The Best Employee Gifts

December 17, 2011

The best employee gift for me would be cash but I’ve never received money for a work gift before.  Employee gift cards would be the second best; I have gotten gift cards in the past and certainly put them to good use.  What about you, what do you think are the best employee gifts?

Employee Gift Ideas

I’m sure coming up with employee gift ideas for the holidays isn’t easy because you have to get something everyone would like but stay within your gift budget.  I’ve had years where it’s been a cheesy gift that no one really wants but I’ve also gotten some pretty nice employee appreciation gifts.

When you’re giving gifts to friends and family it’s the thought that counts but when it comes to work gifts it seems like it’s often just the gift that counts. I know a lot of employees see a cheap gift as almost an insult, they’d rather the company keep the money than spend it on a knick-knack no one really wants.

Good Gifts, Bad Gifts

If a company isn’t going to do cash or a gift card then I think practical gifts like a nice insulated mug are a good way to go.  Of course of it’s in place of an expected cash gift or bonus then you’re likely to run into the same problem as Clarck Griswold and the famed “Jelly of the Month” club gift.

One thing I’m not a fan as employee gifts are gadgets. If I’m going to get a gadget, I want to pick it out myself.  On top of that, some people may have that particular gadget already or maybe just don’t want it. It seems like a lot of money to spend on electronics that you don’t know for sure if someone wants.

Employee Gift Cards

It is hard to please everyone, which is why gift cards can be such a good option.  One reason people sometimes steer clear of gift cards is that they have fees associated with them.  If you’re buying a bunch of cards for employees you may be able to get those fees waived.

You can also look for promotions where the fees are waived, especially around the holidays. For example, the American Express gift card offers deals for no fees and free shipping. 

The other benefit of gift cards is that they’re a good last minute employee gift.  If you don’t find out until the very end of the year whether money will be left in the budget for employee appreciation gifts, gift cards can come in handy.  Of course this could mean you’ll have to pay extra for expited shipping. Or, you could just put a line item in the budget to be sure the money’s there and save on shipping costs : )


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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2 Responses to The Best Employee Gifts

  • Janet

    I just won an ipad at my company’s holiday party. You can never go wrong with those!

    Any recommendations for a white elephant company gift exchange? I need to get a gift in the $15-$20 range. I don’t mine to be an unwanted gift.


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