Sometimes, it feels like we were just celebrating the Fourth of July and then we blinked and it’s the holiday season! As the end of the year approaches, HR professionals are hard at work filling their offices with holiday cheer. And the one thing that’s at the top of many lists? Employee gifts!

And while 94% of employees in a recent survey said they want some form of seasonal gift, remember that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bonus to make your employees feel valued and appreciated. Plus, for many companies, a unique employee gift aligns more closely with the company culture. Check out some out-of-the-box options that will have your employees smiling for the rest of the year!

Holiday Party

What better way to celebrate the end of the year than a company-wide holiday party? You may be thinking of the costs associated with something like this. However, it’s possible to keep a holiday celebration under budget! If possible, utilize your own office space and suggest a potluck, encouraging employees to bring in their favorite dishes to share with their coworkers. You can even hold a gift exchange like a Secret Santa or White Elephant – make sure to include a modest value for the gifts so employees don’t feel pressured to spend big bucks on anything. This is a great way for your employees to get together outside of the normal work hours and celebrate the holidays!

Extra PTO

According to a recent survey, almost 30% of employees said what they’d most want from their company is a few extra hours here or there to spend with their loved ones. As a holiday gift, offer employees an extra vacation day or close the office slightly early leading up to the holidays as a special treat. Work tends to slow down as the quarter comes to a close, so you likely won’t experience a strong impact in output, and you’ll have some happy coworkers who return from their holiday refreshed and ready to get back to work.

Charitable Donations

You know what they say – this is the season of giving! So why not give back on behalf of your employees as their gift? You can make a small (or large!) donation to the charity of your employee’s choice in his or her name, or choose a few options and give them the choice. Bonus points if you pick charities that give back directly to your local community! Not only are you paying it forward in a big way, but your employees will appreciate your charitable thinking. If you want to make it a bit more personal, you can even schedule a day of volunteering at a local charity where your employees can give back themselves.

Productivity Gifts

For some employees, there’s nothing better than unwrapping an actual, physical gift. Make it a win-win and seek out gifts that your employees will love and you can enjoy as well. For example, do you ever hear of employees complaining of bad backs or sore wrists due to typing at their desks all day? Give them a new ergonomic keyboard or chair! Is your sales department dying for branded apparel they can wear to important client meetings? Try presenting them with a branded polo or vest! These are gifts that they’ll enjoy and use, plus they’ll appreciate knowing that you’ve heard their requests throughout the year!

Rewards & Recognition Dollars

Sometimes, a monetary gift really is the way to go! But instead of simply writing your employee an impersonal check, why not use your Rewards & Recognition program to say happy holidays? Not only can you customize it by including a personal note of gratitude and appreciation, but it also gives your employees the opportunity to redeem for a gift card for a number of different stores! Whether they want to treat themselves to something special or use it to help them for holiday gift-buying, rewards and recognition credits give your employees the freedom to buy what they want and the knowledge that they’re being recognized for a job well done. Want to learn more about rewards and recognition programs? Get started here!

Holiday gifts can be a tough thing to navigate, as you want to reward and recognize your employees, but still find something that feels unique to your company and culture (and doesn’t break the bank). Try any of these options and you’ll have some happy employees!

About Amy Ridder

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