25 Best Holiday Gifts For Employees Under $5 That They’re Secretly Hoping For

Want to boost morale and show your team you care without breaking the bank?

Employee appreciation is the secret sauce to a thriving workplace, and holiday gifts are the perfect way to serve it up. Studies show that 79% of employees work harder when they feel recognized.

But let’s face it – finding meaningful gifts under $5 can feel like hunting for a unicorn in a haystack.

Fear not! We’ve cracked the code on budget-friendly presents that’ll make your team’s eyes light up brighter than the office holiday decorations. Ready to discover 25 gifts your employees are secretly hoping for?

Office Essentials: Elevate Their Workspace

Desk Organizer

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Who doesn’t love a tidy desk? A compact desk organizer can be a game-changer for your employees.

These nifty gadgets come in various shapes and sizes, perfect for corralling pens, paperclips, and all those little odds and ends that seem to multiply overnight.

Opt for one with multiple compartments to maximize organization. Your team will thank you every time they effortlessly find what they need.

Personalized Notebook

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

There’s something special about a notebook with your name on it. A personalized notebook shows you’ve put thought into the gift and gives your employees a touch of individuality at their desk.

Look for options with high-quality paper and a sturdy cover. Whether it’s for jotting down brilliant ideas or keeping track of to-do lists, this gift will be used and appreciated daily.

High-Quality Pen Set

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

Never underestimate the power of a good pen. A sleek, smooth-writing pen can make even the most mundane tasks feel a bit more luxurious. Consider a set of two or three pens in different colors.

Your employees will appreciate having reliable writing tools at their fingertips, and they might even start looking forward to taking notes in meetings!

Sticky Note Assortment

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

Sticky notes are the unsung heroes of office life. A variety pack of sticky notes in different sizes and colors can brighten up any workspace.

They’re perfect for quick reminders, marking pages, or leaving friendly notes for coworkers.

Desk Calendar

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

Help your team stay organized with a stylish desk calendar. Look for one with a clean design and enough space for jotting down important dates. A desk calendar not only serves as a practical tool but also adds a decorative touch to the workspace.

Your employees will appreciate having a quick, at-a-glance way to keep track of deadlines and office events throughout the year.

Tech Accessories: Gadgets That Make Work Easier

Phone Stand

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

Our phones nowadays are like extra limbs. A phone stand is a simple yet incredibly useful gift. It allows employees to keep their device at eye level, perfect for video calls or following recipes during lunch breaks.

Look for adjustable stands that work with various phone sizes. Your team will love having their hands free while still keeping their phone in view.

Earphone Organizer

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

We’ve all been there – reaching for our earphones only to find them in a knotted mess. An earphone organizer is a small but mighty solution to this common frustration. These come in various designs, from simple wraps to cute animal-shaped holders.

Your employees will appreciate this thoughtful gift every time they easily unwind their earphones for a podcast or some focus music.

Screen Cleaning Kit

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

These compact kits typically include a small spray bottle and microfiber cloth, perfect for keeping screens smudge-free.

According to a study by the University of Arizona, the average desk harbors 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.

A screen cleaning kit not only improves visibility but also helps maintain hygiene. Your employees will appreciate the ability to keep their devices spotless, enhancing both productivity and health.

Cable Organizer

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

A cable organizer is the unsung hero of a tidy workspace. These nifty gadgets come in various forms, from simple velcro straps to decorative clips, all designed to keep cords neat and accessible.

Stylus Pen

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

For those who work with tablets or touchscreen devices, a stylus pen can be a game-changer. It offers precision for digital drawing, note-taking, or navigating small icons.

Many stylus pens are designed to work as regular pens too, giving your employees the best of both worlds. This versatile tool will be appreciated by tech-savvy team members and digital doodlers alike.

Wellness and Self-Care: Nurture Employees’ Well-being

Stress Relief Ball

We all have those moments when we need to let out some frustration. A stress relief ball is a simple yet effective tool for managing tension.

Look for one with a satisfying squish factor and durability. Your employees can keep it at their desk for a quick stress-busting session anytime. It’s a fun, tactile way to release tension and refocus during busy workdays.

Scented Hand Sanitizer

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

Let’s face it, hand sanitizer has become a staple in our lives after the pandemic. But who says fighting germs can’t be enjoyable?

Spice things up with a scented hand sanitizer that’ll make your employees actually want to clean their hands. Go for something that smells amazing and keeps hands soft – nobody likes that dry, crackly feeling.

And don’t worry, these fancy sanitizers still kick germs to the curb.

Hand Cream

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

Dry, cracked hands from constant handwashing or cold weather? A nourishing hand cream can be a real comfort. Opt for a fast-absorbing, non-greasy formula in a travel-sized tube. Look for soothing ingredients like shea butter or aloe vera.

This thoughtful gift will keep your employees’ hands soft and moisturized, bringing a touch of luxury to their daily routine.

Specialty Tea Bags

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

Individual specialty tea bags offer a touch of luxury to break time. Choose unique flavors or wellness blends to make it special.

Studies found that drinking tea can help reduce stress and increase feelings of relaxation. Your tea-loving employees will appreciate this small but thoughtful gift that encourages them to take calming breaks throughout the day.

