideas that are meaningful and memorable, won’t blow your corporate gifts budget, and will go some way to ensuring your employees view your business as ‘Employer of the Month’.

1. Christmas bonus

The second favourite perfect gift for employees in the Blackhawk Network 2022 UK Holiday Branded Pay Study was a bonus, with 44%. This backs up previous research that found most employees believe they deserve a bonus – no matter how big or small – as it indicates that they are valued and appreciated. As a result, over one-fifth of those surveyed said that a festive financial boost would make them work even harder.

One thing to consider when giving cash to employees as a Christmas bonus is that, because it counts as earnings, you will need to add the value to their other earnings and deduct and pay tax and National Insurance on the bonus. You can discover more information here.

2. Additional holiday

Extra paid leave was another employee favourite in our research into thoughtful gifts for employees. If your business can’t stretch to reward staff with a cash bonus or lavish gifts, gifting additional time off is a great alternative.

This is particularly true during the holiday season when staff can use the extra time off for Christmas shopping or to tick off a few jobs from their festive to-do list. They could also use the time to make the most of the most wonderful time of the year by visiting local Christmas markets or socialising with friends.

As such, gifting additional leave can help your staff de-stress during what can be a hectic time of the year.

3. Food gifts

With 39% of people planning to spend less on food and drink this Christmas than in 2021, gifting edible treats could prove popular with your employees.

Whether it’s indulgent hampers, sumptuous gift baskets, or afternoon tea in a box, food gifts are perfect for a diverse workforce as they can contain a variety of items, including a bottle of wine, to suit all tastes which will last well into the new year.

One thing to consider when gifting food and drink is whether your employees have any dietary requirements or allergies and to tailor the offering to the individual.

4. Free lunch

Still on the foodie theme, gifting a free lunch also rated highly in our research. Christmas is, of course, the perfect time for socialising, and a meal out with colleagues can help to get everyone into the Christmas spirit.

This option is particularly effective for strengthening company culture in a time of remote and flexible working as it brings everyone together, which can help to boost team morale and strengthen employee relationships.

5. Dress down days

While giving your staff the option to wear casual clothes to work may not seem like it would appear on a cool gifts list at first glance, introducing a relaxed dress code at work is a great way to let your employees express themselves, fosters a sense of community, and can boost staff morale, according to Indeed.

Plus, of course, as it’s Christmas, casual dress days are the perfect excuse to encourage your employees to showcase their Christmas jumpers! You could also turn your casual dress day into a charity fundraiser by holding it on 8 December, which is Christmas Jumper Day, Save the Children’s annual event to raise money for children in the UK and across the world.

6. Christmas Eve gift box

A great way to extend the festive fun is with a gift that will make your employees feel that Christmas has come early: a Christmas Eve gift box.

As the name suggests, a Christmas Eve gift box is a container full of festive goodies and treats for your employees to enjoy at home ahead of the big day. Whether you fill it with personalised gifts, cold drinks, desk accessories, or water bottles, it’s guaranteed to make the night before Christmas extra memorable.

7. Team treats

The holiday season is a great excuse to bring your departments together to socialise, bond, and strengthen relationships. This is particularly important in an age where workforces are becoming increasingly remote.

Whether it’s a night at the theatre, visiting an indoor climbing centre, or organising an extra special social gathering, these team treats can create long-lasting memories. Plus, as it’s Christmas, there’s the local pantomime or carol concert to consider to make the occasion particularly festive.

8. Subscription gifts

When you’re shopping for team gift ideas, subscriptions are a good way to tailor your offering to an employee’s likes and dislikes. For example, you can choose from a variety of magazine subscriptions or music and TV subscriptions that are as diverse as your workforce.

Subscription gifts are also a good way of gifting something that lasts into the new year and beyond – spreading the feel-good joy for longer.

9. Christmas countdown

Who says that advent calendars are just for kids? Not us. Gifting your employees an advent calendar or 12 days of Christmas-style packages lets you keep the festive fun going with smaller gifts over the space of a few days. This is a great option for a remote workforce as everyone loves to receive surprises in the post.

You could even personalise the Christmas countdown gifts or advent calendar with images of your staff or interesting facts about your company.

