Gift_BirthdayWe all treat our employees in different ways at the end of the year. Some businesses give bonuses, some extra vacation days, and some give out turkeys as a means of thanks! We reached out to our pool of small business experts and asked them how they thank their employees at the end of the year. Here are our top ten answers: 

During the holidays we always give our employees a bonus as a way to show thanks for all their hard work throughout the year. We also feel that spending time with family is important so we try to be as flexible as possible with time off and vacation days so that they can travel on the less crowded holiday days. Everyone on our team works so hard during the year it’s important to be able to unplug totally and unwind with family as much as possible, after all, family is what is most important and what motivates mostly everyone to give their best back at the office.” -David Batchelor,  

“We thank our employees by giving out cash bonuses and donations to charities in their names.” –Elizabeth Frisch, The Thrival Company 

Originally I wanted to treat everyone to murder mystery theater, but because of time constraints I decided to take the team (and some or their family members) to a nice Brazilian Steakhouse. Yum! They will also be getting a surprise bonus!” -Jared Carrizales, Heroic Search

“At the end of the year I like rewarding my employees with with a personal handwritten letter detailing all their highlights and accomplishments for the year. The handwritten letter is to let my employees know how much I appreciate them for their hard work. Along with the letter I would give them a $500 gift card as a little bonus reward. However giving out turkeys just might be a better idea!” -Lisa Chu, Black N Bianco 

“We stick with giving Bonus Baskets, or an employee bonus day.” -Scott Anthony, Punxsy Pizza

“As a PR Consultant, I reward my employees many ways: gift cards to Starbucks, movie theaters, dinner out for two, half days, or 3 day weekends.” -Jerome Cleary,

“As a team-building company working hard for other companies that reward their employees, it makes our job, or my job, harder. So the end of the year we do a combination of things:

1. We get the employees something branded for the company- this year fleece blankets, last year fleece jackets (doubles as warmth in a cold office).
2. We do a dual holiday event. During the day we volunteer at a
homeless shelter and at dinner we will prepare our own meals in a Chopped-Style competition.
3. We reward employees with a share of the profit based on their tenure and contribution.
4. It started with our own family Thanksgiving where we invited employees and guests into our home to share a pre-Thanksgiving feast, this year it was catered, last year- a pot luck.

We also decorate the office from Halloween to the Holiday Season.” -David B. Goldstein, TeamBonding

“Kavaliro, an award-winning staffing agency headquartered in Orlando, Fla., has great end of the year rewards for employees! Kavaliro awards top-performing employees with a Ring of Fire trip to an exotic location. Last year, the team jetted off to Cancun, Mexico for a tropical getaway. It also hosts an annual conference at Universal & Disney, where the team is treated to a weekend stay at the resorts and gets to spend time bonding together at Orlando’s popular theme parks.” -Bill Peppler , Kavaliro

“At the end of every year, we like to throw a corporate party for the holidays. We hold them in different locations and sometimes we might take everyone out on a boat for some fishing, go bowling, or just decide to stick to a nice traditional restaurant, etc. We always cover all expenses, including the cost of cab rides home at the end of the night. It’s an event that all of our employees look forward to and it really helps relieve any build up of stress they may be feeling during the busy holiday season.”   Ian Aronovich,

“I run a newer small business and have to operate on a budget. Offering big bonuses or lavishing my employees with expensive electronic gifts just aren’t feasible options. Instead, we are celebrating as a team with a holiday party outside the office and giving a few extra paid vacation days over the holidays, allowing us to recharge and spend time with families, which can truly be more important than a gift card or coffee mug. I’m also writing personal thank you notes, that celebrates one our newly minted cultural twists of haikus. Who doesn’t love a haiku for Christmas?” -Irasema Jeffers, Online Amiga