Each year, the boss asks his personal assistant to think about the Christmas gifts he can give the staff this year. It might be followed by a gentle reminder of: “don’t forget, we’re giving them a Christmas party too”. Well the sobering news is that only 5% of employees like the office Christmas party, so you might want to rethink that. If you think it’s tax deductible, you might want to think that over again too. Staff entertainment for the office Christmas party is only tax deductible if you are spending more than $300 per head. It’s worth calling your accountant or speaking with the Finance Director to discuss what is and isn’t deductible before you get carried away with ideas.

So, maybe you want to start by asking your staff: “If I took all the money we were going to spend on the Christmas party and divided it up and gave it to the staff as a Christmas bonus instead, would you prefer this?” That’s one way to do it, and you will know what they want for sure. Just like that, it could be the end of the annual Christmas party tradition. You can still create a Christmas spirit around the office without the party, but you’ll get a lot of broad smiles as you hand out the money.

Money

This is the preferred gift at Christmas with more than 70% of employees secretly hoping for a cash bonus. So why not give them what they want? If you want staff loyalty … buy it. Remember, they are your internal customers. Cash in the form of an unexpected pay rise works magic too.

Extra time off

Next in line are extra days off. If you really want to surprise staff, gift them an unexpected few days off. Close the office for longer this Christmas, or use a rotation of skeleton staff.

Working from home

If January is a slower month and you know it’s possible for staff to work from home, let them. This flexibility in home/work arrangements can add more celebration to your employees’ Christmas than anything else you could gift them.

Gift cards
Gift cards are the way to give money that still feels like a present. People enjoy the freedom of choosing how they spend this money bonus that still lets them feel like they can spoil themselves a bit. There’s also such a variety of things you can get gift cards for – from restaurants to the cinema to department stores. This variety and the flexibility of a gift certificate mean you’ll be more likely to please the diverse tastes of your staff.

Hamper and wine

The generosity of this gift swings both ways as it is tax deductible for the business. Hampers will no doubt delight staff as you create the festive spirit in the office with this gift.

Handwritten Christmas card
If you can’t afford to gift money, an office party, or anything else to your staff this year (and even if you can), the third most desired gift is a handwritten thank you note. Now, this is to be written by the boss themselves and not the assistant! Bother to personalise a card this year and you will reap the rewards.

This year if you really want to impress your employees, budget to surprise them with a gift they’ll appreciate.

Have a Merry Christmas!

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