Stressed about holiday gifts for employees, coworkers, team members, and managers?
Today’s gold standard of gift giving is thoughtfulness. Often this means tailoring a gift to fit the individual (e.g., “In April you mentioned how much you loved this band, so I bought concert tickets for a show in January!”). But buying personalized gifts isn’t really an option for company gifts. Company gifts need to be egalitarian. As my mother puts it: the barbies need to be the same or we’re going to have a meltdown.
For company gifts to be egalitarian and successful, the gift needs to be universally appealing. So what universally appeals to your diverse group of employees? I asked myself this question, and I came to the conclusion that everyone needs food, water, health, entertainment, and smartphone accessories.
Here’s a list of universally appealing gifts that managers, team leaders, and CEOs can buy for their employees this holiday season.
Food, Water, & Health
#1. Holiday Treat
Everyone indulges during the holiday season, so provide decadent food experiences for your employees. When buying gifts, it’s always good to support local businesses, so I picked delicious treats provided by Utah businesses. (Note: You need to be aware and plan for your employees’ allergies or diet restrictions.)
With the advancements in Fitbit technology—according to Popular Mechanics and Tech Advisor, it’s the Blaze that’s the best out there today—we can all use an upgrade! The Blaze monitors your sleeping habits, breathing, and even reminds you when you’ve been sitting too long and need to get up and move. This gift will raise awareness and overall health in the office.
- Fitbit Blaze | $199.95
#3. Adult Coloring Book + Pencils
Studies show that adult coloring books help relieve stress and improve mental health. So give your employees a safe space to deal with their work stress. You can even encourage your employees to keep these at their desks and use them when they need a break during the workday. (Note: Buy quality coloring pencils. Don’t purchase those awful coloring pencils we used in elementary school.)
#4. Water Bottle
We all need water to survive, so water bottles have the universal appeal we’re looking for. And by giving your employees a water bottle, you’re telling them that you’re concerned about their health and the environment. I’ve even included a water bottle that breaks down to take up less space in a carry-on. You can give these to your employees that constantly travel for work. (Note: If you’re giving employees a water bottle, make sure your office has a water dispenser so they can use it at work!)
# 5. Office Chair Accessory
When you read the literature about how office chairs are destroying our bodies, it makes employees worry. We don’t need the literature to prove it’s a problem—we can feel it. So you can purchase a cushion for comfort or a cushion that minimizes the long-term effects of office chairs by correct posture and alignment. (These products were recommended by Business Insider.)
#6. Cooking Experience
Give the gift of a new skill and delicious food. If you do buy a cooking experience (e.g., a cooking class) for your employees, provide for more than one person to participate. In fact, encourage employees to share their experience with family and friends.
- Blue Apron Meal E-Gift Card | $60.00 or $120.00
Tech Accessories & Useful Tools
#7. Mobile / Cellphone Stand
It’s fairly safe to assume that most of your workers have a smartphone, so a smartphone accessory has universal appeal. And a particularly helpful accessory for the office is a charging dock or display stand. This gift is thoughtful because it will help your employees design a more functional working space.
- russell+hazel Acrylic Desktop Organizer & Ruler | $20.00
#8. Phone Stabilizer
An exciting new smartphone gadget is the phone stabilizer. Essentially this turns your smartphone videos into the work of a smooth, professional videographer. So if your office is full of techies . . .
- Evo Shift 3 Axis Andriod & Iphone Gimbal | $149.00
#9. Portable Phone Charger
We’ve all experienced the panic when we’re stranded and our phone dies. Shield your employees from this terrifying experience with a portable phone charger. Make sure you buy a good one; according to Popular Mechanics, Anker Power Core 20100 is the best!
- Anker PowerCore 20100 | $39.99
#10. Bluetooth Tracker
Everyone has a hard time keeping track of something: a child, phone, umbrella, wallet, passport, bag, etc. Save your employees stress and time and inspire an organized lifestyle.
Encourage a relaxed and creative work environment by buying your employees headphones. It sends a message that you’re okay with employees listening to podcasts and music for a few hours during the workday. The most exciting headphone technology is Apple’s AirPods. In fact, I’ve already heard a few of my colleagues hinting to our boss that this would make an excellent holiday gift for our marketing department.
