Gift giving for the holiday season is a personalized way to show employee appreciation and celebrate everyone's contributions for the year.
Especially with remote workers, gift giving is a way for you to extend that connection, no matter where that employee is located.
That all being said, finding what to get and how to send it can be tough. But luckily we got the ultimate remote employee gift guide for you below.
Why should you send a gift to remote employees for the holiday season
With many teams still adapting to remote work, switching to hybrid, or just balancing changes from the Pandemic, employee burnout's high and morale low, leading to many employees reassessing their work opportunities.
And that's why companies are looking at their employee engagement strategy in a new way— putting people first by giving additional support for mental and physical well-being, recognizing employees' hard work and milestones, and celebrating employees whenever they can. That's why meaningful tokens like a holiday gift resonates all the more, especially for remote teams.
Employee appreciation is a simple way to improve morale. In fact, employee recognition programs have a direct relationship with retention and an employee who feels recognized is 63 percent more likely to stay with their current employer.
So recognize your employees with positive feedback and incentives and show your appreciation this year with a token of gratitude. And if you're looking for ideas for the best gifts, especially for remote workers, look no further!
Scroll through our extensive guide for holiday gift ideas below to find:
Mix of personalized and corporate gift ideas broken down by theme
Holiday ideas for remote employees activities
Boss gifts (and if you should give your manager a gift)
Show appreciation for your teams and make time for celebration this holiday season! Download our free holiday activity guide.
Home Office Gift Ideas
For the at-home office set up, desk accessories are not only thoughtful gifts but useful too (so they'll definitely be appreciated). Consider a few home office gifts from:
- Mobile holders perfect for monitors or the car
- Personalized coffee mug (or Stanley cup, a true trending item!)
- Desk succulents or house plants
- Desk organizers
- Notebooks, pens, or personalized stationary
- Lap desk
- Bluetooth accessories
- New planners
- Seasonal candles
- Selfie light for those zoom calls
- Standing desk accessories (a niche gift that helps so much!)
Pack a few ideas up together for a nice gift basket. Cooleaf brand partner Telescope offers a full-service swag program. They'll work with your team to bring your work-from-home gift ideas to life in one eco-friendly items for a gift box sent directly to your employees.
You can even pack a few ideas up together for a nice gift basket. Cooleaf brand partner Telescope offers a full-service swag program. They'll work with your team to bring your work-from-home gift ideas to life in one eco-friendly items for a gift box sent directly to your employees.
"Gift-giving, in almost all circumstances, seems to have a clear net positive effect on team culture and the practice carries thoughtfulness and humanity into company relationships," said Chloe Sapienza, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Telescope.
"The experience of interacting with physical items that embody ideas, sentiments, and initiatives (non-physical things) is crucial when we’re working remotely. So, when we can help facilitate gifting to move the needle positively forward for teams, it's super rewarding."
Think about combining wellness elements and some fun desk elements to your upcoming gift.
Remote Worker Gift Ideas
With organizations opting for remote or hybrid teams moving forward, many employees have taken advantage of the remote-work life style, from working in coffee shops, coworking spaces, or even from the road. Here are a few ideas to support your dispersed team, wherever they may be.
Coworking spaces or local workspace memberships are a great gift for workers looking to change up their workday. Workspaces offer a go-to spot for wifi, calls, or even in-person meetings if they need.
Check out national workspaces like Industrious or Bond Collective to see if you could offer membership access to your employees for a month or a whole year. Apps like Croissant even make it easy for on-the-go membership in major cities. Plus as a perk, most coworking spaces included unlimited coffee and tea!
Small, electronic gadgets or work accessories are not only great options, but useful for remote employee gifts, especially if they're working on-the-go. Someone might not necessarily treat themselves to office supplies but it will certainly be appreciated (and used!). A few tech corporate gifts to check out:
- Mini wireless speakers
- Wireless or noise cancelling headphones
- Power banks / chargers
- Cord Organizers
- Laptop bags
- Laptop stickers
- Pop sockets
- Phone case
- Tile or small keychain trackers (so you never lose your keys!)
- Bluetooth devices (headphones, keyboards, or wireless mouse)
- Laptop camera covers (to slide closed when you’re not on a video call)
You can find branded electronics or office products your team is sure to love too. Creative and design team, Systemax can help you build and create branded merchandise for your organization to purchase in bulk or to order on-demand. You can even build your own team store and provide a few options to your team so they can select which tech gifts they'd want to receive.
