What Are You Gifting Your Team For The Holidays? — Experts Weigh In

With the holidays approaching, small business owners are deciding how to plan on showing their gratitude for their employees this season. Need ideas for presents to give your team? We spoke with 24 expert entrepreneurs that shared their unique ideas on special gifts for everyone!

1. When we gave our employees gift baskets two years ago, the feedback was mixed – some people loved the items we chose, and others said they would’ve rather had the option to pick themselves. Last year we rethought our approach and decided to give American Express gift cards to our employees instead. The gift cards were perfect because they allowed our employees to buy whatever they wanted for whomever they wanted. They could even use our gift to finish their own shopping list! We went with American Express specifically because we knew there were many coupon codes available at that time for purchases made with their brand of gift card. That added discount meant our employees could get the most out of their gift.  I also wanted to note that American Express is offering free shipping (coupon code: FREESHP17A) for all purchases made with their gift cards through 12/31/2017.” — Joselyn Cua, HR Manager, Promocodes.com

2. “We here at Mystery Chocolate Box get holiday gift orders from employers looking for something outside the box for any chocolate loving employees!” — Peter Messmer, CEO, Mystery Chocolate Box

3. We’re working on the idea of a catalog for employees to choose their holiday gifts. The options will range from apparel with the organizational logo to gift cards to places like Amazon or Target. The idea is to allow the employee to decide what benefits them most!” — Robin Schwartz, PHR, MFG Jobs

4.This year, we decided to fly our team and their families to Denver for a company summit, and some rest and relaxation. We’re covering travel, lodging and other expenses. We made sure this was something everyone wanted to do, and thankfully the whole team is excited about it!” — Airto Zamorano, Founder and CEO, Numana SEO

5.Of course, we’re all getting razors! With our subscription razors, 99 cents from 
all our orders go to Start Pet Rescue. Our subscription boxes have gotten positive reviews are great gifts for all!”
— Jonathan Poston, SEO Manager, 99CentRazor.com

6. We’ll gift our team float spa sessions. Game-changing addition to one’s routine, enhancing productivity, reducing anxiety and boosting creativity!” — Wallace J Nichols, Co-founder, Blue Mind Life

7.During the holidays, we usually go with traditional gift cards. This year, we were planning on kicking it up a notch. We plan to give our employees free gift baskets, Christmas ham, and a slight increase in their salaries. It’s our way of thanking our employees this Christmas holiday, and we want to make sure that we show our appreciation even in the simplest way.” — Jason Perkins, Founder and CEO, San Diego SEO Firm

8. We’re going nontraditional and gifting chocolate this year. The entire staff will love me for it…it’s a staff of 3 but I’m also gifting my clients with the same item. It’s from The Painted Pretzel.” — Raven Thomas, CEO, Phoenix Effect Group

9. “On every Christmas holiday, we usually give our employees a bonus depending on their tenure with the company. This is our way of thanking them for being the dedicated and hard-working individuals that they are. We also plan to give a way a few gifts, which we think will be useful to their productivity in the office like a personalized pen, a notebook, or a planner.” — Brad Shaw, President and CEO, Dallas Web Design Inc.

10. “For this holiday season I plan to give all of my employees a hand-written letter thanking them for their contribution to my business. I want them to feel I genuinely care and appreciate their dedication to their job. I will also include gift cards to make the gift just a little bit better. My employees are the backbones to my business and I want them to feel appreciated, especially during the holiday season.” — Lisa Chu, Owner, Black n Bianco

11. “Our gift boxes are fully customizable, easy for bulk orders, ship anywhere in the United States, and perfect gifts for employees! We have extensive gift options, including gifts under $50! Our gifts are specially tailored to businesses that value wellness and health within their company culture. Our boxes are great for people who love holiday food, health and fitness, and know that eating well is the secret to a happy work life balance. We make amazing grain-free granolas – in delicious holiday flavors like Gingerbread Cookie, Pumpkin Pie and Chai Spice.” — Kaitlin Mogentale, Chief Pulper, Pulp Pantry

12. “We have a team of 9 employees and are really excited to do something unique for our team this year. Reaching For The Stars! – This year for a holiday gift we are going to register stars for our employees! There are several sites online that allow you to register stars and name them however you would like. As our website is focused on celebrities we thought the star theme would be really fun for our employees and something that was unique, and they would enjoy. Each employee will be able to name their star however they would like and we are planning on incorporating the star naming with some office wall graphics that we can continue to add to as we grow. As we are both talking about stars (celebrities) with our product and reaching for the stars with our team goals and themes, this seemed like a unique and perfect fit for our team. Along with the star registration we are doing something a bit more traditional that helps our business and team as well by giving our employees iPads. We are going to get Space Grey iPads to stick with the star theme, which should also be a really awesome surprise to go along with the star registration.” — Mark Bechtholt, Co-Founder and CEO, FameMoose

13. “We are working on a VERY special gift for this holiday. We will take all of our staff to the mountains in Bariloche, Argentina, a really AWESOME place! It is a very expensive investment for our company, but we trust the results will be excellent. The idea is that we can do mountain activities as a team and create an additional union between all that will help us to begin a new year with this energy. In 2017 we grew our team by 204% and we are all very tired. We trust that a holiday paid by the company will be the BEST gift of all! We would love for this activity to help us solidify the team for 2018!” — Cristian Rennella, HR Director and Co-Founder, EMT

