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Year-End Gifts for Staff?

year end staff giftsI am looking for ideas re: staff gifts at the end of the year.  We have done things in the past such as gift cards, hams, bottles of wine, etc.  But I was hoping to get a bit more creative so the gifts continue to have meaning, even though the cost is small ($25-30 per person). 

Any suggestions?  Thank you. 


Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Bill - How well do you know your staff? For the past two years, I have given my clerical-level coworkers a gift. Last year each received a gift card from their favorite restaurant. I had to do some digging to ensure I got the correct one. This year I got them all, expect one, a gift card to a certain department store. Each of these ladies shop religiously at this particular store. They know when sales are happening more so than the sales staff. The one exception doesn't shop at all. Her husband does it for her. So she will be receiving a gift card to her favorite place to eat.

The most meaningful gifts are the ones that take thought, in my opinion. So whether it is wine, ham, gift cards, I think it is the thought behind it. Not the thought that you did it, although that is great, but the thought that goes into the specific gift, I think it then has a deeper meaning.

Depending on the size of your organization, you may not know your employees well. You still have time to do some covert-investigations on them.

Things Remembered has neat items that are in the range of $25-30. These items can be professional, and show a level of genuine thanks for a job well done.

Regardless of your decision, best of luck.

Bill Chorba
Title: CFO
Company: NineSigma, Inc.
(CFO, NineSigma, Inc.) |

Thanks, Chris, good thoughts and I appreciate you taking the time to provide insight. Happy holidays!

Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

I sent gift towers to their home addresses from wine & country that contained chocolates and cookies. $25 range. They appreciated the personal note and the fact it was delivered to their home to enjoy with their family.

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

We typically give out AMEX $25 gift cards as they can spend them almost anywhere. Please be careful of W-2 reporting issues. Any cash compensation is reportable. A holiday gift like a $25 turkey certificate is not reportable. I will post the IRS guide on this in "Resources."

Don Cox
Title: CFO
Company: DKI
(CFO, DKI) |

A couple years ago I brought in a massage therapist (chair massages) for my staff. Each received about 20 minutes of stress relief. This gift was well received and cost about what you intend to spend.

Topic Expert
Linda Wright
Title: Consultant
Company: Wright Consulting
(Consultant, Wright Consulting) |

Like Patrick, I have used AMEX cards to good effect. I also got good results, surprisingly, with Target and Home Depot gift cards.

Tricia Havis
Title: General Manager
Company: Associated Background Check Inc.
LinkedIn Profile
(General Manager, Associated Background Check Inc.) |

Plants are nice; gift certificates for movie theaters; mall gift certificates (I only recently found out that some shopping malls themselves have gift certificates that can be used in any of their stores); gift codes for online stores like if you have any online shoppers; personalized desk or office items; one company I worked for gave steaks; gift certificates for spas or places like that; if your work environment is generally stressful, then something relaxing like a desk or table top fountain or aromatherapy.... some things you have to really know what people like individually to get something personal -- do they have kids? are they pet lovers? you might incorporate a family or pet-related gift or themed gift. Just some thoughts.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Assuming this is above and beyond a corporate bonus; why not poll you staff on charities or issues that they feel the most passionate about and make a donation.

From my perspective as a victim of Sandy, donate where your money will reach the people directly. Too many, with good intentions, donate to charities and the money is never seen where the donor intended it to go.

Marie Ridall
Title: Director of Human Resources
Company: AlignAlytics
(Director of Human Resources, AlignAlytics) |

I use a company that has a plateau level gift program for both holidays and milestone service anniversaries. Prices range from $25, $50, $75, $100 up to $2,000. Recipients are given a booklet/catalog along with a redemption certificate and a custom insert sheet with our company logo and message so it makes a nice presentation. One advantage is that you can give different levels but since the booklets look the same no one has to know that you gave one group a $25 gift and the other a $75 gift. The thing our employees like the most is that they get to choose the gift (I like it too). Management likes that employees don't see the dollar value (as in gift cards).

Jaime Campbell
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Tier One Services, LLC
(Chief Financial Officer, Tier One Services, LLC) |

I have one client and one referral source each in the gift basket industry who are incredibly busy every December. Organizations who purchase gift baskets with a touch of personalization garner a LOT of loyalty from employees and top customers.

People who receive unpersonalized gifts are...let's say...a bit less happy, a bit less loyal...because the personal connection just isn't there, and that's what we human beings live for after food/clothing/shelter. Social acceptance. It's a brain thing.

Feel free to reach out to me privately for the contact information for either or both of these magnificent companies.

Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

This just popped in my head as I was reading this.......

.... a day or two of Vacation Leave (on top of what they are already enjoying)

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |


In my own experience, "gifts" from a company are often not appreciated the way managers might want them to be. Particularly when the recipients receive a smaller net paycheck on the next payroll cycle because the organization applies income tax rules to the gross value of the item received.

And, sometimes employees, myself included, see personal gifts as infringement on personal life. For instance, our ex-sales person CEO tracks everyone's birthdays, including ages and family events and sends flowers, etc. But, when flowers are sent to an employee's spouse as sympathy for a death in that spouse's family, a line is crossed between employer and an employee's personal life that is best avoided.

Too often, gifts are corporate and crass and meant to imply a deeper, personal relationship that isn't real.

But, in my years of experience with employees at all levels, I've can't tell you how many times someone has said they'd gladly take an extra day off rather than receive a ham or get flowers, etc.

I see this as win-win. And, it maintains the proper relationship between corporate work world and an employee's private life.

Not to be a wet blanket but, this idea that we should all be a "big, happy family at work", and idea from which this gift giving springs, is bogus. It is better to stay away from the family concept at work. It isn't personal. It's just business. And, it's a two way street.

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Those are all valid points, Anonymous User. Plus, anyone that has been on Proformative long enough knows that you may not mean to be a "wet blanket", but your comments nearly always indicate you enjoy being one. Call it being a realist if you would like.

However, I have worked at a place before where I was just an employee with little value to owners, managers, and the like. Now I work for a company that values its employees. My opinion is that more people want to be cared for and valued than not. Why else are there so many articles, blog, books, etc., about getting to a better balance between work and life?

If soft skills in management were not talked about so much now, I could see your points. However, soft skills are becoming more and more important. Soft skills are what causes people to enjoy where they work. In the absence of caring, your work place looks more like a Dilbert cartoon than an enjoyable place to work.

As much time as we spend at work, there should at least be a small sense of being a "big, happy family."

An extra day off would be good. I certainly agree with that.

Lynn Fountain
Title: MBA CGMA CRMA, Past Chief Audit Executiv..
Company: Business Consultant
LinkedIn Profile
(MBA CGMA CRMA, Past Chief Audit Executive, Business Consultant) |

I read some of the comments. As a past auditor I would also be very careful about what the gift is and W-2 reporting issues. The IRS is getting tougher on these thing. Gift card can be considered cash and thus reportable n

I've seen some managers do special things for employees through a thank you party. There are ways you can say thank you without specifically handing over a "gift".


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