Blog / Employee recognition

How to give the ideal holiday gift with Tremendous

By Kate Monica|4 min read|Updated Nov 2, 2023

A gift box with money and gift cards inside.

Giving employees the right holiday gift isn’t difficult – for most people, it's money they can spend however they want. Ultimately, people just want the gift of choice.

And getting holiday gifts right is worthwhile. The ROI on the right gift is surprisingly high. 

We surveyed 1,500 employees across 10 industries on their opinions about holiday gifts, and found out what they want, what they don’t want, and whether there’s any measurable ROI on allocating some budget for holiday gifts.

For about 75% of employees, the right gift boosts job satisfaction for 3 months or more. And for nearly half, this lift lasts a year or more. 

In this guide, we’ll tell you how to quickly and easily send the ideal holiday gift with Tremendous. 

And you don’t need to outsource gifting. You can handle everything yourself, from personalization to sending, in 5 simple steps. 

Ready to send holiday gifts with Tremendous? Sign up now or chat with our sales team. 

Jump to the section you care about

Not sure whether to send holiday gifts this year?

Here are some resources that may help to inform your decision.

Step 1: Decide who will receive a holiday gift

The majority of respondents (65%) agreed that everyone at the company should receive a holiday gift. 

That being said, most respondents reported they would understand if the company decided to forgo holiday gifts during a slow year. A little over half of employees said they should only receive a gift when the company is doing well financially. 

“I don’t want company resources to be spent on employees when times are not great,” wrote one employee. 

A graph showing that most employees believe gifting should be tied to the health of the company.

If it’s a difficult year, consider doing one of the following:

  • Halve your gifting budget, across the company: if you ordinarily spend about $100 a head, send $50 instead.

  • Don’t send any holiday gifts this year. Employees, on the whole, prefer that companies send a gift to either everyone or no one. Sending gifts only to upper management, or only to top performers, will rub 65% of employees the wrong way. 

Step 2: Personalize your gift

By and large, respondents in our study stated they don’t care about receiving a gift picked out just for them. You don’t need to worry about buying a bike helmet for the avid cyclist at your company, or a record for the music fanatic.

Most people just want money, to spend however they like. 

However, half of respondents said a personalized note from their boss would be a nice touch. 

“Including cash in a holiday card with a personal note of thanks” is enough personalization for most people, respondents said.

A graph showing that adding a personal note goes a long way for gifting.

“[Gifts] makes me feel appreciated as it usually comes with a nice ‘thank you for all your hard work’ note,” said another.

You can use Tremendous to send an individualized note to each recipient in our custom rewards field

That way, you can tell Alice you appreciate how she helps teammates, Bob can know his patience with difficult clients is a huge asset, etc. Or you can suggest where to spend the money, without obligating the recipient. 

Step 3: Build a holiday gifting budget

According to our 2023 holiday gifting study, somewhere between $50-$100 will satisfy most (67%) employees. 

Of course, there are some caveats. 

People in operations or production, IT, finance, and senior management roles tend to have higher expectations for holiday gifts. 

Some employees in these roles and industries expect a holiday gift to cost between $1,000 to $5,000. 

It’s important to note, however, that those with expensive tastes are in the minority. Less than 5% of the 1,500 employees we surveyed expected a gift to fall within this range. 

To satisfy the highest number of people without straining your budget, it’s safe to cap gifts at $100.

Determining how much to give employees within this range, though, is a bit more nuanced.

We know that most employees believe everyone should receive a holiday gift. But opinions are split on whether everyone should receive the same amount.

Thirty-five percent of respondents say everyone should receive an equal sum. This, of course, isn’t a majority, but it is a sizable percentage. 

Meanwhile, 24% say the dollar amount should increase or decrease based on company or department performance. 

A graph showing that employee's improved attitudes from recieving an ideal gift lasts a surprisingly long time.

Another 28% say the dollar amount should be calculated based on individual performance benchmarks, including salary, seniority, and tenure. 

One solution is to introduce a tiered system to gifting:

  • Give everyone a set dollar amount (say $50.)

  • Depending on company and/or department performance, add a dollar amount. 

This will keep employees motivated to hit established company goals, while also ensuring everyone receives some kind of token of appreciation. 

Step 4: Decide who the gift should be from

Maybe your HR team distributes all holiday gifts. That’s common practice. However, don’t sign the gift “from HR”. Under any circumstances. 

Employees want a gift from their boss or the CEO of the company, with a slight preference for the former. Very few (4%) want a present signed, “from HR”. 

Interestingly, when we surveyed HR professionals, we found nearly one in 5 who sent a gift signed it from their department.

It makes sense that people prefer that the gift come from someone who knows their work: ideally, since a holiday gift is a show of appreciation, it means more coming from a direct supervisor who actually sees your day-to-day output. Or from the owners of the company, who oversee all the work that comes out of the organization. 

A graph showing that most employees want a gift from their boss or company owners, rather than the HR department.

People in tech, education and health services, and public administration tend to prefer that gifts come from their boss, while people in manufacturing or transportation and utilities tend to prefer that the gift comes from the company owners or leadership team. 

While HR has its role in maintaining employee satisfaction and ensuring everyone feels heard and supported, a gift from the central department that handles all employee matters can come off as a bit impersonal. 

Generally speaking, higher-income employees prefer a gift from their boss, while lower-income employees prefer a gift from the company. 

Step 5: Use Tremendous to quickly send holiday gifts

Now comes the easy part. You can send holiday gifts to your entire company using Tremendous, in just a few clicks. 

And don’t worry if you’ve got international employees. With Tremendous, you can send holiday gifts across the office or across the ocean. We offer rewards in over 200 countries, and we handle currency conversion and translation automatically. And for free. 

To send gifts to all employees in a single batch, just log into Tremendous and create a branded campaign template. 

Select the incentives you’d like to offer recipients. For holiday gifts, we recommend giving recipients the option to redeem flexible monetary rewards, like a prepaid Visa card, a PayPal transfer, a Venmo transfer, or an ACH transfer, which lands right in their bank account. 

A screenshot of the Tremendous UI for selecting which incentives to send.

Then, it’s time to craft your message. Brand the email with your logo and add your own personalized message (‘Thanks for all your hard work this year’ is enough personalization for most employees).

A screenshot of the Tremendous reward UI.

Finally, grab an Excel spreadsheet of all employees at the company. You can export this list directly from your existing HR management software, like Rippling or BambooHR. 

Format the list to include the required columns and bulk upload it within the Tremendous Dashboard. 

That’s it. You’re all set. 

A graph showing a customized personal message sent to recipients.
Quick hack: Want to schedule your reward for a specific day?

You can get employee gifts off your plate early, and still ensure they hit inboxes at the most festive time of the year. We let users schedule delivery for whatever future date they choose. 

Only your Tremendous Admin can do it, because these steps involve accessing your team’s settings.

If you’re the admin, though, all you have to do is:

  • Go to the left-hand menu, and click Team settings > Fields

  • Scroll down to find the Deliver at field, and select the checkbox to activate it. 

  • When you place your order, the Deliver at field will be listed when you add recipients. Specify the date you want the reward to hit using an MM/DD/YYYY format. Example: (e.g. 12/31/2021).

When your employees access their reward via email, they can select the incentive they want. This can be a direct deposit, prepaid card, donation, or a gift card to a retailer of their choice. 

Ready to send employee gifts?

Sign up and start sending rewards immediately. Or book a demo, and discuss how to approach holiday gifting with our experienced team. 

A screenshot of the Tremendous 2023 holiday gifting study.

Published November 2, 2023

Updated November 2, 2023

Share this article