Holidays

Holiday Gift Guide: What to Give Your Team Members

Gift-giving can be tricky. We asked six entrepreneurs what they're gifting employees this season.
Holiday Gift Guide: What to Give Your Team Members
Image credit: Benedetto Cristofani
Magazine Contributor
4 min read

This story appears in the December 2017 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can be the trickiest. We asked six entrepreneurs: What are you giving your teams for the holidays

1. Money!

“I’m giving the same thing I always give: cash. Some of our staff are young single moms, some are empty-nesters who are my age, and then we’ve got everything in between. The best [gifting] success we’ve had historically has been the one thing everyone seems to like: greenbacks. To mark other occasions, we’ve sent plenty of folks on weekend getaways over the years, just not at holiday time -- I know how valuable that time is.” 
-- Andrew Zimmern, creator, executive producer and host, Bizarre Foods on Travel Channel

Related: The Importance of Properly Managing a Startup Team During the Holidays and Beyond

2. Puppy (and pig) love

“Our staff are all crazy animal people -- we have everything from pigs and dogs to cats and chickens. So I’m giving everyone Zookies Cookies: mason jar pet-treat mixes that you bake into what can best be described as critter crack! It’s a quirky, local Raleigh startup that’s near and dear to our hearts. My dog, Mouse, was an early taste tester. Love the flavors, love that they’re fun to make, and love that this honors something we all cherish outside of work.” 
-- Cindy Whitehead, CEO, The Pink Ceiling

3. High spirits

“I’d love to give helicopter tours, but more likely, booze. Helicopters aren’t in our budget, and booze helps mitigate the emotional roller-coaster of building a business. As a team, we came together this year to launch Revere, so we certainly have a lot to celebrate, but as a startup, we’re all about that capital efficiency. And a well-aged bottle of mescal makes for a more memorable evening than pretty much anything else money can buy. So, booze it is!”
-- Matt Scott, co-founder and CEO, Revere

Related: 5 Ways to Relax and Recharge During the Holidays

4. Brand DNA

“I want to give my team original copies of the [now defunct counterculture magazine] Whole Earth Catalog -- one of my biggest points of inspiration, encouraging a life of adventure, using your hands to create things and maintaining a connection with the great outdoors. It’s in that same spirit that we at Best Made Co. live and breathe. Actually, a friend said she can introduce me to Stewart Brand, the man behind the catalog. Maybe I’ll get him to sign them!”
-- Peter Buchanan-Smith, founder, Best Made Co.

5. Words of wisdom

“We’re asking each employee to name a book that impacted their life in a positive way. We’ll purchase all of them, and each team member will sign their recommendation with a little note about why it’s special. No spoilers, of course! We’re going to create a holiday library, and our team will browse wrapped books with teaser descriptions on the front and select what they’re drawn to the most. Getting lost in a book is a powerful tool for creativity and invention.”
-- Gina Waldhorn, president, Quirky

Related: 5 Tips to Get Your Website Ready for the Holidays

6. Quality time

“My team is close-knit, but we’re physically spread across multiple continents. We work with artists all over the world, and being remote helps us build strong communities in various cities and test ideas in different markets. Because of that, we want to give our team the gift of time spent together. We plan on traveling to a destination where none of us has ever been. We’ve done this before with a small part of the team and visited Nairobi. Our next destination is up for a vote!”
-- Nahema Mehta, co-founder and CEO, Absolut Art 

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