Employee Holiday Recognition: Office Gifts You Can Buy in Bulk

Buying gifts for your coworkers can cause undue stress, but with these company gift ideas, you won’t think twice about what to buy for your colleagues.

7 min read
Packaged office gifts sitting on a desk

Are you a team leader, HR leader, or someone responsible for office gifts and recognition this holiday season? Although the holidays are typically seen as a joyous time, regardless of which holidays you celebrate, it can also be stressful on everyone. We’re here to provide you with an easy guide as you plan the next few months of celebration and recognition of the most important part of your business —your employees! We’ll cover why holiday or year-end gifts are meaningful, important considerations as you plan, what employees really want, and some great employee bulk gift ideas you can try this year. So, let’s dig in!

Creating Meaning with Office Gifts

To have meaning, a gift needs to create some type of positive emotion in the recipient. Remember the movie Say Anything? If not, or if it’s been a long time since you’ve watched, it’s the perfect movie that describes teenage angst, love and life lessons in the 90’s. In it, there is a scene where Diane Court (Ione Skye), the “perfect girl,” is breaking up with Lloyd Dobler (John Cusak), our hero. She gives him some long speech about why she’s doing it, then gives him a pen. 

Lloyd rushes back to his friends to tell them about the breakup and says, “She broke up with me. What do I do? Can she come back? How can I get her back? I can't - I can't get her to talk to me. I feel like crying. She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen.” It’s a good example of a person giving a gift to someone for an honorable purpose, but it completely missing the mark. In fact, the gift caused more bad feelings than if it had not been given. I share this story because we want to encourage gift-giving that will result in positive feelings of your employees, not feeling underwhelmed with a pen.

In addition to positive feelings resulting from the gift, there are other impacts a well-thought-out gift can provide. Office gifts can be a motivator for employees who have been working hard year-round. It is also a way to show appreciation for the way employees come together and perform. It shows the employees you are paying attention to their effort and results. By embracing motivation and appreciation and using gifts appropriately, you will ultimately create a culture where people feel valuable. This feeling of value drives retention. And in a time of The Great Resignation, retention is the goal. 

Important Considerations When Buying Bulk Gifts for Coworkers

What factors should you consider when buying employee gifts in bulk? 

What Products are Available

The first is availability. Supply chains emerged from the pandemic on shaky ground, and all indications are that they won’t find their footing until 2023. Take Amazon’s cargo business, for example. Bloomberg reports that the freighter’s operations have grown at the slowest pace since the start of the pandemic, a sign of continued supply chain pressures, high input costs, and slower consumer demand. 

As more companies continue to feel the impact of these structural issues, don’t be surprised if some gifts are harder to come by.For shoppers struggling to find those perfect gifts, and enough of them for teams of employees, they turn to internet shopping. None of that bodes well if you’re planning to buy in bulk, especially if you have to ship gifts to employees working from home. It may not be easy.

Where Employees Live

Where employees live is another major consideration when buying gifts in bulk. What percentage of employees work remotely or in close proximity to the office? Will you need to not only leave time to buy the bulk gifts but also time to ship them to your employees’ homes? Additionally, you must consider whether the employee gifts you select even apply to those workers who are remote or working flex schedules. And speaking of remote workers, if you give corporate gift cards to a specific restaurant, that restaurant may not be near that employee’s location. As you think through locations, apply timing to that as you plan.

What Employees Really Want

Employees want gifts that are personal to them, that strike a chord or feeling, that make them feel valued, and that are memorable. What they don’t want are trendy gifts. For example, organizations are currently pushing meditation as part of their wellness programs. Studies show that only 14% of American adults are doing that. So, when selecting employee gifts, be sure that you’re not picking something you’ve heard a lot about but that has no real lasting meaning.

Top Company Gift Ideas for 2022

As mentioned before, a risk of buying company gifts in bulk is missing the mark on personalization. We want each employee to feel valuable and appreciated. To have the best opportunity to offer flexibility and meet the most employees' needs, gifts are broken down into two categories: food and experiences. Let’s look at how each offers numerous benefits.


There are many compelling reasons for giving the gift of food. In a recent survey by DoorDash, “49% of those surveyed said they’ve had at least one work failure, including missing a deadline, a call, or other work matter, due to a need to prep food for themselves or family.” 

It is not only good for your company from a purchasing perspective, but also for the employees. Food hits on some of our most basic human needs. Food represents comfort in that it can bring up good memories associated with the food. Food reinforces sharing and a sense of connection as employees consume it together or with their families. Food can also be a way to share and learn about different cultures. Lastly, food evokes memories. Those memories can be shared with the team and gives the opportunity for greater inclusion and appreciation of the diversity each of us brings to the job. Food delivery is also changing the game when it comes to rewarding employees.

