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Christmas Gifting for Employees – Dos and Don’ts

It’s that time of year where you might be considering buying Christmas gifts for your team.  But are you worried that the question of what to buy is a minefield from an HR perspective?  Here are a few dos and don’ts from ViewHR to help you in your Christmas shopping…….

  • DO consider what people would like, rather than assuming they want the same thing as you would like.  For example, if somebody has told you they don’t drink, a bottle of MOET is probably not the thing for them, even if it is your favourite.
  • DON’T have presents specifically for “boys and girls”, e.g. don’t assume that all the men will want beer and all the women will want bubble bath.  This doesn’t mean you have to get an identical gift for every employee (although you can), but maybe provide a mix of beer and bubble bath for people to choose from*, or consider individual gifts.
  • DO be fair.  Giving an iPad to one employee and a box of After Eights to another risks resulting in upset rather than gratitude. Also, make sure you don’t replace that bottle of MOET with a cheap alternative for non-drinkers – find a gift of equal value.
  • DON’T use a Christmas gift to try and passive-aggressively or humorously address a problem, such as buying a watch for the employee who if often late, or worse, deodorant for somebody with a noticeable body odour. Given in a group setting, such actions can be humiliating and may constitute bullying. Instead, buy a nice gift and address the issue separately with an appropriately sensitive and private conversation.
  • DO think carefully about comedy gifts – will the employee really find the drinking straws from Ann Summers as hilarious as you think they are, or is there a risk of causing offence?

(Your friendly accountant will give you the employee gift financial brackets for tax purposes!)

And finally, Secret Santa’s seem to be less popular this year as a result of working from home in these times of Covid.  However, if you are organising a secret Santa, do brief the team to stick to price limits (this can cause stress and embarrassment otherwise), allow people to opt out, and of the relevant tips above (yes, we are warning that Ann Summers is probably not appropriate in the workplace!).

Merry Christmas to all from the team at ViewHR!

* N.B. Actually mixing beer and bubble bather together in one container is not recommended.