Most Americans spend an average of around $900 on Christmas presents every year.

When it comes to buying presents for your employees, that number can get even higher if you aren’t careful. That’s why, as a business owner, you have to set a gift budget and stick to it like glue.

But how do you do that and get good presents for your employees?

Keep reading to learn how to set a holiday budget and how to come up with small gift ideas for your employees below.

How Much to Spend on Holiday Gifts for Employees

While it would be nice to get each of your employees a new, expensive electronics, you’re running a business. There’s a good chance you can’t afford to spend this much money per person, no matter how generous you are.

So how much should you spend on holiday gifts instead?

Well, it depends.

Some businesses only have a few employees. These businesses might have a bigger gift budget than businesses with thousands of employees.

The amount you spend on holiday gifts will also depend on how much money your business can set aside. In some cases, this might not be much.

We’ve put together a quick guide to help you figure out how much money you should spend on holiday gifts for your employees below.

So let’s dive in.

Set a Budget and Stick to It

First things first, you need to set a gift budget and stick to it.

Think about how much money you want to spend per person. Many businesses put the dollar amount between $20 to $50 for every employee.

Buying gifts over $50 can get a little tricky.

If the gift is too expensive, you might embarrass the recipient. Some large corporations may have a limit set on what employees are allowed to accept. This limit may prevent employees from accepting a gift that costs more than $20-$25.

Because of this, it’s better to choose a lower amount rather than a higher amount. Once you pick the budget for each employee, make sure you stick to it.

Write a List of Recipients

Write down a list of all your gift recipients.


It’ll help prevent mistakes, like forgetting someone. Realizing you didn’t buy one of your employees a present will result in hurt feelings or scrambling around last minute to find something.

Either way, a list of recipients will keep you on track and accurate.

Buy Everyone the Same Thing

You should always buy every employee of the same level the same gifts. Personalization might seem nice, but it can get complicated.

For example, your employees will notice if you give one person a gift basket and another person a new laptop. This can look like favoritism and lead to hurt feelings.

It’s a better idea to give everyone the same gift so they all feel valued and appreciated.

Cash Bonuses Are a Different Story

Cash bonuses aren’t the same as holiday presents.

These bonuses are another form of compensation. They’re also usually kept private. So you can give different cash bonus amounts to your employees if you want to show appreciation for the amount of work they contributed throughout the year.

Small Gift Ideas for Your Employees

Now that you have a dollar amount for each person, it’s time to pick the perfect presents for your employees.

While mugs are a good, classic option, there are a lot of other items between $20 and $50 to choose from.

Here are a few small gift ideas to consider.

Get Something They Can Use in the Office

Buying something your employees can use around the office is always a good idea. It’s something they can enjoy, but it’s also something that can boost their productivity or make their workday easier.

This is where a mug might come in. Over 80% of working Americans drink coffee every morning to fuel themselves. You may as well give them something to drink it out of.

But these gifts might also include the following:

  • Terrarium or desk plant (lowers stress and boost productivity)
  • Zen garden (encourages relaxation)
  • Essential oil diffuser (clears the mind, increases positivity and productivity)
  • External charger (helpful during long workdays and meetings)

These are just a few ideas of useful office presents. There are many other gifts that’ll make your employees’ workdays easier.

Edibles Are Popular

You can’t go wrong by giving your employees some holiday treats or other foods. Just make sure you avoid common food allergies so everyone can enjoy their gift.

But food doesn’t have to be limited to chocolates or cookies.

Consider giving a bean box coffee sampler or a tea chest. These are classic favorites all your employees can enjoy.

Gift Cards Are a Good Choice

Gift cards are a good way to give your employees a holiday present while ensuring they get something they love. Gift cards also can also give your employees a way to do something fun with their families.

You could give gift cards to popular stores like Target or Best Buy, restaurants in the area, or places like movie theaters.

You Can Also Choose a Charitable Gift

Want to do something a little different and more meaningful?

Give to your employees and back to the community by choosing a charity and making a donation in each of your employees’ names. This will make your employees feel good and help others in need.

Other Gift Alternatives

You don’t have to buy presents for your employees every holiday season. Instead, you could offer them discounted coupons or for your e-commerce products, host an open house event, or send them greeting cards.

These gift alternatives are good options for businesses that have a lot of employees or a small gift budget.

Choosing the Right Holiday Presents for Your Business

Don’t let yourself get too caught up in the holiday spirit. Just because you have a lot of money to spend on gifts this year doesn’t mean you should. Your employees will notice the difference when you have to buy cheaper presents the year after.

Remember to set a budget and stick to some of these small gift ideas instead. This will give you a way to show your appreciation to all your employees.

After all the holiday celebrations are over, you and your employees could all use a vacation. Click here to learn why vacations from the workplace are so important.