February 4, 2023

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Christmas is just around the corner and the holidays are in full swing. I like to “pamper” my employees with a little holiday cheer every year. As small business owners, it’s easy to forget the important stuff. That’s where I come in…I just can’t forget!

I focus on employee satisfaction throughout the year, from handing out awards to planning Halloween celebrations. But towards the end of the year it always feels like the floodgates are opening and I want to give my employees a little more than usual. But where do you start? How do you outdo yourself every year? Do not worry. My gift to you is this list of seven easy ways to thank your employees during the holiday season.

1. Give a handwritten thank you with a box of chocolates and cookies

This is the ultimate classic way to say thank you – and it’s still one of the best. This is it if you want something that’s not too flashy, but shows how much you appreciate your employees’ hard work. A handwritten thank you letter accompanied by a box of chocolates and cookies. While this may seem like a small gesture, it will have a big impact on your employees. Showing them that you care about what they do and appreciate their hard work builds trust and loyalty in the company.

Related: 4 Season Bustles to Make Your Pockets Ring

2. Plan a vacation to everyone on your team’s favorite destination

I know this sounds like a dream come true, but it’s doable.

Planning a vacation for your employees is a great way to show them you appreciate them.

It could be their favorite place in the world or somewhere nearby – whatever makes them happy will do. If you don’t have the budget to send everyone on a trip, consider sending your highest-performing or most deserving employees and their families. This way you can make sure everyone has a great time without breaking the bank or stressing about how much money you’re spending.

3. Do a gift exchange

A secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange is a fun way to get your employees excited and involved in the holiday spirit. Everyone gets an equal amount of money to spend on each other, and they can choose funny, thoughtful, or just plain silly gifts.

It’s also a great opportunity to get some insight into what your employees want – and what they might not have thought to ask for themselves.

Related: Why Giving Back Is Good For You And Your Business This Season (And All Year Long)

4. Give personalized gifts

A gift can be an excellent starting point for developing strong relationships. Giving is great, but giving thoughtful gifts is even better.

Personalized gifts are the perfect way to show your employees you appreciate them. And when your employees feel valued, they will be more motivated and productive at work.

In addition, personalized gifts are good for your wallet: you don’t have to spend a lot of money on expensive gifts for everyone in the office. A little imagination and patience will suffice.

For example, if you give your employees a nice bottle of wine, but don’t make anything special out of it, they’ll think it wasn’t such a great gift. But if you add some personal touches and make the process more thoughtful, your employees will feel much more valued.

A family portrait is my favorite personal gift.

5. Hand out bonuses

The holiday season is a time for giving, which is exactly what your employees deserve. A nice, fat bonus will help lift their spirits and show how much you appreciate their hard work throughout the year.

Bonus time is an opportunity to show your employees how much you appreciate them and the work they’ve done this year. If you already have a bonus system in place, consider adding extra money to your employees’ paychecks this year. Even if you don’t have a formal policy, consider giving something small as a token of appreciation.

While this may seem like a small gesture, it can go a long way in building relationships with your team members – which is positive for everyone in the long run.

Related: The truth behind the holiday delay and how to avoid it

6. Buy them a present from their wish list

This is the easiest way to show appreciation for your employees. It’s also the most meaningful because you’re giving them exactly what they want. It is guaranteed to be something they will love and use.

If you don’t know what they want, look at their social media profiles and see if there are any hints about their hobbies or interests. If not, ask them. Make sure you ask early enough so you can get them something in time for the holidays.

7. Give employees access to exclusive discounts

Sometimes an extravagant gift doesn’t fit your budget. However, you can still make an impact by giving your employees exclusive discounts on items they would like to purchase. For example, if you have an employee who runs often and loves running clothes, consider giving them a coupon code for 20% off Nike. This will allow them to get something they want without paying full price (and it will also make them feel valued).

When it comes to saying thanks, grand gestures and impressive gifts are always nice. But you can also go a long way with simple actions. I’m taking this to heart this holiday season because it takes some thoughtfulness on our part to show gratitude and create an atmosphere of appreciation for the hard-working people on our teams.

Related: These teens went on “Shark Tank” with a product that will change the way you decorate your Christmas tree. Now it’s a multi-million dollar business.

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