Meaningful Ways to Thank Employees This Holiday Season

The holiday season is rapidly approaching, which means another opportunity to reflect on the past year, find gratitude, and look for ways to give thanks. As a leader in your organization, one of the easiest places to find reasons for that gratitude is in your workforce. 

Showing your appreciation for your employees isn’t just a kind and reasonable thing to do. It can have a direct impact on retention rates and productivity. 

In fact, one study found that employee recognition increases productivity and performance by 14%. Another study focusing on employee retention found that 63% of workers who were always or usually recognized are “very unlikely” to search for other job opportunities. 

To ensure that your workforce gets its due this year, let’s take a look at some of the simplest yet most meaningful ways to thank your employees this holiday season.

Going Beyond the Corporate “Thank You!” Card

Your employees dedicate a lot of their lives to furthering your organization’s goals every year for a simple greeting card to suffice when the holiday season rolls around. They deserve more, and when they get what they deserve, it can pay incredible dividends for your company.

Showing appreciation for the sacrifices your workforce makes each year is inevitably going to improve employee engagement. According to Harvard Business Review, over 40% of American workers acknowledge that they would put more energy into their work if management recognized them more often. 

In other words, to improve productivity within your organization, you need to find a meaningful way to express your appreciation for your workforce. But how exactly do you do that?

5 Ways to Make Your Employees Happy This Holiday Season

Let’s look at some of the simplest ways to express your gratitude to your employees this holiday season and inspire them to become more engaged with their work in the year to come.

1. Monetary Recognition

Perhaps the simplest and most direct way to give thanks to your workforce during the holiday season is by giving them some extra money. They come to work to make a living in order to provide for their families. So, why not make that difficult task a little bit easier for them?

Monetary gifts to consider include:

  • Year-end bonuses
  • Profit shares
  • Gift cards
  • Cash

The holiday season may be the time of giving, but it’s also a time when financial hardships are the most glaring for many Americans. Some extra cash at the end of the year can make a tremendous difference in the lives of your employees than you may know.

2. Offer Awesome Holiday Perks

There are plenty of other perks you can offer your employees during the holiday season. A great holiday party, for instance, can be a ton of fun, and it can bring your organization a lot closer together.

You may also consider getting them a thoughtful gift. Maybe you feel like cash is a little impersonal for giving thanks during the holidays. Without a doubt, your employees will appreciate that monetary recognition, but they may appreciate something personalized even more.

Today’s workforce also enjoys flexibility in the workplace, and there is no better time of year for a bit of flexibility than the holiday season. 

Whether it’s leaving early, coming in late, taking an extra day off, or taking a break from a regular workday for some holiday fun, your employees will appreciate you playing a bit fast and loose with the normal company schedule around this time of year.

3. Make a Charitable Donation in Their Name

Giving money to your employees is certainly a meaningful way to express your gratitude, but it may be even more meaningful to them if you give a charitable donation in their name to an organization of their choice. 

Suppose that you were to speak personally to your employees about what kind of charities are meaningful to them. In doing so, you’re likely to learn a lot more about them than you already knew. If you were to donate to those charities in their name, you can build a stronger connection with them.

You could even hold a charitable holiday event for your team. Events like these can help build relationships between team members and improve employee engagement, and they’re always a lot of fun, especially during the holiday season. 

teddy bear team building

4. Unique Holiday Team Bonding Events

Add team bonding to your organizational improvement checklist this holiday season by trying out special seasonal events. 

Virtual Holiday Happy Hour

Allow your workforce to let loose, connect with coworkers, and learn a thing or two about making a mean mixed drink with a Holiday Happy Hour & Mixology event. 

Gingerbread House Building

Try a unique twist on a traditional holiday activity with Gingerbread House Hunters. Employees break into teams and attempt to build the most fantastic gingerbread house of them all. 

Virtual Holiday Party

Bring the classic holiday office party into the world of remote work with The Ultimate Virtual Holiday Party. Choose three different fun and engaging interactive activities that will bring your team closer together.

5. Offer Interesting Learning Opportunities

Money and physical gifts have their intrinsic value, but some of your employees might prioritize a learning experience above either of them. 

Allowing staff the opportunity to take a course of their choosing to expand their knowledge and skills may be the perfect way to let them know that their contributions to your organization are appreciated. They’ll find learning much more fun when they see the company is paying its way. 


There are countless ways to give thanks to your employees this year, from cash to thoughtful gifts to entertaining activities to opportunities for enlightenment and more. 

When trying to figure out how best to show your appreciation, it’s always a good idea to think about the individuals themselves. What would be meaningful to them specifically? If you can answer that question, then you’ll know exactly how to give your employees the credit they deserve this holiday season.

Happy Holidays!

Anna Webber

Team Contributor


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