- Apple AirPods | $159.00
#12. Laptop Sleeve
If you provide employees with laptops, a thoughtful gift is a laptop sleeve. You can purchase a more affordable fabric laptop sleeve, or for real luxury and style points, go with leather.
- Incase Neoprene Classic Sleeve MacBook | $39.95
- Madewell The Leather Laptop Case | $88.00
- Knomo London Leather 13” Laptop Sleeve | $99.00
#13. Swiss Army Knife
My friend has told me on multiple occasions that her best-used gift is a Swiss army knife. (Her Swiss army knife has even saved me on a few occasions.) It’s amazing what access to a toothpick, tweezers, bottle opener, Phillips screwdriver, nail file, and scissors can do to help you in sticky situations.
- Swiss Army Rambler | $32.50
#14. Desk Organizer
A stylish acrylic desk organizer is a brilliant company gift; however, make sure that it’s stylish and unique enough that it’s fun. Because generic and drab office supplies make terrible holiday presents. If you don’t know where to find stylish desk accessories, you can always count on russell+hazel.
- russell+hazel Acrylic Desk Organizer | $24.00
Entertainment & Comfort
#15. Office Greenery
Studies show that greenery lifts the spirits of your office employees. Fake greenery looks tacky, so go with real succulents or cacti. Here is a list of some live greenery that needs minimal water and can live in most office environments. Again, we encourage you to work and / or purchase holiday gifts locally—Utah has the incredible Cactus and Tropicals.
- Lulu’s Garden Holiday Jewel Garden | $35.00
#16. Entertainment Subscription
Between Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and Amazon, you can access a lot of entertainment and perks. For the largest appeal, buy with a year of Amazon Prime for your employees. As an Amazon Prime member, you can access free songs, movies, and shipping!
- Amazon Prime Give the Gift of Prime | $33.00 or $99.00
Before any one protests, there are scents that are universally liked. Typically candles are personal, but the best example of an evergreen candle is. . . well. . . a candle that smells like evergreen trees. At my previous job, men and women alike went crazy over Frasier Fir candles. They smell like Christmas! So it’s fitting to give your employees the smell of Christmas during the holidays!
- Frasier Fir Ceramic Medium Candle | $32.00
#18. Board Game
Gifting a good board game tells your employees that you support fun and want them to spend quality time with family and friends. You can even encourage employees to start a game night to socialize with their coworkers. If HR is hesitant about having Cards Against Humanity as the company gift, here are some more appropriate choices.
- Ticket to Ride | $39.99
- Settlers of Catan | 39.99
- Apples to Apples | $14.49
- Pandemic | $39.99
# 19. Bedding
Everyone needs a good night’s sleep! Give your employees luxurious sleep with state of the art pillows or sheets from Malouf, a Utah-based company. To make things easier, you could give them a gift card so the employees can pick specific sheets or pillows that fit their preferences.
- Pillows | Malouf Gelled Microfiber | Pair $130.00
#20. Winter Gloves
If you experience cold winters like we do in Utah, a nice pair of gloves is always welcome. And a functional pair of gloves is even better! In today’s smartphone world, the best gloves can work with touchscreens.
#21. Warm Blanket
Winter is coming and we all want to snuggle a soft blanket. The brilliant thing about gifting blankets is that it’s literally a message of warmth and comfort. There are a lot of blankets in the world and they run the gamut in price, so I’ve provided different styles and price points.
- Pendleton Contempo Plaid Throw | $59.00
- Woolrich Rough Rider Wool Blanket | $95.00
- Alice Lane Home Collection Egan Throw | $92.00
- CB2 Alpaca Ivory Throw | $129.00
No Matter What You Buy—Make it Thoughtful
Even if you buy all your employees the same holiday gift, you can still make it thoughtful. It’s all in the messaging. The trick is to include a card that explains the thoughtfulness behind a gift.
For example, if you buy employees a Blue Apron gift card, type a message about how you’ve enjoyed Blue Apron because you’ve grown healthier and closer to your family by cooking together. Explain that you want your employees to eat good food when they come home from work. This is a generic outline, but make the message as personal as possible. (You can mention a particular dish you cooked, etc.)
Company gifts are stressful, but hopefully these ideas can help you find the right holiday gift for your co-workers, boss, employees, team members, or manager.