What Should I Buy My Employees For Christmas?

Team Building
December 18th, 2019

Around the holidays, employers may start asking themselves what’s the right thing to do? Should you throw a holiday party? Should you get your employees gifts? If you do get them gifts, then what are the best gifts to buy?

Below are some of the best gifts, in no particular order, to get your employees this holiday season. They range from inexpensive and simple to customizable and meaningful. Take a look!

  1. Cocoa Mug 
  2. Potted Plant
  3. Candy
  4. Wine
  5. Distilled Beverages
  6. Phone Charger
  7. Journal
  8. Candle
  9. Aroma Diffuser
  10. Desk Calendar
  11. Inspirational Quote Plaques
  12. Tea and Tea Ball
  13. Planner
  14. Stress Ball
  15. Paperweight
  16. Desk Organizers
  17. Mug Warmer
  18. Mobile Phone Stand
  19. Notebook
  20. Book
  21. Book Ends
  22. Cookies
  23. Cookbook
  24. Laptop Bag
  25. Cozy Socks
  26. Gag Gifts
  27. Snack Box
  28. Playing Cards
  29. Travel Mug
  30. USB Devices

30 Best Gifts For Employees

Of course, not all employers give their employees gifts. So, in what situation is it acceptable to do so? 

Usually, gift-giving is made easiest if you work with a small number of people or if you are in charge of a large company that can afford to get small gifts for all their employees.

Some great career fields for gift-giving include tech start-ups, lawyers, architects, consultant firms, family-run businesses, and other similar careers. Of course, any boss could get their employees gifts if they wish to do so.

While all of the gifts on this list are gender-neutral, the next two sections divide the gifts to show which gifts men and women tend to prefer. 

Each gift also has a short description that tells a little more about each gift!

15 Best Gifts for Male Employees

As promised, below are some of the best holiday gifts for male employees. These gifts range in price and style. Some can even be personalized to fit each employee’s tastes.

#1 Stress Reliver

One great inexpensive gift to get employees is a stress reliever, also commonly called a stress ball. A stress reliever is the perfect gift for employers who have a large number of employees. Adding a stress ball to an employee gift basket makes for a fun touch.

Stress balls don’t need to be in the shape of a ball. In fact, they can be ordered in just about any shape, color, and design. There are a variety of online services that employers can use to customize their stress balls, and a number of other office supplies, with their company logo, quotes, or just about anything else they like.

#2 Paperweight

Paperweights are another gift that work well as a stand-alone gift for a company with many employees or as a part of a gift basket for companies with just a few employees. Like stress relievers, paperweights are entirely customizable.

Paperweights don’t have to be boring. Add your business’s logo to a solid wood block or chiseled rock or metal. Beautiful glass paperweights with etched designs can add elegance to your employee’s desk. Buying holiday themed paperweights can also be fun.

#3 Desk Organizer

Desk organizers make a great gift for employees who often work at desks. No one knows better than someone who works in a cubicle that desktops can easily become cluttered. Office supplies get buried under papers can become difficult to find. For this reason, desk organizers can be a lifesaver!

Like most everything else on this list, desk organizers can be customized. As a bonus, there are many types of desk organizers. Desk organizers can be made of wood, metal, and a variety of other materials. They also come in a rainbow of colors, which can be matched to the company’s primary themed colors or even the employee’s favorite color!

#4 Mug Warmer

Coffee is the driving force behind offices all over the world. However, cold coffee isn’t much of a motivator for anyone. For this reason, buying employees a mug warmer makes for a great holiday gift. Mug warmers can be easily plugged into any outlet and turned on and off with ease.

To use a mug warmer, all one needs to do is plug it in, turn it on, and put the mug on top! This is a great way to warm up coffee, tea, or cocoa in or outside of the office! If employers want to add a little something extra, they can also include a holiday-themed mug with the warmer!

#5 Mobile Phone Stand

Mobile phone stands are great for keeping a phone nearby, standing up, and sometimes even charged! This is a great gift for employees who work in the tech field. Employees who often need to use cell phones, or even tablets, at work can also benefit from using a mobile phone stand.

For employers who don’t want their employees looking at their cellphones during work, they can encourage their employees to take the stand home. Another type of mobile phone stand is truly mobile—as in, it goes in the car. This is great for people who answer the phone while driving, but who don’t want to hold it.

