I need help with an inexpensive gift for the holidays for my staff at work. I am a manager at a healthcare facility and I have alot of staff both men and women.
Kate from Maryland
I think (if they celebrate Christmas, that is) that you can find inexpensive ornaments to give and if they are selected carefully each person will think of you when they are
trimming their tree year after year. Also calendars for the coming year are always handy.
Denise - New York
Baked good or food items (snack items) are always good for the work setting. Think about something that will make the workplace nicer for them.
Vera - Denver, CO
I've had the same problem, and often as many as 25 employess. . Our microwave croaked one year, so I bought an inexpensive microwave for the whole crew to use - breakfast, lunch, and snacks every day! I've also stocked the breakroom w/drinks and other snack foods that would last into the new year. You can find $2 or less holiday finger tip and kitchen towels - if you have guys their wives appreciate them. I've been able to find inexpensive wind chimes, desk top magnetic games (it's never affected productivity), traveling umbrellas, flashlights/penlights, all-in-one tools, even midget screwdrivers. I'm a PT, so those kinds of tools are esp useful for adjusting equip. Candles are nice, Holiday ornaments are nice, and if really strapped for cash, buy a box of glass ornaments, a glitter pen, and curling ribbon, put their name, your name or organization, and the year on the ornament, and use the curling ribbon for a hanger. I work hard to try and pick out whatever gift I give so that it matches the personality of the employee, esp since they are not real expensive - I like to believe that gives even an inexpensive gift a special touch.
I buy sets of ornaments and divide them up 1 per co-worker. I usually order from LTD commodities or ABC distributing.
You can't go wrong with food. Make a huge batch or 2 of your favorite cookiesm ask at you grocery deli or a favorite restaurant to buy the number of small plastic to-go boxes, put a red doily and 6 cookies in each. Seal with a bit of tape and a stick on bow. No wrapping needed and who doesn't like cookies. P.S. You can also buy the containers (called clamshells) at rest. supplies or Smart and Final.
Please be aware that perhaps all of the employees do not celebrate Christmas! Maybe you can give them something non-holiday.
I was going to suggest picture frames from Tuesday Morning. Or coffee cups with little bags of candy and cookies and the whole thing wrapped up in colored cellophane.
On second thought, if everyone has the same mug and some of the people use them at work, it can get mighty confusing after a while.
A couple of ideas that I did myself for co-workers and co-workers did for me.
I paint (I dabble but am not by any means an artist) and do some crafting so one year I did handpainted wooden ornaments. I think I paid 25-50 cents each for the plain wooden ornaments at a pre-holiday sale and had the paint. My friend who isn't artistic did some too. I like shading mine to add depth so they look more realistic but she didn't feel comfortable trying that since it was a little more involved. Instead, she painted hers to look more primitive (solid colors-more cartoonish) They looked terrific to!
I also did clay femo clay angels for a few special friends/coworkers. One of the top administative staff saw them and liked them so much she ordered 30 of them for gifts for her husband to give to his staff. These were comical looking little clay angels-trust me they were cute but not fancy but people really loved them. I think they were so ugly they were cute!
Another time I did femo covered BIC type pens and
memo pads (got a ream of neon multi-colored paper and took it to my local print shop where they cut the whole ream down for me into several post it sized memo pad size sheets and then glued the one side so the paper's tore off like a post it pad. It cost less than $15 for all supplies and labor for a pad and pen for 10 people) I then wrapped them in sets (like a bright orange and lime green memo pad with a matching pen) in clear cellophane corsage bags and tied them up with wild colored curling ribbon. I tried to make them in people's favorite colors. People LOVED them because they were so unique-no two were alike and of course nobody could steal your pens!
Another time I sewed everyone (women) totes. I inherited a cache of uphostery material samples from a friend who knew a sales rep for an uphostery manufacturer. Cost me nothing but time but if you had to buy material shop for bargains at the clearance tables at the fabric stores.
Also did 'snack attack" and "chocoholic delight" baskets for everyone one year. I got some small dollar store baskets, lined them with some red gingham napkin sized cloth (you could use nice fancy colored paper napkins), filled them with an assortment of small individually wrapped chocholate or snack treats (mini bags of cookies, candies, crackers, fresh fruits (like an apple or orange) can of soda or favorite coffee or tea etc. You get the idea...The baskets weren't that big so it didn't take much time to fil them and yet they looked stuffed with items. I think it cost me about $3 for each basket because I bought the supplies in bulk. Like you can get 24-30m 1 or 2 oz bags of chips for about $5 or $6, buy bags of candies like Hersheys' kisses for a couple of bucks etc.
