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30 Best Employee Gifts - Ultimate Corporate Gift Guide For 2021

Photo: LL Studio / Shutterstock
3 girls in Christmas attire exchange gifts

The holiday season is a tricky time of year for employers and employees alike. With end-of-year work, holiday celebrations, vacations, bonuses, there’s a lot going on in the boss-employee dynamic.

Especially given the huge rise in the number of remote employees, relations between workers and their bosses have evolved.

That’s why it’s important to embrace some of that holiday spirit to foster employee engagement through gifts on this special occasion.

Gift-giving can be tricky, but a good boss should think about buying thoughtful gifts for employees in most cases.

Generally, you want your employees to get some use out of the gift and to feel like you really considered them when deciding what you wanted to get them. 

Members of your close, day-to-day team are the ideal recipients. Odds are that you know them well enough both so that you can get something that they will like and use and so that it’s socially acceptable to be buying them gifts.

You can always go with some of the classics of the workplace gift options like gift baskets, gift cards, water bottles, or coffee mugs.

Given the move to remote work, it might be a good idea to go with a high quality gift set for the home office. Or maybe corporate gifts aren’t really your thing and you want to go for a really personalized, great gift box.

If you need some help coming up with a plan, here is our list of 30 employee gift ideas.

A gift card so that whatever they get is exactly what they want.

Gift cards are perfect, basic gifts, especially if you don’t know the employees especially well or if you know where they like to shop.

RELATED: 49 Best Secret Santa Gifts Under $20 To Give Your Friends & Co-Workers In 2021

Chocolates for a sweet and shareable gift.

Chocolates are great gift ideas for people that you know that you want to get something for, but you aren’t quite sure what. The employee can eat them themselves or share them with others.

A notebook for journaling and note-keeping.

Photo: Uncommon Goods

We don’t do quite as much handwriting these days, but it’s hard to beat a nice, quality notebook for when you want to step away from that screen. The Stitch Your Road Trip notebook is the right mix of rustic and inexpensive and would make a great notebook for an employee.

Where to Buy: Uncommon Goods, $35.00

Fitness equipment to stay active at home.

Photo: Amazon

With more people working from home these days, it’s undoubtedly been even more difficult to get to the gym. Some exercise equipment for the home is a great gift for the employee that you know wants to start being more active.

The Amazon Basics Neoprene Coated Dumbbells make for a good, inexpensive, entry-level dumbbell set for keeping the blood flowing while we’re working from home.

Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

A digital photo frame to show off a whole album of memories.

Photo: Amazon

Digital photo frames are great little gifts, especially for people with limited desk space and lots of photographs. For the cost of the space of one photo frame, you can view a whole slide show of different pictures.

This Topbly Digital Picture Frame has plenty of storage and good image quality for its price.

Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

A neck pillow to avoid neck aches on long trips.

Photo: Amazon

If you know that your employee travels a lot, then a neck pillow is really something that they could use. Avoid neck pains when flying or when being driven places.

The Amazon’s Choice MLVOC Travel Pillow includes memory foam and has a nice, high profile to allow for rest even when completely upright.

Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

Movie tickets so they can enjoy nights off.

Your employees devote a lot of time to their jobs, so you can gift them with movie tickets to give them some time to devote to themselves! 

A streaming service subscription so they can watch all the new shows and movies from home.

A practical gift for at-home entertainment. Streaming services have risen massively in popularity since the beginning of the pandemic, but there are a lot of them, so the odds of your employee having them all is very low. Take your pick, there’s something good to watch on each one.

A lap desk so they can have a change of scenery while working.

Photo: Amazon

Take your work or entertainment for a change of scenery with a little desk that you can put on your lap. A lap desk can make working from home a bit more varied and allow for some more scenery flexibility.

We think that the LapGear Home Office Lap Desk is the right mix of price, size, and utility.

Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

Scented candles to help freshen up the home office.

Photo: Uncommon Goods

Scented candles are great for creating a little bit of atmosphere and make for solid table decoration. These Uncommon Goods Terrarium Candles both smell and look great!

Where to Buy: Uncommon Goods, $26.00

Wine for the employee who always has a tumbler in hand.

If your employee is a wine person then that opens up a whole world of possibilities for gifts. The first, and most obvious of which, is a nice wine. Wine works well at family and holiday events but it can also just stick around until a worthy occasion in the future.

Glasses for the employee that always hosts work parties.

Photo: Amazon

Wine glasses or even a nice engraved glass set are classy but not over the top. If you have employees that have moved recently or are moving in the future, then this could be a really practical gift.

These Amazon’s Choice Wine Glasses are great for filling out that cupboard and breaking out for special occasions. 

Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

Wine glass charms for get-togethers with friends.

Photo: Amazon

Wine charms are cute little designators that you can put on the stem of a wine glass to indicate whose is whose. A practical and cute choice for holiday festivities, these Wine Glass Charms from MOSNLEILA are our choice as this year’s stocking stuffers.

Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

Custom apparel to represent in comfort.

Giving out company apparel, particularly cozy winter clothes, can really add a sense of company loyalty. Custom company apparel is practical and a safe, on-brand choice.

