Three people sit around a table. In the middle is a young man in a red Santa hat. He is opening a small red box with a smile. On either side of him, a woman watches him. The woman on the left has gray hair and wears reindeer antlers. In front of her is a laptop and a coffee cup. The woman on the right has long dark hair and is wearing a gold, sparkly Santa hat. Her mouth is open in a laugh. In the background is a dark gray wall and a bulletin board covered with papers.
Give gifts this holiday season to show your appreciation for all your employees' hard work this past year. — Getty Images/PeopleImages

With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s a good time to start thinking about how to express appreciation for your employees' hard work. Here are some creative and thoughtful employee gift ideas for the holidays that can fit in with any company culture and budget.

Gifts for remote or hybrid teams

These thoughtful gifts are perfect for employees who work from home at least part of the time.

Subscription boxes

  • Plants: Subscriptions like Bloomscape or The Sill provide bright spots of decor for your staff’s home offices. Plus, plants can help freshen the air and may even offer health benefits.
  • Coffee: One con of working from home is the shift from your comfortable bed to your work setup. A coffee subscription, like Heart Roasters, can help wake up your employees.
  • Books: Book subscriptions like Book of the Month are affordable and fun ways to celebrate your team members.

Digital subscriptions

  • Music subscriptions: Subscriptions to music apps like Spotify are perfect office gifts since so many people listen to calming music or news podcasts while working.
  • Meditation apps: Meditation apps like Calm are a great way to unwind after a stressful day of work.
  • Streaming services: Many people may have their own Hulu subscriptions or Netflix subscriptions, so gifting one to your employees can help them save a bit of money. If they don’t have an existing streaming subscription, they’re sure to find something they love among the options.

Office supplies

  • Webcam: With so many people working from home, giving employees simple office upgrades can make their home office feel more professional.
  • Keyboard: A nice new keyboard is an efficient office upgrade, but it can also help prevent issues like carpal tunnel.
  • Gift cards: Amazon gift cards are a safe bet for gifts in general, but they can also help your employees get just what they need for their home office. Consider asking your employees about their favorite office stores as well.

[Read more: Cyber Gifting: Digital Innovators Create New Ways to Feel Connected and Spread Holiday Joy Remotely]

Gifts focused on employee wellness

Everyone could use a break during the holiday season. Consider the following wellness gifts for your hard-working employees.

Mental wellness

  • Mental wellness apps: These apps help users to breathe more deeply and meditate to alleviate stress. Headspace, which is similar to Calm, helps you check in with your own mental health and set aside time for meditation. Moodkit, created by two clinical psychologists, is a mood-tracking, stress-reducing app that helps create positive thinking patterns in your brain.
  • Mental health days: Consider offering your employees an extra “mental health day,” and encourage them to use it whenever they’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

Physical wellness

  • Physical wellness apps: Apps like Strava are perfect for active individuals like runners and cyclists, as they track exercise times and running/walking/biking routes to help users get the most out of their movement. Another option is ClassPass, which gives individuals an opportunity to find a class they enjoy in their area.
  • Water bottle: You can encourage healthy habits like drinking water throughout the day by gifting company-branded water bottles, like the Hydro Flask or Camelbak.
  • Smartwatch: Giving a smartwatch to your employees can help them monitor multiple aspects of their health, like steps and heart rate.

Consider offering your employees an extra “mental health day,” and encourage them to use it whenever they’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

Gifts that promote team building

Sometimes, the best gifts are experiences. Here are some great gift ideas for team building.

Virtual events

  • Cocktail hour: A virtual cocktail hour can bring your team together no matter where they are in the world. Ask your employees to grab their favorite beverage and hop on a Zoom call to get to know one another outside of the office.
  • Picnic: During a virtual picnic, each of your team members can share what they brought on the “picnic” and organizers encourage them to find unique places to share a meal such as a park or in their own backyard.

In-person activities

  • Holiday-themed activity: If you’re back in the office, have a holiday cookie-decorating party or host a hot chocolate bar in the break room.
  • Trivia night: Get everyone together for a trivia night! You can tailor some of the topics or questions to your company or employees — add prizes and a raffle to keep it exciting.


  • Extra time off: Check in with your team members and see if they’d enjoy any extra time off. More time to spend with family and friends can be more valuable than any material gift.
  • Bonuses: If you’re going to spend money on a special end-of-year gift for your employees, consider simply giving them that money as a bonus.

[Read more: 5 Small Business Owners on the Perks That Keep Employees Happy]

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