20 Creative Ways to Show Appreciation to Employees around Christmas

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The holiday season is upon us, and it’s the perfect time for employers to show employee appreciation at Christmas for their employees’ hard work throughout the year. By celebrating together and acknowledging the efforts of each team member, companies can boost morale, foster a positive workplace culture, and create lasting memories. But how can you ensure that your holiday celebrations are inclusive, engaging, and truly memorable? This blog post explores 20 creative ways to express gratitude and appreciation to employees during the Christmas season while keeping the holiday spirit alive.

Creating a Magical Holiday Atmosphere

Festive office decorations

Fostering a sense of appreciation and camaraderie among employees can be achieved by creating a magical holiday atmosphere in the workplace. By transforming the work environment into a festive haven, employers can spread joy and holiday cheer, making employees feel valued and recognised for their contributions.

Various ways to bring the holiday spirit and Christmas cheer to life during the Christmas season, from office decorations and music selections to team-building activities and games, will be discussed next.

Office Decoration Ideas

One way to inject some Christmas spirit into the workplace is by decorating the office with festive ornaments and trinkets. Encourage employees to participate in a holiday-decorating night or crafting session, where they can collaborate and unleash their creativity. This not only adds a personal touch to the décor but also promotes team bonding.

Reflecting your company’s industry or unique characteristics in your decorations is another approach. For instance, Garnet Health Medical Center decorated their holiday tree with medical supplies.

Holiday Music Selection

Holiday music is another effective way to create a festive atmosphere in the workplace. However, it’s important to cater to employees’ diverse music preferences. One solution is to rotate the music selection, allowing each team member to choose their preferred station or album for the day. This way, everyone gets to enjoy their favourite holiday tunes while respecting others’ musical tastes.

Don’t forget to include celebrated holiday songs from various cultures, such as ‘Silent Night’ from Austria, ‘Jingle Bells’ from Australia, and ‘Petit Papa Noel’ from France.

Team-Building Activities

Team-building activities can be a fun and engaging way to demonstrate appreciation to employees during the holiday season. Here are some ideas:

  • Organise a “What’s your holiday tradition?” show-and-tell
  • Encourage employees to share their experiences during a local lights tour
  • Volunteer as a team
  • Set up a “pay it forward” gift box
  • Play the Secret Elf game

Participating in these activities enables employees to bond with their colleagues, create lasting memories, and feel a sense of accomplishment as they contribute to the holiday magic.

Personalised Employee Appreciation Gifts

Personalised thank-you cards for employees

Nothing says “thank you” like a thoughtful, personalised gift. By offering employee appreciation gifts tailored to each individual’s interests and preferences, employers can make their team members feel valued and acknowledged.

A variety of personalised gift ideas, including a few ideas like hand-written thank-you cards, digital thank-you videos, and unique, experience-based rewards, will be discussed next.

Personalised Thank-You Cards

A personalised thank-you card is a simple yet meaningful way to express gratitude to employees. When composing a thank-you card, be sure to include specific details about their contributions and convey appreciation for their dedication and hard work.

This small gesture can have a significant impact on employee morale and engagement, fostering a sense of belonging and pride within the organization.

Digital thank you videos

Digital thank-you videos offer a more engaging and interactive way to recognise employees’ achievements. These videos can be easily created using available online tools or platforms like Canva’s video editor. To create a memorable and impactful video, include a concise, captivating message, personalisation, and elements such as visuals and music.

Share the video with the intended recipients through email marketing or social media to spread the message of appreciation far and wide.

Small Gifts

Small, meaningful gifts can make employees feel appreciated and valued during the holiday season. Consider giving items such as:

  • scented candles
  • natural bath salts
  • coffee mug warmers
  • travel pillows
  • wooden planter blocks

To make these gifts more significant, personalise them according to each employee’s hobbies or preferences, and ensure they have practical value in their daily lives.

Unique Gift Ideas

For a more distinctive approach, consider offering unique gifts that cater to individual employees’ interests and preferences. Some personalised unique gift ideas may include:

  • Custom drinkware
  • Desk accessories
  • Tote bags
  • Keychains
  • Notepads
  • Custom apparel

These gifts not only demonstrate appreciation but also help employees feel valued and respected for their individuality.

Experience-Based Rewards

Experience-based rewards offer memorable experiences for employees to enjoy, such as event or festival tickets, incentive travel programs, or special experiences like dinner with the boss or a campout in the corner office. These rewards not only show appreciation but also create lasting memories and moments that employees can cherish for a lifetime.

Remote celebration boxes

For remote employees, consider sending remote celebration boxes filled with:

  • Snacks
  • Fitness equipment
  • Gadgets
  • Colouring pages
  • Ornaments
  • Personalised experiences

These fantastic Christmas boxes help include remote team members in the Happy Christmas festivities and allow them to feel appreciated during the happy holidays, despite the distance.

To make these boxes more personalised, consider incorporating customised items, messages, or experiences that cater to each employee’s preferences.

Individual recognition

Individual recognition plays a vital role in making employees feel valued and appreciated. Some unique methods for recognising employees individually include:

  • Providing timely, specific feedback
  • Investing in their health and well-being
  • Expressing appreciation for their individual contribution
  • Offering fun projects or professional/personal development opportunities
  • Offering public recognition

Implementing these strategies can contribute positively to company culture and employee satisfaction.