Company Swag and Apparel
While your team is dispersed, apparel is a great way to celebrate your crew and have them show team spirit with branded laptop stickers, water bottles, and hoodies. You can purchase these in bulk or on-demand, and Cooleaf branded merchandise partners can help you ship to each employee as needed.
Subscriptions for the year or three months, are pretty perfect gifts. And they keep on giving. There are so many subscription options to choose from, like physical gift boxes like Snackcrate, or streaming services like Netflix.
You know these gifts will be appreciated— who doesn’t like getting mail?— and if you’re unsure, you can always ask your people if they’d prefer this subscription versus this one as gift options.
Gift Box Ideas
Speaking of gift boxes, why not one personalized gift box? include a handful of items to make maximum impact and are great gifts to surprise and delight employees when it arrives on their doorstep.
Coming up with the themes for your gift boxes is always fun, but companies like Cooleaf's partner SwagUp can also make it easier for you to organize and distribute.
SwagUp allows you to create custom, branded gift boxes filled with items from apparel and accessories. They also curated items for special occasions if you want to go beyond the holidays.
Through the Cooleaf platform, you can offer a few options of boxes for employees to select— think hot cocoa boxes or cozy winter boxes. Employees would be able to click the link, enter their shipping info, any sizing, and voila! A thoughtful gift delivered right to their door.
You can also DIY your own appreciation gift or use these ideas for a jumping off point:
Plant Growing Kit
Planting is a major hobby these days and added greenery increases workspace happiness. Send a personalized plant growing kit to your teammates. Desk succulent, seeds, and planting materials make for a cute, thoughtful gift that keeps blooming throughout the year.
Winter Holiday Gift Box
To be more inclusive for the holiday season, get festive with a winter holiday gift box. SwagUp can get you started with curated boxes like a Winter Cozy Box complete with blanket, mug, tea, and cozy socks that can all be branded to your needs. They also have a Winter Essentials Box with mittens and pom pom hat, all of which can be added to your team store too on Cooleaf.
Pet Care Gift Box
Many workers adapted to work from home and made the jump toward pet ownership. Why not offer a pet care gift box? Include treats, pet toys, or maybe a company branded pet bandana for those pet appearance on a Zoom meeting. You can search Etsy for additional, fun pet gear.
Sustainable Gift Box
Eco-friendly gifts are always useful and a great tie back to a company's values. Reusable water bottles, water bottle shoulder slings for hiking, pollinator plants, or metal or silicone straws are great giftables in any green box.
Telescope has a great gift box for this occasion. The company also prides itself on its sustainable sourcing and packaging too!
"I think gifts this year should be personally thoughtful and also economically thoughtful," said Chloe from Telescope. She suggests supporting locally-made goods to help neighbors. It also eases the strain on global supply chains, cutting back on extensive shipping too.
Telescope works closely with local merchants, so you can gift team members with things like a locally-made ceramic mug branded with a company logo paired with artisanal hot chocolate and hand-cut marshmallows in custom packaging.
Well-Being and Fitness Gift Ideas
Supporting employee health and well-being is a great way to encourage everyone to put their own care first. It's also a great way to get people moving and stay connected, even if they're working from home.
Continue to promote health and well-being on your team with these health oriented gift ideas.
Fitness Classes or App Memberships
Comped online classes or 1-year memberships to fitness apps are unique gifts that encourage and inspire— it's especially helpful since most employees kick off the year with fitness New Year Resolutions. Think popular apps like Peloton or Obé fitness
You can also offer to schedule a few classes for people to opt in. When many teams started going remote, organizations on Cooleaf started hosting weekly, live fitness classes via Zoom. Sometimes families would get involved too!
De-stress Wellness Kit
Consider this the self-care kit. Be sure to add an aroma diffuser, yoga mat, gratitude journal, and maybe a year-long membership for apps like Calm or Headspace.
Take it up a notch and gift some gear ahead of time from yoga mats, water bottles, and stretch bands, or towel. You can get everything branded with the company logo too or with on-demand printing like with product company Dreamship you can also create your own design or slogan to encourage everyone to keep moving!
As a Cooleaf partner, Cooleaf and Dreamship can work with you to offer a few items to build out a team gift shop with personalized team swag for you.