#6 Travel Mug

Travel mugs make drinking any warm beverage on the go mess-free. Employees are sure to love a thermos as well. In the same vein as the mug warmer, a travel mug or thermos can help to keep coffee and similar beverages warm—at the desk or at the go.

This is the perfect gift for employees who travel for work often. Especially when bought in bulk, travel mugs are an inexpensive gift. It would do well to pair this with coffee beans, tea bags, or even hot cocoa packets!

#7 Notebook

Inside or outside of the office, anyone is sure to find a good use for a new notebook! This gift is especially thoughtful when given to employees who write or take a lot of notes in their line of work. Reporters, researchers, and teachers are sure to love this gift!

Like with many of the other products in this article, employers can easily find notebooks in all shapes, sizes, materials, and designs. Fancy leather-bound notebooks or waterproof notebooks can add a touch of style and convivence to any employee’s desk.

#8 Book

Give employees something fun to do during their breaks by buying them a new book! This works best as a gift when employers know their employees well. Buy a book that an employee has been dying to read or the book their favorite movie is based on.

If there are employees that don’t particularly enjoy reading, buy puzzle books instead. Sudokus, cross words, and word searches are all great examples of fun puzzle books. These are not as personal as novels, but they also have the upside of being easier to buy in bulk.

#9 Book Ends

Speaking of books, book ends also make a gift that has more customization options than one might think. Book ends can be cute and colorful or bold and chrome finished. Either way, there is sure to be a set of book ends that can fit anyone’s personality. Like with books, it’s best to give customized book ends as gifts when an employer knows their employee well.

Book ends make the perfect gift when employees know that their employer loves to read. However, they can also be used at the office. This works best when employees often have to work with reference books or manuals they keep on their desk. Like desk organizers themselves, book ends can help to keep a desk tidy and orderly.

#10 Laptop Bag

Like travel mugs, laptop bags are a great gift for employees that travel often. Laptops sometimes prove to be fragile devices. Because of this, it’s best that they are as protected as possible. Laptop bags are usually soft and padded. This means the laptop can be kept safe without being too heavy.

Laptop bags are also great for employees who often take their work home with them. This applies well to teachers, journalists, lawyers, and more. By buying a laptop bag as a holiday gift, employers show that they care about their employee’s hard work and the safety of their belongings.

#11 Gag Gift

Gag gifts can be hit or miss. Because of this, it’s best that employers only give them out when they know their employee well. Of course, it’s also best that a gag gift is followed up by a real gift. This way, the employee gets a good laugh and a great present!

The best gag gifts are based on inside jokes. Of course, most gag gifts are a joke in itself. Some great gag gifts anyone is sure to get a kick out of include silly t-shirts, party games, and funny customized clothing and items.

#12 Snack Box

Snack boxes, similar to delivered prepared meals, makes for a great recurring employee gift. Snack box subscriptions are fun for employees in any career. 

One of the best parts of snack boxes is that they can often be delivered directly to the workplace. By getting a snack box subscription, employees will have something to look forward to even after the holiday season is long over.

One thing to watch out for when buying snack boxes is allergies and dietary restrictions. Many snack boxes can adjust for vegan and vegetarian diets. However, it can be tricky to find a good snack box for people who are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.

#13 Playing Cards

Playing with playing cards is a fun way to pass the time during a break, at lunch, traveling, or at home. Playing card decks are also relatively inexpensive. They can also easily be bought in bulk. Because of this, they make a great gift for employers who have a lot of employees to buy something for. 

However, because they are so cheap, they make a better gift when they are bundled with something else, instead of giving them on their own.

A similar idea is to buy a board game for the office break room. While these are more expensive than the average card deck, employers would only need to buy a couple for the whole office, rather than one game for every employee.

#14 Distilled Beverages

Is there anything employees want more than something to help them relax after a long day at the office? Buying any sort of distilled beverage—from whisky to vodka—can make an employee’s day.

This gift can be purchased in a variety of flavors and sizes. If an employer is putting together a gift basket or other package, buying small shot-sized bottles in a variety of flavors could be fun. If the employer is not putting together a basket, then a larger bottle of their employee’s favorite beverage could be even better!