Mindfulness Cards

In our fast-paced work environments, a little mindfulness can go a long way. A set of mindfulness cards offers quick exercises, affirmations, or meditation prompts. These cards provide easy ways to practice mindfulness, reduce stress, and improve focus.

Your employees can pull a card whenever they need a mental reset, fostering a culture of well-being and self-care in your workplace.

Food and Beverage: Tasty Treats for Every Palate

Gourmet Coffee Sampler

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

A gourmet coffee sampler is like a world tour for the taste buds. Choose a set with single-origin beans or unique blends to give your coffee-loving employees a special treat.

According to a survey by the National Coffee Association, 62% of Americans drink coffee daily, making this gift a surefire hit.

Chocolate Bar

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

A gourmet chocolate bar elevates the ordinary into something extraordinary. Look for bars with unique flavor combinations or single-origin cocoa. Dark chocolate, in particular, isn’t just delicious – it can also improve mood and reduce stress.

Flavored Popcorn

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

Flavored popcorn turns a simple snack into an adventure. From classic caramel to daring flavors like sriracha or truffle, there’s something for everyone.

This low-calorie treat is perfect for satisfying mid-afternoon munchies without the guilt. Choose a variety pack to cater to different tastes, or go for a crowd-pleasing flavor like kettle corn.

Specialty Hot Sauce

For your heat-seeking employees, a bottle of specialty hot sauce can be a thrilling gift. From mild to wild, there’s a wide range of flavors and heat levels to choose from.

Hot sauce isn’t just about the burn – many contain capsaicin, which has been linked to increased metabolism and reduced appetite. Your spice-loving team members will appreciate having a new condiment to experiment with during lunch breaks.

Jam Bottle

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

A small bottle of gourmet jam can add a touch of indulgence to morning toast or afternoon snacks. Look for unique flavors or local producers to make it special.

A high-quality jam provides a delicious, portion-controlled way to satisfy sweet cravings. Your employees will think of your thoughtfulness every time they spread a bit of this fruity goodness.

Practical Items: Everyday Essentials They’ll Love

Multi-tool Keychain

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

A multi-tool keychain is like having a mini toolkit at your fingertips. These compact gadgets often include essentials like a bottle opener, screwdriver, and mini knife.

Your employees will appreciate having this handy tool ready for unexpected situations, both at work and in daily life.

Reusable Shopping Bag

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

Gifting a reusable shopping bag shows you care about both your employees and the environment. Choose a sturdy, foldable design that’s easy to carry.

A study by the UN Environment Programme found that single-use plastic bags are used for an average of just 12 minutes but can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. By providing reusable bags, you’re helping your team make eco-friendly choices every day.

Portable First Aid Kit

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

A compact first aid kit is a thoughtful gift that prioritizes your employees’ well-being. Look for kits that include essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.

These kits are perfect for keeping in a desk drawer or car glove compartment.

Compact Umbrella

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

A compact umbrella is a practical gift that your employees will thank you for on rainy days. Opt for a sturdy, windproof design that folds down small enough to fit in a bag or desk drawer.

One HR manager shared, “After gifting compact umbrellas, I noticed fewer employees coming in drenched on rainy days. It was a simple gift that made a big difference in their comfort and productivity.”

Microfiber Cloth Glasses Cleaner

Best unique holiday gifts for employees under $5

For employees who wear glasses, a microfiber cloth cleaner is a game-changer. These cloths effectively remove smudges and dust without scratching lenses.

The Vision Council reports that 164 million American adults wear glasses, making this a widely appreciated gift.

Choose a cloth that comes in a protective case for easy storage and portability.

Presentation and Distribution: Making Your Gifts Shine

Creative Packaging Ideas

The way you present your gifts can amplify their impact. Consider eco-friendly options like reusable cloth bags or recyclable boxes decorated with festive patterns. You could also theme your packaging based on your company values or the season.

Adding a Personal Touch

Personalization can transform a simple gift into a memorable one. Include a handwritten note expressing appreciation for each employee’s specific contributions. You could also add custom tags or labels with the employee’s name or a motivational quote.

One CEO shared, “When we started including personalized notes with our holiday gifts, the response from our team was overwhelmingly positive. It showed we truly valued each individual.”

Timing of Gift-Giving

The when can be just as important as the what. While many companies opt for distributing gifts at a holiday party, consider the benefits of surprise timing.

You could brighten up a Monday morning or cap off a successful project with an unexpected gift. Psychological research suggests that surprise gifts can create stronger positive emotions and memories than expected ones.

Ensuring Fairness in Distribution

Fairness in gift distribution is crucial for maintaining morale. Ensure that all employees receive gifts of equal value, regardless of their position or tenure. If you’re giving different gifts, make sure they’re of comparable worth.

A survey by Gallup found that 74% of employees who felt they were treated fairly at work were more likely to be engaged. Be transparent about your gift-giving process to avoid any perceptions of favoritism.


We hope the list above has inspired you with creative, budget-friendly gift ideas for your team. From office essentials to wellness items, these thoughtful presents prove that meaningful gestures don’t require a hefty price tag. It’s the consideration behind the gift that truly matters.

By showing appreciation through these carefully chosen items, you’re likely to boost employee morale and engagement. After all, research shows that feeling valued at work leads to increased productivity and job satisfaction. Make this holiday season memorable for your team with these small but impactful gifts!

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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