7 Out-of-the-Gift-Box Ideas for Employee Gifts in 2021

By Juliet D'cruz

Deciding what to buy for employees during the holiday season is challenging for businesses. On the one hand, you want to express your appreciation adequately and make employees feel valued. But, on the other hand, you have a budget to consider—especially those with many employees. If you’re toeing the line between overly generic gifts and keeping your budget in the green, here are seven unique ideas for employee gifts this holiday season. 

Give the gift of a holiday dinner

Any employee will tell you that the gift of time and less stress makes them feel appreciated and seen. When you’re swamped with quarterly deadlines, holiday shopping, and coordinating parties between friends and family, the gift of a meal taken care of can be worth its weight in gold. Companies like PFR Corporate Gifts can provide various entree options for these special meals. If you’re stumped for what to give, consider the gift of a full belly this season. 

Plants from a local nursery

Support your local nursery and delight employees with a plant that’s suitable for indoor office lighting. Or, offer the choice between a low-maintenance plant or a succulent set. Both options are great for the environment and show employees you care. 

If employees prefer, they can use the plant at home to bring positive energy into their living space.

To go the extra mile, invite your local nursery team to visit your office for an afternoon and offer a mini-class on plant maintenance, how to care for their new plants, and advice on the upcoming planting season. 

Express your thoughts with a letterboard

Help employees express themselves with a mini-letterboard they can sit on their desks. This option works great for those in the office or those working remotely. 

Encourage employees to get creative, post fun messages, relay inspiring quotes, or use it as a reminder tool. Employees can also take them home and it to their home decor. 

Personalized glassware

Customize pint glasses, beer mugs, or rocks glasses (which can be used for non-alcoholic drinks, too) with your city name, corporate logo, or a company tagline. Glassware makes a fun yet practical gift choice for anyone. 

Personalized glassware also pairs well with a cocktail mix, recipe cards, or a coffee/tea gift card to a local coffee shop. 

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Local class pass

Partner with your local culinary shop or dance studio to give your employees a fun day to look forward to. Purchase a local class pass for short cookery courses, yoga class, or dance class and offer employees the chance to choose their favorite. 

If you’re feeling generous, invite some of your local businesses to the office for a free lunchtime yoga class or cooking demonstration in the breakroom. Employees will appreciate the gesture, and the companies are likely to benefit from additional sign-ups. 

Custom power banks

Everyone can relate to a dying cell phone with no charging outlet in sight. Order customized power banks with your company logo, tagline, or an inspirational quote, and employees will be delighted with this practical gift. 

A snack or dessert-theme basket

Who doesn’t love a fun snack or sweet treat around the holidays? Work with your local community or a large retail shop to provide a snack or dessert-themed basket full of holiday goodies for your employees. Include cookies, popcorn, snack dips, crackers, or chocolate—or create your local mix.

Final thoughts

Employees typically don’t expect high-value or unique gifts during the holidays. However, employees expect their companies to be thoughtful and appreciate their hard work. Regardless of which gift idea you choose, be sure to include a note of gratitude with each gift and, if possible, personalize the message. 

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