Unless you make an every-year holiday tradition out of canned mixed nuts and flavored popcorn, you're always on the lookout for thoughtful, interesting holiday gifts to give your employees. Imaginative presents celebrate your company spirit without engraving your logo on everything you hand out, combining reasonable cost with enough cleverness to become the subject of "remember-when" conversation at the water cooler. These ideas may take more effort, but they enhance morale and recognize employee commitment.
Barter With Clients
If your client roster includes a restaurant, jewelry store, theater or any other type of business that sells consumer goods and services, strike a deal to deduct the wholesale cost of an appropriate quantity of your client's products from an upcoming invoice. Alternatively, if your employee rosters compare favorably in size, swap gift lists with your client and provide each other's holiday giveaway goodies. Create a special note or card on your computer and printer, featuring your company identity and a message that addresses each employee by name on an individual card. To enhance the impact of the occasion, invite your client and her staff to attend the party and take plenty of pictures with your camera or smartphone. Post some images on your company intranet, social media or, in printed form, on your break-room bulletin board.
Use your computer and image-editing software to stitch together the casual, candid images you capture at sales meetings, company picnics, trade shows or community events into a holiday montage or panorama. Feature each employee at least once, randomizing the order in which individuals appear so the composite doesn't look like the hierarchy on your organizational chart. When you finish putting together your montage, hire a sign company to print one copy as a banner you can post during your holiday celebration. Give each employee a framed copy of the image at desktop size and create a digital-only version for use as a background image on company desktop computers or smartphones. On a more-ambitious budget, hire a local artist to draw caricatures of your employees and present gift-wrapped individual drawings or reproductions of a group portrait.
Turn your smartphone or camcorder video footage into a company movie that celebrates your employees with a mixture of gentle humor and praise. Use your home computer to edit together scenes from past holiday parties, company picnics, meetings, sales events, trade shows and humorous moments at the office. Bring an HDTV into your break room or party venue and screen the movie at your holiday event. If your get-together includes spouses and family members, capture footage of them at the event for use in a future movie.
Green Gifts and Generosity
For a lasting, practical, environmentally friendly gift, give your employees LED light bulbs they can use at home to replace inefficient, hot-running incandescents. Practical presents may lack the chuckle factor of a gag gift, but they offer real value in everyday life—and given how long an LED bulb can last, your gift truly does keep on giving. As a further display of your caring spirit, make a community-minded gift of cash, services or products to a not-for-profit organization that helps local families recover from natural disasters, job loss or illness. List all your employees' names on the acknowledgement, including them in the generosity, and plan a community-involvement day on which all of you pitch in to help with a charitable event.
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