Now I got two wonderful gifts last year that I loved. One co-worker went to the local farmers market where they also sell some kitchen crafts. She picked out each of us a bar of the most delicious smelling handmade soap. The soap was wrapped in beautiful ivory parchment paper and tied with a beautiful soft red silky ribbon. So-o-o elegant. Doesn't sound like much but it is still one of my all time favorite gifts and only cost about $2 each.
Another co-worker bought each of us the most beautiful fancy three inch high clear glass container-it's shaped somewhat like a fancy perfume bottle. Instead of a top this bottle had a small cork in it and the cork had a hole just big enough to get a plant cutting down into it. The jar was filled three quarters of the way with water and a miniature plant was rooted in the water. There was also a tiny (fake) silver charm on a fine wire around the neck of the bottle just to give it some pizazz. Just so elegant again...
Not sure the guys would appreciate these things but all the women who got them did. Hope you get some great low cost ideas.
---> How about a BASKET to hang on the wall behind their desk. I have on that hangs in my kitchen & I put my bills & mail in it.
---> Go to art shows in your area, you'll get tons of ideas, and BUY LOCALLY. the local artists depend on you!
---> A small dry erase board to hand above their desk. (for notes to themselves) They could use this at work, OR hang it on the fridge like I do for shopping lists.
---> A box of multi-occasion greeting cards. This is so handy to keep in their drawer for anytime they'd need one!
---> A set of colored Gel Pens.
---> Flip Desk Calendars that have JOKES on each day. This way they can have fun retelling the jokes to coworkers!
---> Tasty flavored Tea & a beautiful Mug.
---> A super large desk calendar, or a desk liner with paper to doodle on or keep write quick phone numbers on, or anything that will organize their desk.
---> Small frames for pictures of their familles at work.
---> For the whole crew: Everyone loves gourmet coffee & Tea!
---> Give them an ice cream party on their lunch break.
*** We had a boss that I'll never forget, He went to a bunch of seminars to learn ways to increase productivity & moral. (we worked in a parts warehouse at Boeing)
He did the coolest thing: He gave a themed lunch break "Party" for us every month. One month, an ice cream party, In October we voted on the coolest pumpkin that people brought in. Once we had a potluck. One month he rented a popcorn machine. You wouldn't believe just how much we looked forward to this each month! Amazing what you can do in just a half hour lunch break. I'll tell you what, we worked our tails off for this man!
Because of the ideas I got from the previous posts, I decided for christmas I will be giving all my co-workers mixed nut and chocolate kisses holiday bags with nut crackers. Plus, an Anita Baker, Christmas Fantasy cd (I looove that cd, the best holiday cd). That way on christmas they can think of me lol.
I'm a member of a music club so I got the cds cheap with free shipping. Also, I have confirmed all my coworkers celebrate Christmas and have no nut allergies without "spilling the beans".
This year I am giving my coworkers a Happy New Year glass from Party City filled with Hershey Kisses and a fortune cookie on top. This way they are guaranteed a kiss on New Years and a prediction for 2015!
I buy candles whenever I see them on sale. The ones that smell good especially. There are always some good deals on votives if you keep your eyes open. I have some that I've been collecting during the year for gift baskets and to give as a token gift. Look at the Dollar Store and garage sales for inexpensive votive holders. One candle in a votive holder makes a good small gift or stocking stuffer.
I like to buy little gifts for several of my co-workers just to let them know I am thinking of them. Since most of us work various schedules, I go to the Dollar Store and buy several 2-year pocket calendars with plastic covers. They are used all year and I am constantly told how much they are appreciated.
Jann McClain - Abilene, TX
I bought coffee packets that make one pot. These were $2.00 or less. I have also bought the box of sampler coffees and put one in a mug with a red/green napkin, a candy cane etc.
I have at least a dozen people at work that I would like to give something to at the holidays but it gets sooo costly. Any ideas?
I think they would really appreciate something practical (tote bags, perhaps?) silkscreened with the company's name. It shouldn't be expensive--you can get tote bags for about $2 each at a craft store, and any t-shirt shop could put the design on. Or you could get iron-on transfer paper for a computer printer at an office supply store.
Cake in a mug is an easy thing to make up. It is easy for the recipient to prepare too.
coffee cups. get them cheapest at thrift stores or the doller store. you can get them there in pretty good quality. then put coffee or hot choclate mix inside tied up with a bow.
