8 great employee holiday gift ideas for 2018
Tips & Tricks
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min read

8 great employee holiday gift ideas for 2018

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

The holiday season is here, which has a lot of employers and managers thinking about what to gift their teams for a job well done this year. Read this post for 8 refreshing and thoughtful holiday gift ideas for employees that your team will actually enjoy.

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 (we’re looking at you, Starbucks gift cards) can reflect the apathy that your company shows towards employee well-being.

We know Thanksgiving hasn’t even passed yet, and some of you are holiday purists who refuse to even think about Christmas until after the turkey has been gobbled down. But when you’re considering employee holiday gifts for the entire staff, you don’t have the luxury of putting this stuff off. That being said, here are the keys to nailing your corporate gifts 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 the common threads as to what makes great holiday gifts for your employees.

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.

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.

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 are fighting the war on 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.

Mailchimp, for example, is known for being quirky. In fact, they recently doubled down on it. They’ve never shied away from being on the weird side of things, and their gifts reflect that.

Though these weren’t holiday gifts, let these gifts Mailchimp used to send out to customers be your guide to on-brand gifting:


They’re unique, funny, and delightfully weird –– everything that Mailchimp is. Keeping your gifts on-brand with the core values of your company will help you promote your employer brand and attract the right kind of talent.

8 awesome employee gift ideas

1) A custom water bottle or tumbler from Corkcicle. Speaking of quality and utility out of the office, Corkcicle makes some pretty slick insulated water bottles. So slick, even, that they found themselves on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2017. 


You can embellish them with your own branding or give them out as is. Either way, Corkcicles will be a hit.

2) Custom notebooks. Writing things –– like, physically writing things –– 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. Given that writing is so hot right now, why not encourage this in your employees by gifting a sweet notebook.


Plenty of brands have caught on to the notebook wave, so there are great options out there. 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) Hoodies or pullover sweaters. Odds are, you already have at least one or two pieces of company apparel. Most companies print 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.


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. Plus, people will love ’em. We’d recommend checking out the Bella+Canvas 3945 or the Independent Trading Co. AFX4000Z to put your design on.

4) Custom phone grips. Admittedly, we thought this was more of a fad thing that would end up in the same place as everyone’s fidget spinners from 2017, but phone grips have had a lot of staying power. The bigger phone screens get, the harder they are to hold with one hand, so if trends continue, these things will only have more and more utility. PopSockets has some good ones that are easily customizable.

5) Artisan gummies from sugarfina. This item definitely has the shortest shelf-life of anything else on this list –– but in a good way. Artisan 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.


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, versus save it like people might feel obligated to do with a bonus 2) encourages your employees to recharge. This gift is unique and goes a long way to promote employee well-being. Win, win.

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. 

In what has become an annual tradition, the whole Real Thread team sails off on a company cruise just after the new year. We use this time partially to cast vision for the new year, but mostly to spend valuable time together as a team.

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. 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 LinkedIn Learning or Skillshare shows that you care about their growth, and want to see them meet their personal career goals. 

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.

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.