Foodie Gift Ideas
International Snack Box
A mix of sweet and salty snacks from around the world. Check into snackish gift box subscriptions or DIY your own for your team. Companies like Universal Yums curates "gastronomical delights" from different countries and provides additional information to learn more.
Coffee & Tea Tasting
Missing the morning coffee talk by the coffee or water cooler? Why not treat your team to a virtual coffee and tea tasting? Curate your own box to send out or use services like Sipsby or gift sets from La Colombe. Then set a time for everyone to come bring their drinks and opinions to a virtual call.
Hot Cocoa Kit
This is a fun gift families can enjoy together. Gift a branded mug and all the fixings for hot chocolate from marshmallows, sprinkles, pretzels, or cookies. SwagUp has their own version that includes two campfire mugs and cocoa too.
As a holiday event, host a Cocoa Competition and see who can make impressively decorated, high-quality cocoa mugs.
Virtual Team Building Events
If you have a fully remote team, treating everyone to virtual events like Escape Rooms or online gaming is not only a fun, unique gift but another way for everyone to get to know one another at a more personal level.
Set aside time during the week to encourage everyone to participate. You can find online activities to just have fun, to collaborate, or to learn something new together.
Organizations on Cooleaf, utilize the platform to host live tutorials like flower arranging or cooking classes. To help everyone get ready, you can also send along the gear or items team members might need ahead of time.
If you're looking for events or activities to celebrate the holiday season with your team, check out our download for 12 Virtual Holiday Team Building Activities here.
Team or Department Gift Ideas
If you're looking for ways to celebrate your whole department or specific team, you can't go wrong with unique branded gear. Sure you can find items to put the company logo, but what about creating a unique design to represent your crew?
With on-demand printing from companies like Dreamship, you can upload your own designs and because it's on demand, you only print what you need. That means zero inventory, making it easy to design a few options so you can create and send out to your teammates.
"Dreamship allows partners to customize every item without the need for purchasing inventory. Not only is on-demand production a sustainable practice, but it also allows companies to hyper personalize every product," Nick from Dreamship said. "We’ve seen companies get really creative with their on-demand swag programs, for example setting up design competitions or milestone based reward programs. "
The Cooleaf team ran a challenge on our platform to come up with our own personalized swag, and it was a fun way to get creative and highlight our culture through design— and yes, maybe alluding to a few inside jokes too.
From the Dev Team to Customer Success, you can design and choose items from yoga mats, notebooks, t-shirts, and hoodies to showcase a design or saying only your squad would know.
Dreamship also has fun Christmas ornaments, home goods, or drink ware available to design specifically for the holidays.
"With the holidays right around the corner, we’ve seen businesses creating holiday themed designs on products like ornaments, drinkware, puzzles and even high quality electronics," Nick added. "As we approach the end of 2021 companies would be remiss to not show their appreciation for their employees as we all navigate the new normal workplace."
Your Go-To: Gift Cards
You can't go wrong with gift cards. They're flexible, easy to send to your remote team, wherever they may be, and are always useful to have! Send out go-to gift cards from major retailers like Amazon or Target, but be sure to send out a personalized message with a handwritten card or video along with it!
With Cooleaf, gifting gift cards is easy and personable, so no hassle to get it to your employees. You can also add fun holiday activities and video messaging to create a whole holiday experience that will engage and connect your team.
Should you give your boss a gift? Short answer: it up to you! Again, a holiday gift is always a meaningful way to express gratitude, build your connection, and spread cheer, but it is up to you if you want to send a card or gift to your manager.
A few ideas for managers, if you’re not sure what to get:
- Go local: share something memorable from your area and support a local business
- Tech gadgets: don’t feel like you need to go too big. Anything from wireless earbuds to extra chargers are always welcome
- Food & Drinks: Send along nice coffee, maple syrup, or even a favorite bottle of wine are small indulgences that everyone appreciates.
Choose Your Own Adventure with Cooleaf Points
Points as gifts? With employee engagement platform Cooleaf, you can gift employees bulk points in the spirit of the holidays, giving them even more flexibility to select their own gift cards, team store merch, travel experiences, and more.
Within the Cooleaf platform, you can also provide a range of activities for teams to get together for the holidays, award points, and recognize employees for their hard work.