employee appreciation ideas during holidays

4 min read

The holidays are a special time of year – people’s moods begin to lift with the festive cheer and there’s an unspoken feeling of joy in the air. You can snowball that feeling of goodwill to show appreciation to everyone in your business in simple yet effective ways.

Of course, the end of the year can also be a time of stress, with some employees feeling overwhelmed. It’s important to be mindful of how this can affect people’s attitudes towards work. They may be struggling to make ends meet and feel under pressure to buy presents, or they may be alone and have to spend time on their own during a traditional time of gathering.

Keeping employee engagement high is critical every day, but it’s especially impactful during the holiday season when there can be high stress.

Before I go off and celebrate, I want to leave you with six helpful ways to show employees your appreciation and keep spirits high during the holiday season.

employee appreciation ideas during holidays

Food is always a win

Food is a guaranteed hit when it comes showing your appreciation. In bigger companies, giving a budget to each team or department for a meal, and in smaller companies, setting aside a budget for everyone to get together, allows everyone to get together and swap their stories of the year in a more relaxed environment.

You could also have an office cookie swap, where individuals or teams bring in a batch of cookies and everyone gets to take a variety home (or eat them all before they go home, we won’t judge).

employee appreciation ideas during holidays

Decorating the office

You bet it does! Decorating the office, where both employees and visitors can all see it, is a great way to spread festive appreciation for your workforce. Try planning a holiday-decorating night, where employees get together to decorate together.

Or try planning a crafting night at the office – making wreaths, snowflakes and everything in between – as a dedicated time to decorate with hot chocolate. Check out our infographic to discover new ideas for showing employees  appreciation year round »

employee appreciation ideas during holidays

Time to celebrate together

A much debated aspect of the holidays is the party. Some companies prefer to avoid them at all costs while others embrace them with open arms, and neither are wrong – it all comes down to the culture of your company. I’m a big advocate of getting as much of the company together as possible to celebrate the holidays in some form or another.

For example, RG’s Boston office is getting together as a group and going to brew beer at a local brewery. The best part? The beer will be delivered to the office a few weeks later and we can all try it together at our global business meeting!

Pro tip: If you’d rather avoid a party that brings the potential alcohol-related slips then you could try another route, such as splitting your company or department up into teams and having a lighthearted trivia night.

Ease financial troubles

If you can manage it, paying your employees even a few days early can help bring a little holiday cheer by helping ease end-of-year, bill-paying stress and potentially avoiding debt. Offering employees a great perk that helps them save money on gift-giving, like our employee discounts program, can help further keep money in your people’s pockets.

Jingle all the way

What better way to fully set the holiday mood in the office than with feel-good holiday music? That being said, not everyone has the same taste in music, so it’s important to ask others what they’d prefer to listen to (and you'll add some variety to your workday!).

Start a new initiative where a different person in the office gets to choose the station or album they want to listen to for the day.

Saying “Thank You” with a card

A handwritten card wishing people a happy holiday season and a big thank you for the efforts over the year goes a long way. If your company is too large to have your CEO handwrite cards for everyone, try encouraging line managers and department heads to write cards for the individual members of the team. You could even send them to employees’ homes for a bigger impact!

employee appreciation ideas during holidays

If handwriting isn’t an option, digital eCards through your employee recognition platform can spread merriment across the offices and encourage others to send eCards as well, since they all live on a social recognition wall for the whole company to see. We design new ones every year – this year we went with a fun avocado-pun approach!

I'd love to hear even more ideas of how you spread cheer throughout your office(s) this holiday season. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments below or reach out to me on LinkedIn.

Carla Sutherland

Carla Sutherland is an HR Business Partner at Reward Gateway and adores her two French bulldogs, Pickles and Pesto.

HR Business Partner

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