How To Make Sure That Your Festive Employee Rewards Aren’t Met With A Frosty Reception

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The holidays are a time of reflection, peace, hope and merriment. Most large companies are streamlining their employee rewards by using dedicated rewards platforms. But some businesses are allowing employees to feel disappointed with less than inspiring gifts. Read some of the horror stories that have surfaced about seasonal gifts and how to make sure yours are met with a more favourable response from staff.

Examples Of Terrible Christmas Gifts compiled a list of the worst Christmas presents received by employees and they were truly shocking. They included expired legs of ham, a toothbrush, and a $100 cash “bonus” that was actually just deducted from the end of year pay cheque without informing employees this was the case. One business doled out a gift voucher for a restaurant chain that didn’t have an outlet within a 50-mile radius of the office. These issues can be avoided by looking into your end of year rewards earlier in the year.

Strike the right chord with a heartfelt message

Even the most generous gift card can seem a little impersonal. Ensure that employees feel valued with a personal note from management, thanking them for their hard work and dedication. Here are some examples of messages you could use, although we recommend that you use these as inspiration, not a blueprint:

“Merry Christmas on behalf of management. Sincere thanks for your commitment, we wish you and your family a heartwarming relaxing fantastic Christmas holidays.”

“Our organization is lucky to have dedicated employees and would like to thank you for your hard work and concern. May this Christmas season bring tons of success, good health, prosperity to your life.”

“To our staff and their families, we send thankful thoughts, happy hearts, and well-wishes. Happy Holidays. We appreciate your devoted service.”

“To you and yours, we send wishes of a Merry Christmas. We are grateful to have you as part of our corporate family.”

“We thrived the past year because of your hard work creativity and dedication. I’m really grateful for your tremendous efforts wishing you all a joyous Christmas season.”

You can see more examples on Brandon Gaille's blog

A Simple Get Together

Combining all your end-of-year treats in one go can be a bit of a sensory-overload - Secret Santa, Christmas party, company presents. Help to spread out the Christmas cheer by handing out your Christmas employee rewards at a standalone event, perhaps after hours or over a lunchtime.

David Ehrenberg of Early Growth Financial Services, suggests holding a ‘Praise and Pizza Party’ celebrating the successes of the year together in an informal setting. By doing this you show your appreciation in a more natural and sincere way. Whilst this may not always be possible for larger corporations, ensuring that team leaders or departments do something similar is a great way of bringing everyone together during the festive period.

You Can’t Please All Of The People All Of The Time

Or can you? With a co-ordinated employee rewards system, you can make their life easier, and often that’s the best gift of all. For example, Ovation Incentives offers over 1,200 locally sourced digital and plastic cards in 120+ countries. This type of global solution allows virtual products to be delivered in real-time. It allows for cultural differences, currencies and uses local knowledge from rewards specialists to ensure that you don’t make a holiday faux pas.


Use this happy time of year to say the things you might have forgotten to say throughout the year. Start the new year on the right foot. Don’t be the boss who invited his entire staff to a lavish New York City restaurant. While there, he suggested that his employees try some of the most expensive items on the menu. When it was time to pay, he asked for separate cheques.
Get in touch with Ovation Incentives to discuss your end of year rewards today!