16 Employee Holiday Gift Ideas Under $20


Employee Recognition Gifts Are a Necessity

Corporate Gift Ideas Under $20 – Many Are Shippable

It’s customary for employers to give out gifts to their employees at the end of the year or for a Christmas / holiday gift or even for a Thanksgiving gift. There’s not a lot of money to spend these days but employers want to give something extra to show their employees that they recognize the hard work they have put in.

Here are 16 good, high value employee gift ideas that are under 20 dollars each that you can consider giving:

1. Things They Will Use Every Day / Logo Items

Gifts like travel bottles and coffee mugs seem a little overdone but if you put some thought into them, they actually aren’t. Employees like items with the company logo on them so they can show off to their friends where they work. Also, it’s something that future employees might not have, so the more of these items they collect, the more they show how long they’ve worked for the company.

More ideas along these lines:

  • Shirts with the company logo.
  • Mouse pads (calendar mouse pads)
  • Can cooler bags
  • Stainless water bottle

2. Food Gifts

Food is always a winner because employees can also share them with their families. Items like chocolate, premium cupcakes, pies and other sweets are great company gifts to give out.

Be careful with this one because some people have food allergies and if they can’t enjoy it, then the gift is somewhat wasted.

Skip the fruit baskets and fruitcakes though.

3. Gift Certificates for Food

The great thing about gift certificates and gift cards is that they are super easy to give. You order/buy them, put them into envelopes and hand them out. The employees then go and get the items that they want. One good one that we’ve run across is gThankYou.com Turkey Gift Certificates because the company buying something big like a turkey says a lot.

Also, these gift certificate are good at any grocery store – not just certain ones. Your employees can go out and pick out the one they want (and the brand they want) and take it home themselves. You’re not left trying to store tons of turkeys at the office for a day – the gift certificate is easy. You can get them in various amounts like $10, $15, $20 or $25. Besides turkeys, they also have gift certificates for ham, groceries, pizza, fruit & vegetables, pies and ice cream so you can mix it up!

Gift Certificates with Money

Visa gift cards, American Express gift cards or Amazon gift cards (everyone uses Amazon, right?) are another way to give a monetary gift. People can use these for themselves or else to help buy gifts for their family.

4. Something Fun for Their Desk or Cube

The list here is endless. Everything from pens to pen holders to paperweights to pictures. There are some really cool things under $20 over at ThinkGeek.com that are worth checking out.

More desk toys we love:

5. Massages

Who doesn’t like a massage? You can either give out gift cards for them or else there are services that will have a masseuse come to your office and give out massages at people’s desks – and this is a cheaper way to go usually. Give a gift certificate for a local spa is good.

If you’re buying massages for all your employees, then the spa is very likely to give you a discount, so be sure to ask. If they don’t, then go first check out their competition and see if they will.

6. Books

Books are good gifts. Again, either go with a gift card or else use this opportunity to improve your company. What we mean is you can find a good team building book and give those books away. Books like “Who Moved My Cheese” and “Fish” and “The One Minute Manager” come to mind.

7. Wine

Giving wine is great because people often drink it during the holidays. You could do wine and a wine travel pouch or just the pouch. Wine and cheese baskets are great, too.

Make sure you have a non-alcoholic alternative for those who are not of age or who might not drink alcohol or wine.

8. Flowers and Plants

You can give either a nice bouquet of flowers or a plant that will grow. Having a small plant at a desk can be nice and it’ll be fun to see who gets their plant to grow the fastest. A small bamboo tree would be kind of cool to give out.

9. Clocks / Travel Clocks

If you search around, you can find some pretty fancy looking portable clocks that are not too expensive. Again, put some thought into the gift (meaning, do research) and you’ll find something really nice that people will remember.

10. Leather

Most everyone likes and looks good in leather. Things like a leather wallet or portfolio are nice. A minimalist wallet makes a nice gift. Here’s a minimalist wallet that includes RFID protection and they have one that is just $9.99 (Alaska Black). Both men and women can use it. It’s nice to have a minimalist wallet to use when going out or to save space in your purse.

If you want to spend more than $20, then check out Kenton Sorenson Leather for excellent leather products.

11. Backpacks

A backpack or small bag with the company logo is a great gift for employees. It’s something they will use daily – both for work and personal use. A foldable travel duffle bag for travel is a great idea that really anyone would find very useful.

Another option is to get them customized with the company brand on it and they’ll feel more a part of the company, so they’re good for loyalty and branding.

12. Gold / Silver

This gift idea is cool because it’s an investment. Getting $20 worth of silver is good and it will increase in value. Local coin shops and jewelry stores can help you buy silver or gold. Gold can send a message of investing like how you invest in your employees.

13. Company Outing / Movie or Show

Arrange for special movie showing or maybe a holiday play at a local theater. You can either rent the entire show (maybe during the day) or just get everyone some tickets so that they can go when they want. It’s something they will remember for a long time.

14. Lessons / Classes

There are plenty of things that people want to get good at where you can buy them some lessons. Things like: golf, skiing, bowling, sewing, pottery, climbing. line dancing, and so on.

15. Dinner Cruise / Date Night

If you live in an area where there’s a nice body of water, then see if a dinner cruise is available. If not, then come up with a nice package for a date night where employees can enjoy a nice night out with their spouse or loved one.

16. Hot Air Balloon Rides

Here’s another idea that people will remember forever – hot air balloon rides! Most areas have a place that can offer them, so they’re easy to find. If you’re buying them for your entire company, then they should give you a corporate discount, too.


You want a gift for your employees to be memorable and special. It doesn’t take a lot of work to find something unique. In doing so, you’re telling them that they are special and appreciated. A small gift can really go a long way for employee morale and can make your workplace an enjoyable place to work where there are happy employees!

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