10. Make a charitable donation

With 70% of young employees wanting a career that changes the world for the better, making a charitable donation in their name is a thoughtful Christmas gift idea to consider.

One way to make it more personal is by asking your employees to nominate the charities or causes that mean the most to them.

11. Shareable gifts

Gifts that are usable and shareable are always amongst the favourite gifts for employees. That’s because they either have a purpose or can be enjoyed with others.

For example, gifts that the whole family can use include a hamper full of treats for all ages, passes to a local National Trust property, cinema tickets, or a photo book voucher. Whereas useful gifts that your employees will love to use around the house either by themselves or with others include kitchen utensils, garden tools and equipment, and board games and video games.

12. Remote working gifts

With over eight in 10 employees who worked from home during Covid planning to continue hybrid working, home office equipment to help with remote working is a considerate gift option.

For example, standing desk converters can help ensure employees aren’t sat down all day, a yoga mat could encourage them to take a wellbeing break, and noise-cancelling headphones can be a saving grace if they’re working from home.

13. Plants

Numerous studies have shown the positive benefits of being around plants. A bacterium in plant soil has been found to boost mood and reduce anxiety and indoor plants can increase creativity in the workplace.

So, gifting your staff a house plant or bonsai tree starter kit for their desk space could lead to year-round benefits.

14. Hobby gifts

What do your employees love doing in their free time? Sending out a staff survey to discover their hobbies and pastimes empowers you to select thoughtful gifts tailored to them.

Whether it’s gardening, cooking, sewing, jigsaw puzzles, adult colouring books, sudoku or puzzle books, the opportunity is there to show that your company values each and every employee.

15. Magical memories

Gifting your employees a memorable experience will not only create a lasting memory for them but it is a positive emotion that they will associate with your organisation long after the Christmas decorations are packed away in the loft.

Our Envy Experience packages include various real-life experiences ranging from spa days and balloon rides to afternoon teas. In fact, there are over 5,000 experiences (to suit all budgets) for your employees to choose from and you can also add a personalised message.

16. Christmas food gift cards

Christmas is a costly time of year, and with the rising cost of living, gifting Christmas food gift cards or eGifts can help your staff prepare for the holiday season.

Our Select Groceries vouchers, for example, can be used to purchase festive food and drink at various food outlets such as Aldi, ASDA, Iceland, John Lewis & Waitrose, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, and Tesco.

17. Professional growth

As the world of work continues to evolve since the pandemic, employees are increasingly looking for ways to advance their careers with professional development opportunities.

That’s why offering your staff opportunities to grow or further their education, such as with a learning service subscription, shows that you are investing in their future. Research has shown that offering opportunities for professional development can help boost staff retention, team performance, and business growth.

18. A day of Christmas fun

Our recent research uncovered that only 10% of employees actually wanted a Christmas party. Instead, you could consider hosting a day of Christmas fun.

Essentially, this is a day of activities designed to bring your workforce together. This could include hosting a festive quiz, visits to a secret Santa’s grotto, having a Christmas treasure hunt, a Christmas carol karaoke, or a gingerbread house-building competition. However you choose to fill your day of Christmas fun, it’s a great way to bring joy to your workforce.

19. Personalised notebooks

Notebooks are an office essential. Gifting branded notebooks in your company colours can help to foster a sense of belonging and being part of a team, plus you can personalise the notebooks with your employees’ names.

The personalised notebooks don’t have to be work-related, of course. Gifting diaries or bullet journals for documenting your employees’ personal goals and to-do lists shows that you value a healthy work-life balance.

20. Gift cards

Gift cards are, by far, the most popular employee Christmas gift, according to our recent research. 64% of those surveyed said it was their favourite and gift cards were more popular than Christmas parties, paid time off, and branded merchandise. Plus, 29% of recipients re-gift the card to someone else.

The popularity of gift cards is that they let employees choose what they want. Our gift card and eGift card selection of single and multi-retailer cards can be used with a wide variety of top brands for eating out, entertainment and leisure, fashion and beauty, and home and garden. They can be bought in bulk and customised to your brand. You can also choose how much value to add to each card and we take care of everything when distributing them to your employees.

If our gift guide has inspired you to treat your employees to gift cards this Christmas, get in touch today on 020 4517 5862.

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