How about a Starbucks gift card for $5.00 each?
Just a thought as I was reading some of the posts on here, candles might not be a good gift for some people. I have one friend whose husband is allergic to anything with a scent. She can't bring in any flowers, unless silk or green plants. She can't bring in any candles, nor can she burn them, even if she did bring in unscented candles, for the same reason. Nor can she wear cologne. I also have another pal, who is terribly ashmatic (sp?). Even walking into a bathroom after someone has sprayed air freshener, can throw her into an ashmatic seizure.
Then, too, sweets, might not be a good idea, some co-workers could be diabetic.
If you were to run across cute notepads or something along that line, of items, everyone makes notes to themselves &/or other family members.
One year, after collecting various size bottles & jars (you can find them cheaply at thrift stores), I made homemade catalina dressing (I submitted the recipe on this website not long ago). I bought the ingredients to make it with at a warehouse store, could get them cheaper there than at a regular grocery store. I made 2 or 3 batches of the dressing and poured them all in the bottles. Made gift tags to all of mine & my husband's co-workers, complete with a red & green yarn bow tied around the neck. We gave them out at work, most everyone wanted the recipe afterwards. You could give the recipe with the bottle of dressing if you wish. Our out of pocket expenses weren't very much at all, most certainly not for that many bottles of dressing. I'd most certainly do it again, if the circumstance arose!
I like that idea of the ornaments, buy them in bulk and decorate for use year after year. The totes sound good also, we all are carrying one thing or another to the workplace.
One year I bought a gift card for a video rental and added a bag of microwaveable popcorn. Another year pancake mix with a special fruit syrup and hot chocolate packet.
I have made chocolate covered pretzels over the past few years for all my employees, and they just rave about it!
Make a dozen chocolate covered pretzels per person...wrap them up in cute holiday platic bags with curling ribbon.
It is a change from all the holiday cookies, and cakes that are eaten at every party.
I make several different variations of the pretzels:
White chocolate covered
Peanut butter covered with crushed nutterbutter cookies sprinkled on it.
Milk chocolate with Sprinkles
And it can go on and on and on...just be creative!!!
It isn't that costly...I buy the bulk pretzel rods at BJ's wholesale club, and the melting chocolate is always on sale this time of year at the local crafts stores!!
Good luck finding what is right for your group of people!
Last year I bought 3 dozen metal kitchen whisks. I filled each one with hershey kisses, wrapped them in cellophane and tied with curling ribbon. Then I made little signs out of paper that said "We whisk you a merry kissmas.". They looked adorable and were a huge hit.
Make meaningful all occasion cards. Last year I took pictures off of peoples desk- kids, dogs, etc and scanned them in one evening, so they wouldn't notice. Then took the file home.
Went to the local paper shop and purchased a box of 100 small note cards. printed the scanned pictures (10 per person) and "a note from _______" on the front and tied the cards with ribbon, it was a great hit.
Last year, I bought nut crackers (about $3 each) and mixed nuts in bulk. I put a nut cracker and nuts in a Santa holiday see through bag and added some red tinsel on top. It was a great gift.
Check out places or websites that sell wedding favors. They have so much variety right now to choose from. I have been browsing and found glass photo coasters for $5 for a set of 4, a shoe bottle opener for $6, wine stoppers for $3. There are seasonal themes so you are not stuck with just bridal themes. Look for websites with no minimum orders.
Love the Whisk idea...and the creative mind...we whisk you a merry kissmas...
How about Giant Microbes? These are cool for doctors, etc.
you can find them at:
How about Giant Microbes? These are cool for doctors, etc.
you can find them at:
I have had to do small gifts for as many as 80 employees. They don't expect anything, but they do appreciate being remembered. Last year I gave a bag of microwave popcorn with a tag attached with a ribbon and small bell that said, "Hope Santa pops up with everything you want." Smelled hot popcorn for a week!
Last year I gave silver plated soft drink coozies with the coworker's initals engraved. I think they came from Lillian Vernon and they were not too expensive.
I may not be Oprah to be doing "My Favorite Things" but sure people would want to have a share of things I go nuts for. It would be totally fun to have a list of things you like and give them as gifts.
That way, not only you're giving them something, you're actually a part of you through the things you love.
I actually took my camera to work and shot random funny pictures of my co-workers. Then I bought an inexpensive digital photo keychain and uploaded them into the keychain. They loved it!
I go to Vistaprint.com and order personalized pens. Cost only a couple of dollars a piece and everyone uses them daily.
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