Updated: July 15, 2022

20 Employee Appreciation Day Gifts and Ideas

You found our list of Employee Appreciation Day gifts and ideas.

Employee Appreciation Day falls on the first Friday of March in the United States. The holiday is a day for companies to thank employees for their hard work. The occasion is a great opportunity to recognize your team’s efforts. Companies often celebrate this holiday by sending gifts, holding special events, or allowing employees to get off work early.

Employee Appreciation Day is an example of a virtual team celebration and ways to show appreciation for virtual employees. The holiday is similar to Administrative Professional’s Day and Boss’ Day, and often includes employee appreciation quotes and employee gratitude activities.

This list includes:

  • employee appreciation day ideas
  • employee appreciation day gifts
  • gifts for employee appreciation day

Let’s get started!

10 Top Employee Appreciation Day Gifts

From personalized presents to self-care products, here is a collection of the top Employee Appreciation Day gifts. When your team receives these thoughtful tokens of appreciation, they are sure to feel recognized and cared for.

Here are more ideas for last minute gifts for employees.

1. Personalized mug

For many, the workday does not formally begin until the team consumes their first cup of coffee. Due to the importance of this morning ritual, consider giving employees personalized mugs. You can either put the employee’s name on each ceramic cup or ask employees to submit a picture that makes them happy. With this Employee Appreciation Day gift, you remind your team how much you value their contributions to the company when they reach for a cup of coffee.

Order custom mugs at Vistaprint, DiscountMugs, or Printful.

Here are more ideas for fun employee gifts, and more gifts for remote workers.

2. Custom candy

If your team has a sweet tooth, then consider handing out custom candy. Some popular sweets like M&M’s and Hershey’s chocolate bars let consumers personalize wrappers with thank you messages. Otherwise, sites like WH Candy creates custom wrappers for Lifesavers, Oreos, and peppermint patties. Custom candy is a great way to show employee appreciation because the personalization indicates that the company went an extra step to convey gratitude.

3. Aromatherapy kit

Work can be stressful! To help offset the pressure your team may be feeling, assemble and distribute aromatherapy kits for everyone. Include goodies, such as scented candles, diffusers, and essential oils in a variety of scents. When employees feel anxious, they will have the tools to adjust their mood and bring some tranquility to their lives.

4. Engraved pen set

For people working in a corporate setting, engraved pens may be a classy Employee Appreciation Day gift. Not only do these pens look impressive, but they are also functional. When team members sign contracts or other official correspondence, these special pens help employees feel confident and recognized for their work.

Order engraved pen sets from Etsy, Forever Gifts, and Dayspring Pens.

5. Key keychain

Another great way to show appreciation to colleagues is to gift them a keychain. Key keychains as gifts are symbolic and practical. This Employee Appreciation Day present is a cute memento of the good times your teammate experiences at the company.

Check out this key keychain on Etsy.

6. Gift cards

If your team members have a wide range of interests, then consider giving them gift cards. Instead of guessing what your coworkers might appreciate, gift cards give them choices.

Popular gift card options are:

While gift cards may seem impersonal, these cards make superb Employee Appreciation day presents. You may be helping your colleagues acquire something that they have been saving up to purchase.

7. Snack box subscription

One drawback of working from home is that employees lose access to the company snack stash. A fun way to show employee appreciation is to award your team with a snack box subscription.

Some tasty snack box subscriptions include:

Snack box subscriptions are amusing because they give employees the chance to try goodies from all over the world. Also, since the snacks change every month, your coworkers will never get bored of these delicious surprises in mail.

8. Succulent box subscription

In recent years, scientific researchers have found that having plants in your home comes with a variety of great health benefits, including improvements in mental health, productivity, and air quality. With this concept in mind, consider gifting employees succulent box subscriptions.

Some charming succulent box subscription services are:

Not only will employees reap the health benefits of having these adorable plants at home, but they also provide wonderful home decor. Just check whether teammates own pets, since some pets cannot be around certain plants.

9. Spa day care package

Sometimes it is good to remind employees about the importance of self-care. An Employee Appreciation gift that helps bring self-care to team members’ homes is shipping everyone a spa day care package.

A spa day care package can include:

  • Face masks
  • Bath bombs
  • Scented candles
  • Moisturizing lotion
  • Face scrubs
  • Sleep masks

Sending your team a spa day care package shows  appreciation because it indicates that the company wishes employees to take good care of themselves. These care packages reinforce the idea that self-care is essential for everyone.

10. Bottle of wine

Another way to show appreciation towards your team is to send everyone a bottle of wine. With companies, such as Personal Wine, Windsor Vineyards, and Custom Wine Source, you can make the wine extra special by customizing the label with thank you messages. Wine is great for unwinding, and can be tastefully paired with your colleague’s dinner. Just remember to look up your state’s regulations on shipping alcohol before you commit to this idea.

You could also do a virtual wine tasting or play Zoom drinking games.

