7 Times You Should Think About Employee and Client Gifts that Aren’t Christmas

by Evil HR Lady on December 3, 2019

‘Tis the season for gift buying. Everyone scrambles to come up with the perfect “Holiday” gift, and then once we’ve done our Secret Santa exchange, we breathe a sigh of relief. 11.5 months until we need to think about that again!

But why is it so difficult? It’s not like December sneaks up on us. It’s not like you hire 47 new people every November who you know nothing about and for whom you need to buy presents. (Unless you work retail and then you do hire that many people, but you’re also too busy to be reading this article. We’ll see you in January.)

Now, my proposed solution to gifts is always food because I love food. But I have heard that there are people who don’t love food as I do. Or have allergies or dietary restrictions or are trying to lose the weight they gained when they took all their kids’ Halloween candy and ate it in the closet. Ahem.

What can you do to make holiday giving easy and have your employees not put you on the worst presents from bosses list? Enter Gifted. With a few clicks, you can either select Holiday gift certificates for your employees, or you can let them chose their own gift. (The latter is probably the best choice for those 47 seasonal workers you hired.)

And after you’ve done that, and your employees are happy that they don’t have to wear the sweater you thought they would love (they don’t), you may want to increase your gift-giving throughout the year.

Why? Because it makes people happy. You may not have money for massive bonuses or big raises, but an occasional small gift can make people’s days. For instance, you could think about presents for the following circumstances:

1. Birthdays. Might as well get this one out of the way. If you let your employees know that you are thinking of them, it can be a beautiful thing. While cake in the breakroom is always appreciated, a thoughtful gift (or a thoughtful gift card so your employees can choose their own gift) is always nice. One of the nice things about Gifted is that you can set up an automated program so you’ll feel like the old Ron Popiel commercials–set it and forget it!

2. Valentine’s Day. No. Do not buy your female employees chocolates while leaving your male employees to fend for themselves. Icky. If you’re going to buy a Valentine’s gift, you buy it for all employees, and everyone gets the same thing. Gifted has some Movie Tickets / Date Night gifting program for valentines which lots of people love.

3. A move. It doesn’t matter how much stuff you have in your old house; you’ll need to get some new and different things when you move. If one of your employee moves (whether it’s a company relocation or a personal choice), a gift certificate to Home Depot or Target or CB2, Wayfair and Overstock will be appreciated.

4. A successful big project. When your team has stayed late for weeks and pulled off the impossible, it’s time for a big bonus! If that’s not possible (finance is so stingy), this is a good time for a gift. And an extra day off. (Remember, comp time isn’t legal in place of overtime. Pay your overtime and give them a day off!)

5. Work anniversary. The company will take care of the big ones (probably–at least they should), but what if you remembered when each person joined your department with a small gift?

6. New Babies. Everyone loves other people’s babies (because you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night with them). Aside from the office baby shower (for new moms and new dads), a welcome back from maternity/paternity leave gift-focused either on caffeine or on diapers is an excellent booster for that tired parent. Side note: do not gift a new mom anything to do with weight loss or fitness unless you wish to be destroyed by a withering mom look.

7. Mondays. What is so special about a Monday? Because it can be hard to come back to work and face what lies ahead. A small gift on a random Monday can make your employee’s week.

Gifted (who sponsored this post) can make finding the perfect gift easy–and it’s free. Bonus:  your team members can choose their own gift. You can look thoughtful and caring in a matter of minutes and for not that much money. An effective gift doesn’t have to be Pinterest worthy; it just needs to be thoughtful and appropriate.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Dorothy Young December 3, 2019 at 2:22 pm

I’m mildly interested in a Gifted. But I won’t sign up with them just to explore their website.

This new trend in online shopping is weird and disturbing. I dint have to fill out an application with all contact information to shop at a bricks and mortar store; I won’t do it to shop online. You might let a Gifted know they lost at least one opportunity.


Micha December 3, 2019 at 7:18 pm

Hi Dorothy,

Thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback. It’s feedback like yours – from our hundreds of clients – that helps us continuously improve our user experience and offering.

From our experience – because we provide a b2b, SaaS-based solution – we have found that asking a few, basic questions aids in creating a more seamless onboarding process for our clients. We understand that some people prefer to email us to receive additional information, and that is always an option as well.

We agree with you that providing more information upfront is important, and are currently finalizing an explainer demo video that will provide potential clients, such as yourself, with a better grasp of our solution prior to leaving contact information.

We do hope that you reconsider and give us an opportunity to see if our solution could be the right fit for your company’s gifting and recognition needs.

Happy Holidays,



Judith December 3, 2019 at 4:33 pm

I agree gift-giving to employees is a beautiful idea. In the private sector this option is easy if you have a petty cash fund or expense account. Government supervisors/managers pay for all gifts given to their direct reports unless they figure out a way for it to be in their budgets and comply with rules, regulations, and laws not required by private employers. Of course, there is always the group gifting – like donuts every so often; but then, as you’ve noted, there are those who won’t partake. Depending on how many direct reports a person has, giving winds up being a financial stressor in the public sector.Even the obligatory group lunch isn’t a great solution because, in effect, you’re requiring hourly employees to agree to give up their lunch hour to participate in a work event. I’ve worked with people who will call in sick or use personal time just so they won’t have to participate in a group event that isn’t an actual work event.


Elizabeth West December 3, 2019 at 8:01 pm

Please skip the Valentine’s Day gifts, thanks. It’s a merchandising holiday geared toward romantic couples. Singles may feel uncomfortable with V-Day stuff, especially coming from the boss. Also, it’s ripe for discrimination if a jerk manager focuses on gifting only straight partnered employees.

The best thing about Valentine’s Day is heavily discounted chocolate the day after.


Candy Clouston December 3, 2019 at 10:34 pm

Not only is Valentine’s Day problematic, new baby is as well. Some of that can be mitigated by making sure the distribution of gifts is equal per person throughout the group, but that begins to be a nightmare, and, as someone who’s very single and has no children, it’s not going to sit well when people are rewarded for having partners or reproducing. I think gifts should be about the individual, not their family. Just taking the time to let people know how they’re doing (not just at performance review) is probably as motivating. Project-related mugs are something a lot of people keep (unless they have bad memories of the project, of course). A one-on-one lunch with each employee some time during the year is a gift that can be personalized to accommodate dietary needs (or just spending time somewhere like a local park if they’re not the lunching type). When people are trying to save money for a large purchase (whether tuition or replacing their car or a home renovation or just a huge TV), small gifts can be de-motivating unless compensation is already generous.


Candy Clouston December 3, 2019 at 10:40 pm

In general, I think employers should think very seriously about any company endorsement of Christmas that doesn’t address a business need. Not everyone celebrates the holiday. Policies that recognize some people do (scheduling projects around the holiday) without forcing those who don’t to attend parties or do “secret Santa” would cut down on the questions to work-related advice columns.


MariaRose December 3, 2019 at 11:54 pm

Everything is going technical but I would have to review the app rating as an approved app for Apple which has requirements plus I am not fond of anything that uses cookies to track my browsing and needs access to my contacts. Again not being negative I would need more information even though the idea looks good.


senatormeathooks December 13, 2019 at 9:54 pm

Be careful about pushing baby showers or publicly promoting them without the approval of the employee. Some people observe beliefs that forbid such things, or someone might not actually be keeping it. It never hurts to check first, no matter how unlikely.


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