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Creativity Is Human.

Deciding what to give employees is often the hardest part of the holidays — second only to how much you should spend. After all, you’re not just choosing gifts for a variety of different people, each with their own tastes and personalities, but for a variety of different relationships and positions in the company.

While giving gifts to your team isn’t mandatory, nor is it allowed in all organizations, you probably want to show them just how much you care. Here are some ideas on how to get gift-giving right this time of year:

1. Make some memories.

Life experiences often outweigh gifts. In fact, research shows that people who spend money on experiences rather than things are happier and feel the money was better spent. Instead of hosting a traditional holiday party, consider coordinating a shared experience for your team. Take employees to a big sporting event, escape room, or even something touristy.

2. Skip the tchotchkes.

Sure, you’ll probably get a great deal buying mugs, stress balls, or key chains in bulk. But what sort of message does a gift like this send your employees? Certainly not one of appreciation. If you can’t afford decent gifts, then it’s often better to give nothing at all — or to donate the money you would’ve spent on useless tchotchkes to a local charity. Tis the season of giving.

3. Give back to the community.

If you don’t yet offer a workplace-giving program, there’s no better time of year to start. Studies show that 67 percent of people would rather work for a company that supports social initiatives. What’s more, corporate social responsibility can improve employee loyalty by as much as 38 percent. Offer matching gifts and support staff volunteerism to give back to both your team and the community.

4. Throw in a little flexibility.

Talk about a gift that won’t cost a thing, offering flexibility does little impact to your business while helping reduce some of the stress your employees will feel this time of year. Consider letting people work from home, come in late, or leave early when needs be. It may take a bit more coordination on your part, but nothing builds trust within your team more than some flexibility on your part.

5. Consider extra time off.

While not all companies can close down during the holidays, you may still have the means to give the gift of time in other ways. Maybe a few hours off prior to the big day would be useful to get some last minute shopping done. If business allows, you may find the time to give employees an additional day off, allowing them to extend their vacation and come back more refreshed than ever before.

As you choose holiday gifts, tap into those creative juices. The holidays should be fun, and creativity can add the right element of it to cap off the year and show staff just how much you appreciate their continued contributions to your business.