Dos and Don'ts of Festive Workplace Gifting

Oct 11, 2021 · Blog
Christmas presents

Sharing gifts amongst close friends and family is what Christmas is all about, whether that’s a delicious meal, their favourite album, or a bracelet they’ve had their eye on for the whole year (well done on picking up on their hints, eventually 😉).

There’s a lot of expectations for gift-giving in the workplace ahead of the holiday season. Unfortunately, most of us have had to open a mug with our name on it or a pair of Simpsons socks under the eager eye of our gift giver, while we try to fake a smile and hurriedly shove the gift in our bags so the attention can move away from us (we all dread the thought of this exchange made even worse over zoom) – not fun, is it?

We’re here to make sure gift giving at work IS fun! Sharing appreciation for your employees with a gift should never be dull, stressful or cringey. The month leading up to the festive holiday is a great opportunity to host seasonal parties and present your employees, or co-workers, with a present or gift. Workplace gift-giving is a great way to boost morale, strengthen workplace relationships and will leave employees feeling appreciated for all their hard work at the end of year.

There are still some simple guidelines and etiquette for holiday gift giving that we suggest you follow that can help avoid any awkward moments or uncomfortable exchanges. Let’s look at some simple dos and don’ts to follow to put a smile on everyone’s faces this festive season.

Dos and don’ts of holiday gift giving


Be too personal

Including a personalised gift is a nice idea and could be great in showing your attention to likes and dislikes of your staff or co-workers, but make sure you don’t go overboard with it.

If they mentioned they enjoyed a meal at a restaurant in the break room the other day, a voucher for that restaurant could be a great idea! If it’s relatively general and isn’t something they shared in confidence then you should be all good, but a personalised gift like a favourite childhood book or a purse with their initials engraved on it isn’t really appropriate and could cause some bother if other employees or colleagues suspect any favouritism.

A good rule of thumb is that if you would buy it for Valentine’s Day for your partner, it shouldn’t be a gift for your employees or co-workers.

Be the only one to gift your boss

Giving a gift to someone in a higher position could be interpreted the wrong way.

Another general rule is that gifts should go down from the company workforce, not up. Although a nice thought, a gift to your boss could create the impression that an employee is trying to gain special attention or a favour in return. Instead, why not get your team or department together to thank your boss collectively! 

The focus of a gift should always be to show appreciation and recognition after a great year working together.

Leave anyone out

Make sure that everyone who would be happy to receive a Christmas gift receives one to avoid anyone feeling isolated at work.

This means taking the time to make sure you’ve included everyone on your list. This includes receptionists, administrative assistants, secretaries and any other support staff you might not interact with on a daily basis. When they receive a gift from you, it's a huge reminder that you still appreciate their work!

 Exclude yourself from the fun

Getting involved in the festivities is a great way to build stronger bonds amongst teams and can improve the overall workplace culture.

Even if you are feeling like a bit of a Grinch, try to embrace the holiday spirit and involve yourself in the gift exchange. It’s worth it in the long run and can really set the tone for the end of the year and the beginning of the new year to come.


Create a budget

Arguably one of the most important things to consider when organising workplace gifts is a budget for spending.

This could mean a budget for HR to spend on their employees or a budget for secret Santa gifts amongst departments and teams. We recommend you have a recognition or appreciation budget in your company recognition program for year-round use, but it’s worth revising that ahead of Christmas to make sure it’s up-to-date.

Set limits for your spending and keep it reasonable. What matters is the thought behind the present, not the price tag. A spending limit of £20-£50 max per head is a fair amount. You want your staff to feel appreciated, but you also want to avoid overspending and any financial stress or hardship.

Talk to your employees

There’s nothing wrong with asking your staff now if they’d like to be included in gift exchanging in December.

Send out a short survey and see how people are feeling about the idea of exchanging gifts. Be mindful of people’s beliefs and respect their decision if they would rather not be included in the secret Santa exchange.

You don’t want anyone to feel pressured to exchange gifts amongst themselves so make sure you have laid out any company guidelines so that employees know what to expect and know how to opt out should they wish to do so.

Keep it simple

There’s no harm in keeping corporate Christmas gifting simple, it’s always going to be the thought that counts.

Instead of finding individual presents for everyone, it could be a great idea to buy the same thing for each person. This makes the task far less time consuming for you and often rules out any surprise or unwanted costs too.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for Christmas gifting in 2021, our already curated festive gift boxes are a great place to start! We have a selection of seven corporate Christmas boxes that are guaranteed to surprise and delight.

Prioritise gratitude

We believe gratitude is for everyone so giving thankful appreciation should always be incorporated into the everyday lives of your entire workforce.

If you build a strong healthy workplace culture of recognition, it will be easy and less daunting to embrace the Christmas gifting season. Appreciate the work your employees do every day by being vocal and open about how thankful you are for their time, effort, and knowledge and share how that contributes to the success of the entire company.


Our bespoke gift boxes are a fantastic way to show appreciation all year round. We make it fun and easy for you to make employees feel appreciated and inspire a great company culture at the same time.

That’s the beauty of it!


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