10 Cool Employee Gifts for Birthdays, Celebrations or Just Because


Everybody knows that feeling appreciated at work is the ticket to motivation. You can make your workers feel like integral team members by surprising them with gifts on their birthday, during the holidays or when they do something props-worthy. This practice isn’t just good for morale, it’s also good for business.

According to a study from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), over 82 percent of HR professionals say employee recognition positively affects employee experience, relationships, engagement and organizational culture. And when your employees are happy, of course, they want to stay with the company. Proof: 81 percent of employees feel motivated to work harder when they feel appreciated by their boss!

But how do you make them feel valued? Shower them with gifts, of course! While the typical dozen donuts or Starbucks gift card will undoubtedly get use, you can show some serious appreciation when you get a little creative with your employee presents. Here are some fun new ideas to shake up your employee gifting game.

  • Personalized Mugs: Mugs are some of the most common office accouterments and for good reason. Coupled with some fresh-brewed coffee, they provide us with the boost we need to get through those particularly tough Mondays. Surprise your employee with a mug designed just for them, and don’t forget to throw in some coffee beans or gourmet tea to seal the deal.
  • A Pair of Crazy Socks: Want to show your team members that it’s OK to have a little fun at work? Give the gift of crazy socks in a theme that honors your recipient, industry or an inside joke. There are novelty socks for just about everyone, from people who love cats and tacos to firefighters and nurses.
  • A Nice, New Notebook: If you work in an industry that still relies on pen and paper, or if your employee just likes to take notes the old-fashioned way, then you can’t go wrong with a pretty, leather-bound notebook by Moleskine or a crafter on Etsy. You can get them personalized with your employee’s name, initials or a special quote for a sweet way to make it a bit more thoughtful.
  • A Surprise Day Off: Who wouldn’t want an extra day off? This is truly the ultimate gift for the hard-working employee who deserves the world. A time-off bonus is one of the most effective rewards you can give because it shows your employee that you appreciate her while also preventing burnout. Make it mandatory so they’re not tempted to come in anyway.
  • Happy Hour on the Company: This one’s perfect for new hires, birthdays and promotions. On occasion, it’s fun to gather at a bar and enjoy happy hour drinks and snacks on the company. Make sure to secure a big room or a group of tables so you’re not fighting off the regular after-work crowd and so that your team has an area where they can sit and
  • Unique Desk Accessories: Funky staplers, tape dispensers, pen containers, mousepads! These days, you can get all the most basic desk accouterments in crazy, unique and funny designs, whether your recipient is into glitter, unicorns, pro sports, cats or a certain franchise. Covering their desk in fun alternatives to office basics will make them smile every day when they walk in.
  • Special Company Swag: If you’re still using pens or one-size-fits-all tees as your company swag, it’s time to step things up. A good array of branded merchandise can save you tons of money, especially if you invest in stuff that people actually want. Think: Branded Bluetooth speakers, phone chargers, hoodies and Yeti tumblers. These goodies not only help promote your business, but they can be used as employee gifts or to thank your most loyal customers or clients.
  • Awesome Tech Accessories: Spoiling your workforce with tech gear that makes their work easier and their life more enjoyable is never a bad idea. If you work in an environment where listening to podcasts or music is allowed, consider giving them some nice Bluetooth headphones or a speaker. A fancy new mouse or keyboard will help get them excited about work, too.
  • Group Games and Activities: If you’re trying to reduce how much money you spend on gifts and other less-important luxuries, remember that special outings, games and activities will go over just as well (especially if they’re scheduled during the workday). For an employee’s birthday, a retirement or a big promotion, take the entire department out to lunch or to do a fun activity. To save some money, you could host a cocktail hour or game night at the office.
  • A Fancy, Insulated Lunch Box: Lunch is the best part of the workday for many hungry employees. Help your top-performing employees up their lunch game with a lunch box that keeps their food fresh all morning. You could also create a bundled gift by throwing in an insulated water bottle, too. For even more of an impact, pick up insulated lunch boxes and water bottles branded with your company’s logo.
  • Cool Graphic Tees: Many modern companies don’t have strict dress codes like they used to have before. If your company allows T-shirts and jeans or casual clothes, consider giving your employees awesome graphic tees as gifts. Go for high-quality cotton materials and prints for utmost comfort and style.

Don’t Forget the Card

Oh, and how could we forget? Make sure to pass around a birthday or congratulations card to the entire office or department so everyone can send their good wishes to the celebrant and show them how much they care! No matter what you’re toasting — a promotion, a birthday, a retirement or a new hire — your efforts will go a long way in making your employees feel valued.

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Hi, I'm James George, the founder of Mind My Business NYC and author of this blog. I am an entrepreneur and internet marketer. My wish is that this website helps you to grow your business and achieve your goals.


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