11 Best Employee Appreciation Day Ideas

Employee Appreciation Day first appeared on calendars in 1995. The day is still new enough that companies may not be sure how best to celebrate with colleagues. Here are the best Employee Appreciation Day ideas that will keep your team in high spirits.

1. Online Office Games

Online Office Games banner

Online Office Games is a series of fun virtual competitions. For 90 minutes, a spirited host leads teams through online challenges like trivia, scavenger hunts, and number games. Teammates cooperate to score points and win rounds, working towards the ultimate goal of bragging rights. This event is a way to reward employees’ hard work and dedication with fun and team relaxation.

Learn more about Online Office Games.

2. Survey your team

One of the first steps you should take is to survey your team to see how people actually want to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day. While you may feel you have a good grasp on what would make employees happy, going straight to the source confirms whether colleagues would actually welcome your proposed gesture.

3. Invite everyone to a team lunch

While it may not be feasible to invite the whole company to lunch, encourage department managers to take their respective teams out for lunch. Depending on company culture, team lunches may be the rare occurrence where everyone interacts in a low pressure environment, making the team lunch an excellent team building opportunity. We recommend reimbursing each team for their meals.

You could also do a virtual happy hour.

4. Play Gratitude Round Robins

Most companies interpret Employee Appreciation Day as a time when the organization is thankful towards team members. However, consider playing Gratitude Round Robins for some teammate to teammate appreciation, too.

To play this game, gather your team into a circle. Then, ask employees to express their gratitude to the team member on their right. Once everyone has said what they are thankful for, go around in the opposite direction. This team building activity reminds employees that what they do matters, and that people are happy to work alongside them.

5. Screen a retrospective slideshow

If you have video editors at your company, then screen a retrospective slideshow with photos that capture your team’s accomplishments that year. Prior to Employee Appreciation Day, ask your coworkers to submit their favorite photos of company events. Then, send all images to the video editor, and let them do their magic. The slideshow is a clear expression of what exactly the company is grateful for through the recognition of employees’ hard work.

6. Let employees off early

You can also show appreciation for your employees by letting them off early. Letting colleagues return to their families sooner than expected reinforces the idea that you are grateful for your team members’ work, and want them to take a break. For many workplaces, it is customary to give their employees a half-day off on Employee Appreciation Day.

7. Host an employees’ superlatives session

A fun way to recognize your team’s achievements is to host an employees’ superlatives session. To start, compile a list of amusing superlatives, such as Most Likely to Make People Smile or Most Likely to Drink All of the Coffee. Then, over a video conference call, ask your team to vote on who most fits each superlative. Finally, announce the winners and hand out small gifts as rewards.

8. Create a compliments note station

A fun way to do peer to peer appreciation is to create a compliments note station. On a spare desk, set up blank note cards, color pens, and a pretty container. Then, announce to your team that the station is for people to write anonymous compliments to each other. At the end of the day, read out loud the compliments collected in the container. The purpose of a compliments note station is to encourage shyer teammates to express themselves without external pressure.

You can include inspirational work quotes in your notes.

9. Bring your pet to work

Since everyone is working from home, a delightful way to bring colleagues cheer during Employee Appreciation Day is to let them work alongside their pet. You can even organize a time during the day, where employees can introduce their pets to the team. Since pets have a calming effect on their owners, letting colleagues bring their pets is an easy way to give people an easier time at work.

Here is a list of the best office pets.

10. Give out company swag

You can impart some company pride by giving out swag. Company swag is a fantastic perk during Employee Appreciation Day because your team is happy to receive extra clothes for free, especially if it includes the organization’s logo.

11. Say “thank you”

While this Employee Appreciation Day idea sounds like a no brainer, people often underestimate the importance of personal thank you’s. In larger companies, it is rare for the CEO to speak to every individual in the company. So, when you personally thank an employee, it is the most direct and effective way to show that you truly recognize employees’ hard work.

Final Thoughts

Your employees put forth time and effort every day to help the company attain its goals. Employee Appreciation Day is pivotal in improving relationships between employers and employees. Taking a few minutes out of your day to make the day special for your team will be worth it in the long run, as your employees become more motivated and engaged at work.

Next, check out our list of employee engagement best practices, this one with questions for employee engagement surveys, and these corporate care package ideas.

FAQ: Employee Appreciation Day gifts and ideas

Here are some frequently asked questions about gifts and ideas for Employee Appreciation Day.

What is Employee Appreciation Day?

Employee Appreciation is a holiday celebrated on the first Friday of March, where companies show gratitude towards their employees. Starting from 1995, this day is a great opportunity for team bonding and for recognizing your colleagues’ standout performance.

How do you celebrate Employee Appreciation Day?

Companies can celebrate Employee Appreciation Day by letting employees get off work early, giving gifts, or holding a work party.

How do you show appreciation to remote employees?

Companies can show appreciation to remote employees by holding virtual parties, activities, or games, and by sending gifts or care packages.

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Content Expert at teambuilding.com.
Team building content expert. Jessica has a double major in English and Asian Studies, and experience working with teams across cultures; including 3+ years in Taiwan.

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