#15 Candy

Lastly, holiday candy is the perfect gift for any employee who is known to have a sweet tooth. However, buying a package of candy canes to put in the breakroom is boring. Try mixing things up by buying a variety of holiday candies.

Peppermint bark, white chocolate, and a variety of sweets in the shapes of coins, Santa Claus, and other holiday items can bring a little fun into the office. For employees who are diabetic or on diets, opt for sugar-free or low-calorie sweet treats. For a little extra flair, put the candy in stockings!

15 Best Gifts for Female Employees

Again, all the gifts in this section can be gender neutral but women in the office are sure to love most of the gifts in this section.

#1 Cocoa Mug

The holidays are a cozy time of year. It’s the perfect time to enjoy a warm beverage on a snowy night or day. One way to encourage feelings of relaxation and warmth, even in the office, is to buy employees cocoa mugs. Even better, try looking for mugs with holiday designs.

Better yet, add a cocoa packet to the mugs. Adding other sweet things that often go into cocoa, like peppermint sticks, cinnamon sticks, or mini marshmallows can add an extra layer of sweetness and fun.

#2 Potted Plant

Sometimes, things can be dreary in the dead of winter. Add some life to the office place by gifting your employees indoor plants. Any employee is sure to be able to take care of a Christmas cactus or succulent.

If employers know their employees are especially gifted in keeping plants alive, gifting them flowers or plants that need a little more attention can also be fun. Buying herbs, like chives and basil, for employees who like to season their dishes is extra thoughtful.

#3 Wine

If all the employees are of age, consider buying each of them a bottle of wine. There are so many varieties of wine that there is sure to be something for everyone. To make the present a little more festive, consider buying mulled wine, which usually has holiday flavors like cinnamon and cloves.

For those employees who are underage or who do not drink, get them some sparking grape juice. It has all the festivity needed for the holiday season without any of the alcohol. It also comes in red and green grape varieties, just like regular wine.

#4 Phone Charger

Cell phone batteries don’t last as long as they used to. Every employee, no matter what field they work in, is sure to appreciate a new phone charger. Whether it stays at the office or goes home with them, it is sure to serve a purpose. 

Of course, there are a couple of phone charger types, so employers will need to know whether their employees own an Apple or Android phone.

Since a phone charger is a relatively small gift, both in terms of price and size, it’s best to include this as part as a gift basket. Unless, of course, the company is buying gifts for a large employee base.

#5 Journal

Keeping a journal is a great way to easily jot down thoughts and ideas, or even just take a little break to doodle. Just about any notebook will do when it comes to journaling. 

However, there are a variety of types of journals, each with their own purpose.

Bullet journals are becoming increasingly popular among women everywhere. There journals often have writing prompts and beautiful drawing. They are wonderfully calming. Using one of these journals is a great way for employees to relax during their breaks.

#6 Candle

Candles are a great gift for any time of year, including during the holidays. Because they come in a large range of prices and scents, candles can make a great stand-alone gift or a aromatic component of a gift basket.

To make this gift even more compatible with the holidays, buy candles with traditional holiday scents. Candles with smells of sugar cookies, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, pine tree, and more all make great holiday gifts that can be used both in and out of the office.

#7 Aroma Diffuser

Like holiday candles, aroma diffusers put wonderful scents into the air. They are much like air fresheners but more natural. Aroma diffusers typically use essential oils and essential oil blends to make their powerful and fresh scents.

This gift works well as a stand-alone present. If employers want to add something to it, they can also include some essential oils. Employers should encourage employees to take this gift home. Having too many diffusers in one place could become overwhelming.

#8 Desk Calendar

Desk calendars are cheap and practical but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be cute! Try buying calendars with cute animals, flowers, or beautiful landscapes on them. The holiday season is close to the New Year, which makes it a perfect time for buying calendars.

Other types of calendars that are fun are daily calendars. These include word of the day calendars, calendars with a new picture each day, and quote calendars. Either way, there is sure to be something for everyone.

#9 Inspirational Quote Plaque

Inspiration posters are tacky and cheap but inspirational quote plaques are classy and refined. The best part is that there is a quote out there that can fit everyone. If employees are fans of fantasy, find quote plaques from their favorite books. If the employees are religions, try finding biblical quotes.

There is something out there for everyone. If employers don’t know about their employee’s interests, a general inspiration quote is sure to work. Plaques can be made on wood or metal to get the classiest effect.