14. “This year Rubans Rouges Dance is giving the gift of music and dance. Our dancers love dancing and music, so we are gifting them iTunes gift cards and tickets to see the Nutcracker for our senior dancers. We give these gifts out at our annual holiday party, which also doubles as our photo shoot session. These photos are used for our Awakenings & Beginnings Dance Festival and for the new year/dance season. It’s a very creative time when we can enjoy one another’s company, eat a catered buffet and celebrate the season in an artsy studio. We also do special dancer shots that we then in turn give to our dancers as an additional gift. It’s a beautiful time of the year for us.” — Noelle Andressen, Artistic Director, Rubans Rouges Dance

15. “One of the best employee gifts that really get employees excited, feeling valued, and brag about are Seafood Gift Coolers from Graham & Rollins. They ship nationwide and they offer corporate rates on 10+ gift coolers! All you have to do is place the order & they do the rest – it’s really great!” — Stacie Flynn, Founder, Marketing Color

16. “1) Reward and recognition is all about experiences these days. Experiences can engage all the senses and create an emotional reaction that things can’t. Consider incorporating a volunteer opportunity staff can do together before the holiday lunch. 
2) In light of the recent natural disasters and tragedies here in the U.S., almost everyone knows of someone who has been affected. Make a donation in the name of your client or employee(s). You can provide gift cards that allow the employees to pick the charity of their choice.
3) Work with an incentive/corporate gift solution provider who can help you create a catalog of 5-10 items that would be meaningful to your employees based on their interests, age, geographic region etc.”
— Ione Terrio, Marketing and Public Relations, Incentive Marketing Association

17. “We love creating customized swag. Only buy products that you would use; things that they would feel comfortable wearing or being seen with in the wild. It’s not useful to put your logo or design on something that people aren’t going to pull out of their closet regularly. Find brands like Patagonia and North Face that can be customized. For shirts and polos, we also commonly see logos printed on sport brands like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. Think outside the box: Beach towels are one of this year’s trends because they’re both high quality and different. The branding is embroidered and you can pair it with a custom canvas bag and beach ball.” — Rob Levin, COO, RushOrderTees.com

18. “Here at PierreCardinUK.com, we offer an excellent selection of Pierre Cardin Pens & Stationery Products that can be laser engraved or printed with a corporate logo alongside a name, slogan or personalized message. We have been getting an increased number of corporate branded pens which we believe is an indication that these are being gifted out to employees, as well as potentially clients and partners too for the holiday season.” — Andrew Wheller, Marketing Assistant, Pierre Cardin Stationery

19. “At Saatva HQ, we like to experiment with different eco-friendly products and thrive off recommendations or ‘the next big thing’. Whether it’s environmentally friendly cookware or healthy food products, we trade and swap items constantly. For the holiday season, our team is stepping back into the box and choosing to gift something a bit closer to home — eco-friendly pillows and sleep masks. We’re encouraging our employees to test out our products with these fun, sustainable accessories.” — Harrison Doan, Director of Analytics, Saatva

20. “Gift A Trip! Our team is going on a trip every year because traveling is hands down the best gift for holidays. New experiences, unfamiliar cultures, exotic food are all a big part why we travel. While traveling, you get to know your team better and spend the time in a meaningful way. You will definitely make new memories together. Let’s face it, traveling doesn’t only allow you to find out more about other cultures but also see yourself and your team members from a different perspective.” — Sarunas Budrikas, Owner, Angle180

21. “Our scooters are perfect gifts for the holidays! Xootr scooters are high quality adult kick scooters, often used for commuting, exercise, and fun riding alongside kids. They have very sturdy construction – many of our customers have owned their Xootrs for 20 years – and a smooth long roll. They can handle over 800 lbs of weight, fold down in seconds, and the wide platform models allow 2 adult feet to ride side by side. They are designed by MIT mechanical engineers and award-winning Lunar Design – Steve Jobs had one! They are also hand assembled in the USA. The MG is our most popular model and great gifts for employees!” — Karl Ulrich, Owner, Xootr.com

22. “Be natural, respective and Love your Community. A simple gift and a hug will be remembered.” — Vladimir Hristov, Manager, Preserve My Community

23. “This year, instead of the typical company Christmas party, we’re having everyone out to dinner, and then we have reserved a trolley for the evening. The trolley comes equipped with free beer, wine, and cider for everyone, and is going to take us around to see the nicest Christmas light displays (as well as a few local bars/nightclubs to stop for drinks).The staff doesn’t know yet, but we’ll also do a Christmas bonus as well.”— Courtney Barbee, COO, The Bookkeeper

24. “Our employees are receiving custom bobble heads and a small sweet treat. Our company has a super-hero theme so I put the bobble heads in super hero costumes and made the head look like the employee. They’re super fun!” — Nisha Wendelken, Operations Manager, Campaign Creators

Interested in starting your own business so you can creatively gift your employees? Give us a call at 1-877-692-6772, or visit us at mycorporation.com.