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8 Great Holiday Gift Ideas That Your Employees Will Love
Tips & Tricks
min read

8 Great Holiday Gift Ideas That Your Employees Will Love

Wondering what to get your employees this holiday season? Look no further.

Holiday gifts to employees are a great gesture from a company—well, when done right, that is. The right gift can show your company’s thoughtful intent towards rewarding and recognizing employees. And the wrong one (or none at all) can reflect the apathy that your company shows towards employee well-being.

At Real Thread, we're in the business of custom t-shirts and more, but we're also really passionate about creating a great experience—for both our employees and our customers. That being said, here are the keys to nailing your corporate gifting strategy this year—plus 8 great gift ideas.

What makes a great employee gift?

There are a lot of factors as to what can make a great corporate holiday gift. It can depend on what’s popular that year, what type of work your company does, etc.—but here are a few critical components: 

1) It’s a high-quality product.

This should go without saying, but the holiday gifts you give to your employees should be high-quality.

With most company gifts, people aren’t exactly expecting much. That’s why there are so many articles about what employees actually want. This means there’s a chance here to exceed expectations by giving your employees or co-workers something of real value.

2) It has utility inside and outside of the office.

Whatever you decide to gift to your team this holiday season should have to pass this litmus test: Will it get used outside of the office?

Sure, company mugs and pens are nice, but do they get anyone excited? We promise you, these are not the things people are talking about or showing their friends after the holidays.

Always think about whether or not the gift brings value to their lives inside and outside of the office. Not only will they enjoy it more, but it also shows that you care about your employee’s work/life balance.

3) It makes sense within your "employer brand."

According to SHRM, an employer brand is defined as “what the organization communicates as its identity to both potential and current employees. It encompasses an organization’s mission, values, culture and personality.” The term has gained a lot of buzz in the last couple of years as employers battle for top talent by building up their employer brand –– and company holiday gifts are a great way to do that.

Giving good gifts in and of itself will promote your employer brand. But keeping your gifts on-brand with who you are as a company will really solidify your company in the minds of your employees and prospective employees.

Some holiday gifting ideas and inspiration

1) A custom water bottle or tumbler

Speaking of quality and utility out of the office—a fellow Orlando favorite, Corkcicle makes some pretty slick insulated water bottles. They've recently expanded their product/design offerings through collaborations with Rifle Paper Co., Disney, and beyond. The best part? You can embellish them with your own branding or give them out as is. Either way, a high-quality water bottle will be a hit and will get a ton of use.

two thermoses in front of palm branches

Where to get them: 

Like I said: we're big fans of Corkcicle around here, but we know that HydroFlask is another great option for insulated water bottles. Can't go wrong with a Nalgene, too, especially if you've got some branded stickers to give out, too.

2) Custom notebooks

The true written word is making a comeback. Studies are showing that writing things down helps people think clearer, think bigger, and remember better than they do by simply documenting things digitally. Why not encourage this in your employees by gifting a sweet notebook? It'll likely go over better than a quill and piece of parchment.

Plenty of brands have caught on to the notebook wave, so there are great options out there that you can customize with your company's logo, a motivational phrase, your employee's name, or really anything you want.

Where to get them: 

Brands like Moleskin, Shinola, and Field Notes have great notebooks for jotting things down. Round out the gift with a Grafton Pen to really put it over the top.

3) Custom hoodies or pullover sweaters

Odds are, you already have at least one or two pieces of company apparel. Most companies print custom t-shirts at least a couple of times a year, often with something simple like a company logo to hand out to employees and customers. We've got some ideas for ways to spice up your corporate apparel designs in general, but we'll focus in on the pros of custom outerwear for now.

The cool thing about sweatshirts and hoodies is that they are perfect for customizing with either embroidery or screen printing.

They're also (by their very nature) worn as the outermost layer—which means that from an exposure perspective, it doesn't get much better. You can rest assured that as long as you choose a soft, warm, and comfortable garment, your employees will rock it all over town.

Something cool you can do here, though, is a more limited run of apparel to give just to employees. Your team might have t-shirts already, so maybe this time you splurge for some great company hoodies or sweaters. Fleece has a higher perceived value, and lends itself really well to the time of year.

female and male wearing black embroidered tops

Where to get them: 

Uh, we know a guy 😜

Feel free to reach out to us directly if you need help getting started on a custom sweatshirt or hoodie order for your team.

4) Custom technology accessories

No matter what your line of work, technology is likely pretty core to your business—and to the day-to-day life of your employees. So why not give them the opportunity to either enhance or accessorize their tech? 

Where to get them: 

Any of the sites linked above should be able to get you what you need.

5) Artisan candies

This definitely has the shortest shelf-life of anything else on this list –– but in a good way. Fancy gummies are the item you never knew you needed. Sugarfina really put themselves on the map when they started offering boozy gummy candies, and have only expanded their offerings since. You can even customize the packaging on your gummies to make sure everything looks on-brand, a la Nordstrom: 

Where to get them: 

We just got some custom t-shirt-shaped marshmallows made by our friends over at Wondermade. They're the go-to for creative marshmallows—whether you create a custom flavor or just go with one of their tried & true options.

Looking for something rather turnkey? Faire is an awesome online marketplace where you can search for bulk products by value, category, price, and more. Plus: they're where we found the best ever hot cocoa (seriously), Mike & Jen's.

6) A travel bonus

This gift is a little less tangible, but no less exciting. Giving your employees a bonus that’s specific to traveling accomplishes a couple of things:

1) It helps them make sure they use the money on something special for themselves, rather than saving it like people might feel obligated to do with a generic bonus.

2) It encourages your employees to recharge and communicates to your staff that you really care about their mental health.

This gift is unique and goes a long way to promote employee well-being. Win, win.

Where to get it: 

This one's kind of a DIY type of thing—which is kinda nice given the current state of the supply chain 🙃

7) A company outing

Give your team a chance to bond together and spend some meaningful time away from the office by sponsoring a team outing. Activities can vary depending on your budget, but giving your team a chance to bond outside of the office will do wonders for the way your team communicates, as well as lift moral in general. This could be a company trip, or could be as simple as all going out for a meal together.

You can use this time partially to cast vision for the new year—but it can be really nice if you instead focus on simply spending valuable time together as a team.

Where to get it: 

Again, this one is more execution/planning-based than actually purchasing a physical object.

8) An extended learning subscription

This might sound like an extra chore you’re handing to employees rather than a gift, but it’s really not. People are much more likely to stick around a company where they see a future, and this investment will help them see their future at your company.

Most people are in the fields they’re in because they chose to be there, so investing in their professional growth by gifting them subscription to an extended learning service shows that you care about their growth and are willing to invest in it.

Where to get it: 

LinkedIn Learning and Skillshare both have some great options for extended learning classes. If you want to encourage your employees to dig deeper into some of their other hobbies and interests, MasterClass is another great option.

Talk to us

We hope this list of 8 holiday gift ideas for employees helps you get the ball rolling on some great gifts this year. If we can help you bring any of your holiday apparel ideas to life, please reach out! Our team can’t wait to help you get started.