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The Importance of Gratitude at Work
Work Management
Last modified date

Apr 1, 2024

10 Ways You Can Thank Your Employees This Holiday Season

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Magnus Eriksen

Blog average read time

7 min

Last modified date

April 1, 2024

The holidays are a time of joy and giving, but gifts aren’t reserved for just your loved ones. As a business owner or team manager, it’s also important to show gratitude and appreciation to your employees who work hard to keep your enterprise afloat throughout the year.

But just like giving gifts to your friends and family members, some gifts are better than others.

Let’s look at ten ways you can thank your employees this holiday season.

The Importance of Gratitude at Work

Every business thrives or falters based on the motivation and loyalty of its employees. While providing your employees with fair and competitive pay, good benefits, and an excellent workplace environment is crucial, it’s also important to show your employees gratitude from time to time.

Everyone needs to feel appreciated to give their 100%, particularly in the workplace. Businesses with executives that show gratitude to employees are more likely to retain top talent for longer, even in the face of stiff competition.

Put yourself in the shoes of your employees. You’ve completed a long and challenging year of hard work. You’ve produced excellent results and brought in lots of revenue for your company. Imagine if your boss or the business owner presented you with a holiday-themed gift.

More than likely, you’d come back to work after the holiday break, reinvigorated and rededicated to your business’s mission—and your boss on a personal level!

If you want to boost workplace culture, maximize employee loyalty, and ensure your team stays as productive as possible, you need to show gratitude now and then. What better time to do that than over the holiday season?

How To Thank Your Employees Over the Holidays

There are many different ways to thank employees over the holidays. Here are ten ideas for business owners and executives.

1. Holiday Bonuses

Of course, a little extra money always sends the right message. If you had an exceptionally profitable year or quarter, consider funneling that extra money toward the people who made it happen.

Considering that 80% of Americans have credit card debt to pay off each month and don’t really know how to build credit, even a small bonus of $50-$100 added to each employee’s paycheck before the holidays can feel generous to your recipients.

The holidays are an expensive time for everyone; after all, most of us spend a lot of money purchasing gifts for our friends and family. In 2021, 36% of Americans went as far as to take out personal loans, borrow money or break the bank to cover all their holiday expenses.

By easing that burden for your employees, you show them how much you value their work and provide them with extra peace of mind as they head off to their holiday vacation.

2. Holiday Perks or Gifts

If you don’t want to give your employees cash to show your appreciation this holiday season, you can still thank your workforce by giving them holiday perks or gifts.

Gift Ideas for Your Employees

Don’t be overwhelmed by the unlimited potential gifts you could give to your employees. Here are a few ideas on how to show your thanks for their hard work over the year:

  • Gift cards to local restaurants or experiences, like bar crawls
  • Expensive alcohol or box of chocolates
  • Luxurious self-care packages
  • Health-themed gifts like gym memberships, etc.

The right gift can put a smile on your employees’ faces. If you choose your gifts correctly, your employees may even appreciate this gesture of gratitude much more than a bonus on their next paychecks!

Individual or Group Gifts?

You’ll also have to consider whether you should give your employees individual, hand-picked gifts or simply select group gifts you give to everyone. There are positives and negatives to both approaches.

  • If you give each employee an individual gift, it takes more time and effort on your part. On the plus side, your employees might be more touched by the gesture and feel that you really know them—if you select the right gifts, that is!
  • Giving your workers group gifts or identical gifts is easier and often cheaper for you. You also avoid the possibility of one employee feeling like you favor other workers instead. But your employees may collectively think less of your gift-giving effort if they feel that the group gift is low-quality or too generic, such as office pens.

Consider what you know about your workforce and the kinds of gifts your employees might like when choosing between individual or group gifts.

3. Extra Time Off

Alternatively, you can show thanks to your employees over the holidays by giving them some extra time off. If, for instance, you don’t need all hands on deck for the week running up to holiday vacation, consider giving everyone an extra day off by letting them go home on Thursday instead of Friday.

You can also provide this benefit to your employees using a staggered schedule. If someone has to be in the office to keep the lights on, see if anyone would like an extra day off in the middle of the week so that the majority of your employees can go home on Thursday while the “rear guard” keeps things running right up until the weekend before the holidays in exchange for having Wednesday off.

In any case, your employees will most likely appreciate extra time off around the holidays. They can use that time to buy gifts, visit their friends and family members, or begin their Christmas vacations ahead of schedule.

4. Charitable Donations

When thanking middle management or higher-up employees, such as those directly beneath your position, a little extra cash or a themed gift card may be less important or appreciated. You might be better off making a charitable donation in an employee’s name.