#10 Tea and Tea Ball

Right along the line of cozy hot chocolate, warm tea can make any day a little snugger. When buying a tea ball, its best that employers buy loose leaf tea to go with them. This is because tea balls are not needed for bagged tea.

If employers are buying bagged tea, then they should try to keep things festive. Peppermint tea, or tea flavored with vanilla, pumpkin spices, or cinnamon can keep things festive. Like with cocoa, sweet things like honey and sugar can be gifted along with the tea.

#11 USB Flash Drive

A small and inexpensive gift most employees are sure to find a use for is a small USB flash drive. USBs can be used to store files offline. This way, they can be used on other computers and tablets without needing to use the internet to transfer files.

Since these are small and inexpensive, it’s best to add these to gift baskets alongside other gadgets. This pairs well with other electronics, laptop bags, and computer or tablet accessories.

#12 Planner

Using a planner is a great way to keep organized, at work or at home. Just like there are many types of notebooks and journals, there are also many types of planners. Knowing this, there is sure to be a planner that fits anyone.

Weekly planners and styled planners are fashionable and productive. A planner is an especially great gift for an employee who loves to make to-do lists or who often takes home work with them. This can help to keep them organized!

#13 Cookies

Cookies are a wonderful holiday gift that is sure to make just about anything happy. With so many holiday cookies ranging from sugar cookies to gingerbread, there is sure to be a treat that matches every employee’s favorite flavors. If an employer doesn’t know which cookies are their employee’s favorites, try getting them a box with several types.

Before buying cookies, make sure to check if any employees have food allergies or dietary restrictions. If this is the case, try to opt for gluten-free or nut-free treats for these employees. Make sure to include ingredient lists so they feel safe.

#14 Cookbook

A cookbook makes a wonderful gift for anyone who has a knack for baking. There are sure to be many holiday cookbooks to choose from. Even cookbooks that aren’t related to the holidays are sure to make a great gift.

To add a more personalized touch, print out a few holiday recipes on notecards and make a company-wide cookbook. Better yet, ask for each employee to submit one of their favorite recipes.

#15 Cozy Socks

Lastly, any employee is sure to enjoy a nice pair of fuzzy or knitted socks. While these might not be best to wear while at the office, they will make their home life a lot more comfortable. Some specialized cozy socks even have aloe or lotion imbued in the fabric to help keep their feet soft.

Of course, this is another small fist that will be received best when paired with another gift. While everyone is sure to enjoy socks for the holidays, no one wants JUST socks for the holidays.

Can Employee Gifts be Written Off on Taxes?

Giving gifts is all in the holiday spirit. However, tax season closely follows the holiday season. Both bosses and employees alike will likely wonder if they need to add their gifts to their tax forms or not.

The table below shows some of the most common types of gifts and bonuses. The “Employee Taxes” section shows whether or not the employee needs to count a gift as taxable income. 

The “Business Deductible” section shows whether or not the gift is deductible for the business’s taxes.

                                                                                  Gifts and Taxes
Gift TypeEmployee TaxesBusinessDeductible
Items Worth Less Than $75NoYes
Items Worth More Than $75YesYes
Gift CertificatesYesYes
BonusesYesYes
Property BonusYesYes

How Much Should Employers Spend on Christmas Gifts?

All the gifts on this list are relatively inexpensive, which makes them great options for both affluent and meager business owners and bosses. 

However, the question still remains: how much should employers spend on Christmas gifts?

As the table above shows, any gifts worth more than $75, employees must count as a form of payment on their tax forms. 

Even if a gift is worth less than $75, employers can still deduct the gift from their own tax forms. 

For this reason, it’s easiest for employers if employees buy gifts that cost $75 or less, per employee.

Final Thoughts

This list of the 30 best holiday gifts for employees is sure to give employees some great ideas. 

There’s something on this list for everyone—even the pickiest of employees. Many of these gifts can also fit most employer budgets. 

Employers can make sure to enjoy this holiday season with their employees by giving them one or more of the great gifts on this list!

About TopWorkLife

Hello, my name is Simon. On this blog, I write together with a group of writers. We are working on bringing great information that might boost your career.

The Purpose of Top Work Life is to share our knowledge, research and curiousity in the business world. What does it take?