How to Select Holiday Presents for Employees

Finding just the right gift for employees can be tricky. On the one hand, the most streamlined method is to go the one-size-fits-all route. On the other hand, it’s often tough to come up with a gift that will please every employee. It’s also important to keep expectations in mind. If your employees have come to count on something in particular because of tradition, you may want to test the waters before making a change. Here are a few helpful guidelines for buying gifts for your staff this holiday season.


Step 1

Think locally. Consider items available in your area which would make suitable holiday gifts. Remember that because of the high cost of postage and shipping, you will probably be able to get a lot more for your money. For example, you might be able to arrange for a local company to put together gift baskets of fruit and other edibles for a fraction of what you would need to pay if ordering similar items which would need to be shipped. Dealing with a local merchant also might give you the opportunity to obtain a locally manufactured gift item in bulk at a discount.

Step 2

Provide your employees with a gift of entertainment of their choice by presenting them with gift certificates to a central ticket distribution center like Ticketmaster. These cards can be redeemed for music, sports and theater events as well as all kinds of family entertainment such as ice shows and the circus. Cards are available in a variety of denominations. See link below for purchasing information.

Step 3

Check out companies which offer catalogs displaying a choice of various items (without prices) from which employees can make their own gift selections. Simply slip the catalogs into large white envelopes, attach gold ribbon and festive gift tags. See link below for an example of this kind of catalog.

Step 4

Give books of movie tickets to large chains such as AMC. For an attractive presentation, you might place these in empty popcorn containers along with colorful tissue.

Step 5

Play Santa Claus by asking employees to submit a list of three or four gifts that they would like Santa to bring and then surprise them with one item on the list. You’ll probably need to mention up front what kind of budget the elves will be working with so that Ferraris don’t top everyone’s list.

Tips and Warnings

For instant shopping, check out the huge variety of gift cards available at grocery, drug, and department stores. Tucked into an attractive greeting card, these gift cards are always a hit. Stay away from decorative items or those which are merely upscale advertisements for your company. No matter how attractive you consider that porcelain vase, it’s not likely to be to the taste or to match the decorating style of your employees. No matter how lovely that silver tray appears, once you engrave it with your company logo, it simply becomes an addition to the basement junk pile.

About this Author

Peggy Epstein is a freelance writer specializing in education and parenting. She has authored two books, "Great Ideas for Grandkids" and "Family Writes," and published more than 100 articles for various print and online publications. Epstein is also a former public school teacher with 25 years' experience. She received a Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction from the University of Missouri.

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