This gift idea could be especially nice if you work for a nonprofit organization. Many of your employees will likely be empathetic individuals, so they’ll be touched at the opportunity to fund some of their most important causes over the holidays.

A charitable donation is also a wise gift if you want to avoid the appearance of favoritism. That way, you don’t provide one employee with a material good or cash bonus and give another a charitable donation in their name. If you choose this way to thank your employees, make sure you do it for everyone, not just some folks.

5. Team-Building & Holiday-Themed Get-Togethers

For many, the holidays are about spending time with the most important people. And for some, coworkers and managers are some of the closest friends they have purely because they spend a lot of time together during the week.

If workplace morale has dipped with the darkness of the winter season, you should consider hosting a holiday-themed activity or teambuilding get-together for your office.

For instance, you can all participate in a Christmas-themed escape room, where you must put your heads together and escape from a clever puzzle before the time runs out.

More casually, you can invite everyone to a holiday party at a local restaurant or even in the office. Be sure to purchase plenty of drinks and food.

Consider hiring a catering team to ensure the food is delicious and to everyone’s preferences.

Giving your employees time to chat and socialize outside of a workplace context could do wonders for boosting office morale and giving everyone a little room to breathe after a long, challenging year.

Plus, any employees on the way out of your company will be incentivized to leave a good review on Google about their experience.

Don’t forget to foot the bill for this; your employees won’t see it as a gift if they have to pay for their own drinks or food at an office event you organized.

6. New Learning Opportunities for Rising Stars

Some employees, particularly those dedicated to making your business goals a reality, may wish only for more opportunities to show their skills. In that case, consider thanking these employees by giving them access to extra learning materials or promising to take them under your wing in the new year. There are project management courses or opportunities for your employees to upskill, all while being productive with their time.

7. Office Renovations/Upgrades

Your office or work environment is shared by everyone. So, if you don’t want to hand out individual gifts but still want to reward the whole team for a job well done in 2022, you can use any extra cash you’ve saved to upgrade or renovate the office.

For instance, order a new coffee machine for the break room, complete with creamer, sugar, and all the fixings, so your employees can have their coffee just how they like it.

Or you can start a new “snack fund” to ensure that the snack cabinet is always stocked with everyone’s favorite chips, crackers, and other tasty snacks.

Have a bit of extra cash? Consider renovating the office space to install new windows, expand your floor space, or buy new desks for each employee’s workstation.

If your employees are working on dinosaur computers, upgrading that technology will make their work easier and make your business run more efficiently – such an expense should be easy to justify as “necessary for business” around tax time, too.

Office renovations and upgrades are excellent ways to show thanks to your community of workers, not just one or two employees.

8. Car Wash Service

Most people wish their cars looked better more often. You can make that happen by hiring a mobile car washing service to show up to your corporate parking lot and clean each employee’s car, especially right before the holidays.

This touching gift is ideal because, as noted earlier, it doesn’t show favoritism to one specific employee. But it’s also great because your workers will appreciate the ability to show up at home in sparkling, freshly clean vehicles and begin their holiday vacations the right way.

9. Project Choices

One of the best ways to thank employees this holiday season without spending money is to offer certain employees their choice of upcoming projects.

Say that you have a complex business, and your employees are often shuffled from project to project or job to job without any input on the matter. You can thank your employees and show your gratitude at the same time by letting them choose which projects they want to work on. Plus, consider adopting project management software or collaboration tools that would lessen their workload.

Not only does this help your bottom line – in theory, employees who can choose their projects will pick those they will work best on – but it also gives your workers opportunities to sharpen their skills or try out projects where they think they could succeed.

It’s a win-win situation no matter what, so consider offering this benefit to rockstars or particularly deserving employees each holiday season.

10. Handwritten Notes

If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with heartfelt, handwritten notes to each of your employees. This tactic is best for small businesses, where you can feasibly know and have a relationship with everyone you work with.

Even if you run a larger business, handwritten notes could be the best way to show gratitude to your workforce, even if it takes a while to write them all out.

Handwritten notes allow you to tell each employee what they specifically did to make the last year great. Write the right message, and your employees will treasure these notes for years to come. They’ll also feel much more loyal to you in the next year.

Wrap Up

Any of these gifts and gestures will go a long way toward reaffirming your gratitude to your employees and boosting workplace loyalty. Everyone likes to feel appreciated, so take the opportunity this holiday season to thank your employees for all their hard work.

When everyone returns to the office in the new year, they’ll be even more motivated to crush their professional goals—and your business goals.

Magnus Eriksen


Magnus Eriksen is a copywriter and an eCommerce SEO specialist with a degree in Marketing and Brand Management. Before embarking on his copywriting career, he was a content writer for digital marketing agencies such as Synlighet AS and Omega Media, where he mastered on-page and technical SEO.

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