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Did your holiday gifts for your employees fall flat this time around? If so, bookmark this article and resolve to do a little better next holiday season.

Gifting your employees can help boost their motivation around the end of the year when your office needs it the most. However, money bonuses aren’t always the best option. Surprisingly, over-reliance on monetary awards can lead to decreased productivity.

On the other hand, some studies have shown that targeted gifts of appreciation can be more productive than any cash award. In fact, other studies have even indicated that only 1 in 5 employees would prefer a pay increase over additional benefits.

Holiday gifts work best if you can on the individual rather than on the work force as a whole. Then you can increase his or her internal motivation to stay productive. Below is a list of eight tips to choose what to get your employees over the holiday season.

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1. The Opportunity to Give to Others

Allowing your employees to choose which charity they give to can be incredibly rewarding. This is because your employees will feel more empowered when they have the chance to help make the choice.

In a completely different vein, you can encourage employees to give holiday gifts to their colleagues. For example, your office could have a potluck party or a white elephant party. Either way, allowing your employees to choose the gifts and who they go to can grant warm feelings of satisfaction and kindness.

2.  Charitable Holiday Gifts

Have you ever thought about giving holiday gifts in your employees’ names to a cause that is either close to you geographically or significantly important on a large scale? Such gift-giving can help your employees feel loyalty to your corporate moral or ethical code. It shows heart and kindness, qualities many employees hold dear.

3.  Practical Gifts

Holiday gifts of a practical nature can be gifts employees truly appreciate. Items such as high-quality laptop cases, satchels, folios, pens, and even jackets are something that your employees use every day while working or while traveling to work.

4.  Food as Holiday Gifts

If you know your employees personally, food is always an attractive reward. Meals and gifts of specialty foods are comforting and pleasant. Holiday gifts of food are often greatly appreciated.

5.  Vacation Days

Who would say no to another day or two off a year? Even giving a specific day off is a welcome reward. A great way to frame it is to give a holiday off that is normally worked. For example, many employees would welcome having Valentine’s Day or Martin Luther King Day off.

You can support your employees spending time with loved ones and family by giving a holiday gift of an additional vacation day. Moreover, packaging it with a holiday shows the gift isn’t just about a day off but about the day in and of itself.

6.  A “No Questions Asked” Day Off

There are some days when an employee just needs a get out of jail free card. So give a holiday gift of a no-questions-asked day of respite. Whether it is because they went a little hard at the bar the night before or they mentally just need a day off, it truly doesn’t matter. It will be appreciated.

7.  The Gift of Gratitude

Note that the theme of these holiday gifts is showing appreciation. In other words, each of these holiday gifts is keyed to giving the gift of gratitude. Without your employees, your company would not exist.

Therefore, commemorate a great year with a personalized trophy or award to show your appreciation. For example, get an employee an award for employees who have been stellar in their work during the year. A well-designed award will be something they will proudly display either at home or on their desk.

8.  An Education Course or Conference Ticket

Career development may sound like an odd holiday gift. However, it really is a gift that shows your consideration. You want your employees to grow personally and professionally. The more they see this, the more loyal and appreciative they will be toward the business in general.

Show Appreciation and Gratitude with Your Holiday Gifts

The key to giving great holiday gifts is to give something that shows your appreciation and gratitude for the prior year’s service, and your employees need to understand that you see them as individuals.

For the benefit of your company, content and motivated employees will help grow your business from within through loyalty, motivation, and hard work.