Organising Fun Holiday Events

Virtual holiday party celebration

Organising fun holiday events is another way to show appreciation and celebrate the season with employees. These events can include:

  • A holiday party
  • Secret Santa gift exchange
  • Ugly sweater contest
  • Holiday-themed team-building activities
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Office decorations and festive music

These events not only bring the team together but also create an opportunity for employees to unwind and enjoy themselves during the wonderful festive season.

Various ideas for holiday events, from virtual holiday parties and in-person gatherings to themed celebrations and games nights will be discussed next.

Virtual Holiday Parties

For companies with remote employees, virtual holiday parties offer an opportunity to include everyone in the celebrations. Hosting events on platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts allows employees to connect and celebrate together, regardless of their location.

Organise interactive activities such as virtual holiday bingo, murder mystery games, or scavenger hunts to keep everyone engaged and entertained during the event.

In-Person Gatherings

In-person gatherings provide a chance for employees to bond and enjoy each other’s company during the holiday season. Organise food-related activities like wine and cheese tasting or hand pie baking, coordinate a team-building charity drive, or plan a scavenger hunt to bring employees together and foster a sense of connection and appreciation.

Themed Celebrations

Themed celebrations can add excitement and variety to your holiday events. Some popular themes include an ugly sweater party, Christmas around the world, or a vintage Christmas party. By organising events around unique themes, employers can create memorable experiences for employees while celebrating the diverse interests and backgrounds of their team members.

Organising games night

Organising a games night during the holiday season is a fun way to encourage team bonding and foster a sense of camaraderie among employees. Plan activities such as team bingo or a quiz party, where employees can test their knowledge and engage in friendly competition.

These events not only promote a sense of unity but also provide employees with an enjoyable break from their work routines.

Community projects

Engaging in community projects during the holiday season allows employees to give back while fostering a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Organise volunteer opportunities, charity drives, or other initiatives that benefit the local community and provide a holiday season fill of goodwill and unity.

These projects not only demonstrate appreciation to employees but also promote a positive image of your company within the community.

Supporting Employees' Well-Being During the Holidays

Supporting employees' well-being

Maintaining a happy and productive workforce requires supporting employees’ well-being during the holiday season. By offering resources and accommodations that cater to employees’ diverse needs and preferences, employers can create a more inclusive and supportive workplace environment.

Ways to support employees’ well-being during the holidays, from encouraging time off and offering flexible schedules to providing mental health resources will be discussed next.

Encouraging Time Off

Encouraging employees to take time off during the relaxing holiday season is essential for their well-being and overall job satisfaction. Time off can help employees recharge, reduce stress, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Consider implementing policies that promote taking time off during the holidays, such as offering additional days off or creating a first come, first served policy for time off requests.

Offering Flexible Schedules

Offering flexible schedules during the holiday season can help employees manage their personal commitments and enjoy the festivities without feeling overwhelmed. By giving employees the freedom to adjust their work hours or take time off when needed, employers can promote a positive work-life balance and reduce the risk of burnout.

Consult with your team to determine the best approach for implementing flexible schedules and ensure a smooth transition.

Providing Mental Health Resources

The holiday season can be a stressful time for many employees, making mental health resources especially important. By providing access to support and information, employers can help employees manage stress, anxiety, and depression that may arise during this period.

Resources such as Mind, Living Life to the Full, and NHS resources can offer valuable support and guidance for employees’ mental well-being.

Inclusive Holiday Celebrations

Inclusive holiday celebrations

Recognising and respecting the diverse backgrounds and traditions of employees is necessary in creating an inclusive holiday celebration. By incorporating various cultural and religious holidays into workplace celebrations, employers can foster a sense of belonging and appreciation among their team members.

Ways to create inclusive holiday celebrations, from recognising different holidays and fostering culturally diverse celebrations to ensuring accessibility for all employees will be discussed next.

Recognising Different Holidays

Acknowledge and celebrate holidays from various cultures, such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Diwali, in addition to Christmas. By incorporating these holidays into workplace celebrations, employers can demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity and respect for the diverse backgrounds of their employees.

Establish a company-wide holiday calendar or create a multicultural committee to ensure that all employees’ traditions are recognised and celebrated.

Culturally Diverse Celebrations

Organise culturally diverse celebrations that promote inclusivity and appreciation for various traditions. Encourage employees to:

  • Share their cultural heritage
  • Learn about different customs
  • Participate in activities that showcase the rich tapestry of traditions that make up your workforce.

By hosting events that honour the diverse backgrounds of your employees, you can create a more inclusive and engaged workplace community.

Ensuring Accessibility

Ensure accessibility for all employees, including those with disabilities, during holiday celebrations. Incorporate inclusive decorations and activities that support disability awareness and make accommodations for employees with specific needs.

By making holiday celebrations accessible for everyone, employers can cultivate an inclusive, supportive work environment where all employees feel valued and appreciated.


Appreciating employees during the holiday season is an investment that results in benefits all year round. By creating a festive atmosphere, offering personalised gifts, organising fun events, supporting employees’ well-being, and promoting inclusivity, employers can not only boost morale and engagement but also foster a positive workplace culture.

As the happy holiday season approaches, expressing gratitude and appreciation to your hard-working team members with a thoughtful Christmas bonus can lead to your company’s growth in the new year.

In summary, the holiday season is an opportune time to show appreciation and gratitude to employees for their hard work and dedication. By creating a magical holiday atmosphere, offering personalised employee appreciation gifts, organising fun holiday events, supporting employees’ well-being during the holidays, and fostering inclusive holiday celebrations, employers can create a positive work environment where employees feel valued, engaged, and motivated to succeed.

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