An audiobook subscription so employees can listen on the go.

Busy people like books too, but sometimes the only time you get for books is during workouts or commutes. Or, maybe you’re tired of reading after work and you would rather be read to. Audiobooks are generally inexpensive and can make for hours of entertainment.

RELATED: 20 White Elephant Gift Ideas Under $20 Your Friends Will Fight For

Noise-canceling headphones for a noiseless work environment.

Incredibly, despite the last year and a half forcing us all to spend more time at home, a lot of people are still using earbuds from 2011 for their computer audio. A nice new pair of noise-canceling headphones is perfect for both the home and company office environments.

Blue light filtering glasses to protect their eyes.

Photo: Amazon

Staring at screens all day is our new normal but that doesn’t mean that our eyes need to suffer for it. Blue light filtering glasses are a good gift for employees that look at screens all day or easily get eye strain from screens.

Our pick is the Amazon essentials Unisex Blue Light & UV400 Blocking Glasses. 

Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

A lumbar support pillow to help straighten posture.

Photo: Amazon

Whether your employee spends a lot of time in computer chairs, in the car, or on trains or planes, they probably know the discomfort of a sore lower back.

Supporting your lower back is really important given the reality of working in sedentary jobs, that’s why the Amazon’s Choice RS1 Back Support Pillow by Relax Support is our choice for a great lower back support pillow gift.

Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

Winter hats to help them keep warm during winter weather.

Photo: Shopbop

This one’s an obvious and safe pick. Gloves, hat, scarf, take your pick, you can’t really go wrong with winter clothes if you have cold winters where you live.

This Brixton hat on Shopbop is a cute, warm, and subtle beanie that makes for a great gift in preparation for the cold.

Where to Buy: Shopbop, $32.00

Coffee bombs for fun and warmth on a cold day.

Photo: Amazon

Assuming your employee drinks coffee, they’ll appreciate this simple gift. Good coffee bombs are great on a cold day. Our choice for coffee bombs in the Bombombs Coffee Mocha Latte Bombs on Amazon.

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Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

Portable speaker to take the tunes along anywhere.

Photo: Amazon

Portable speakers tend to more so be a gift for warmer seasons when having a wireless, cordless speaker is especially useful. Going with this option all but guarantees that your gift won’t be overlapping someone else’s.

Our preferred portable speaker is the Fiodio IPX6 Waterproof Portable Speakers on Amazon.

Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

Pocket coolie to stylishly control condensation.

Photo: Amazon

Pocket Coolies, similarly to the portable speaker, are best used for cold drinks during warm weather and are also a pretty safe gift for the same reason. Plus they serve as a reminder of better weather.

Our choice for pocket coolies doubles down on the summery vibes, Boat Gifts Beer Coolie Nautical Gift Set Cruise Gifts 6-pack.

Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

A travel mug to keep the cool drinks cool and the warm ones warm.

Photo: Amazon

Another gift for the employee that does a lot of traveling, or maybe just the one that forgets about their coffee and wants to avoid coming back to find it cold. The travel mug is a great gift for all sorts of employees.

Our travel mug of choice is the HAUSHOF 24 oz Travel Mug on Amazon.

Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

An Edible Arrangement for a delicious gift.

A holiday classic, edible arrangements are fantastic for holiday festivities and having guests over. Chocolate-covered fruits are a delicious staple of the holiday season.

A Christmas wreath to hang up and show some holiday cheer.

Photo: Amazon

You could go big or small with this one. Either a full-size, actual wreath to hang on a door or even a few little ones to decorate desks, cars, etc.

The National Tree Company Pre-Lit Artificial Christmas Wreath on Amazon is great since it won’t dry out and isn’t too expensive.

Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

Winter gloves to keep the cold out.

Photo: Shopbop

Winter gear is always a good buy for the holidays. Our pick for a good pair of winter gloves is the Plush Fleece-Lined Texting Mittens from Shopbop.

Where to Buy: Shopbop, $50.00

A donation in their name to a worthy charity.

Making a donation in the name of someone is a highly personal gift. Make sure that you know who you’re considering this gift for and what causes matter to them. When done well this one can be a really personally satisfying gift — when done poorly it might come across as tasteless or vapid.

The classic coffee mug with a personalized spin.

Photo: Amazon

The coffee mug is an office staple gift and will work well in a pinch, whether as a part of a larger gift or as a gift for an employee that you don’t know too well. You can go with a company mug or this Customized Photo Mug from Amazon.

Where to Buy: Check prices and reviews on Amazon.

A spa day for some real R&R.

A spa day is a solid personalized gift, even if the employee doesn’t regularly go to spas. It might be a bit hit or miss, but a spa day can really prove to be a memorably relaxing experience.

The best gift of all: vacation time.

Gifts and all are nice but it's important not to skimp on the things that really matter. Employees support the company when the company supports them. Give them healthy time off and a healthy bonus and they’ll give a healthy effort in return. The gift of time is invaluable.

RELATED: 35 Truly One-Of-A-Kind Gift Ideas For The Person Who Has Everything

Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.

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