Free Delivery

DashPass for Employees is a great idea for companies who want to give a gift that keeps on giving. For less than a $100 gift card, you can give your employees a year-long membership to free delivery on all their grocery orders, restaurant orders, convenience store deliveries, liquor store deliveries, and more. It’s easier to set up and shows employee appreciation year-round. It makes their life so much easier. 

Restaurant Gift Cards

DoorDash Gift Cards are another great option when buying employee gifts in bulk. It’s not like any other gift card; it gives each employee that personal experience we’ve been planning for. It allows employees to buy food from any of their favorite places which can trigger those positive memories food brings. During the holiday season, it can also treat employees to their favorite holiday treats. They can be used at 450+ restaurants across the country and can easily be sent via email with a personalized note to your remote workers, avoiding the hassle of having to figure out shipping and gifts arriving on time.

Free Meals

DoorDash Expensed Meals is the way to go when you’re looking for ease, scalability and flexibility. It’s easy because the program lets you set a budget for your employees each month, then forget it. Employees spend against the meal budget and are not required to submit receipts, so it’s easy for them too. It’s scalable because you can gift as many employees as you’d like at once. And it’s flexible because it supports employees being able to spend their budget in 450k+ restaurants. Meals are automatically expensed to the company account so that employees can focus on what they are eating and not the mechanics of the program. It takes holiday stress out of the lives of everyone when you gift with Expensed Meals.


Employee experiences are another great way to reward in bulk during the holidays. By taking all the things above into consideration as you plan, you can create positive memories and bonding for your team. Experiences are good if you’re short on budget for the rewards. Like buying bulk employee gifts, it enables you to reward everyone with something and there are even ways to make it feel quite personal.

Concert or Sporting Event

Group outings are a fun way to engage employees in local venues. One consideration is to gift tickets to a local concert, play, or sporting event. Buy seats together for the group. Then, add on a contest for a special “VIP experience” that a couple employees can win. Purchase a few tickets in the front row and raffle those off to the employees. It will be a fun gift for all involved.

Theater night

Like the concert or sporting event idea, a movie night is another great group option. Local movie theaters offer specials to rent out an entire theater.  That way everyone has space and they can even bring their families, depending on how many employees you invite. Pick a PG rated movie that may appeal to everyone or rent out two theaters with different movies and offer the group a choice. Arrange for employees to have popcorn, candy, and soda available. 

Cooking class with a chef

Hiring a chef to do an in-person cooking class that is also broadcast for virtual employees is another fun office gift. Gift each employee a box of goodies used to make the dish they will be learning to make. Or maybe the gift is a cookbook authored by the chef. Either way, it’s not just a bulk employee gift, but a whole experience and memories to go with it. Employees will learn a new recipe and have a skill to show off to their own families during the holidays.

Corner office

This is a good way to reward on a budget. If you have employees onsite, gift them each a day to work from a coveted corner office. Make sure the office is stocked with a mini fridge filled with goodies for them to enjoy on their special day. Give them access to an assistant and maybe even a DoorDash gift card so they have their lunch covered too!

Care package with meaning

During times of stress, like the holidays, employees need to feel cared for. Send out a care package to each employee. Consider options like a breakfast foods care package, a snack time care package, or other comfort foods. It is a fun way for them to share with their family and feel special at the same time.

Choose your own experiences

Like in the Choose Your Own Adventure book series, offer a bulk gift that allows employees a set spending limit on wellbeing options. They can “choose their own care” by selecting from things like a therapy app membership, gym membership, meditation app, Masterclass training, or similar. It’s a nice thing to let employees have the flexibility to choose the gift that means the most to them.

As you make your employee bulk gift purchases, the last thing to remember is to appeal to the 5 senses. Think about how the experience registers differently in the brain the more senses that are activated. Give them a theme like “Winter Adventure” or “Comfort foods from around the world”. Themes tell the employees there was thought and purpose to the gifts given, even though they are bought in bulk.

 Finally, add a challenge to the process and encourage employees to share their thoughts. Whether internally on the intranet or externally on social media like Twitter or TikTok, reward employees who share their reactions to the gift. This can be photos of them enjoying the gift, videos, eating or cooking with the gift, doing something physical, using art, music or dance. 

There are so many ways to enjoy the upcoming holiday season. Having a plan, taking employee value into consideration, and finding exciting bulk gift options are ways you can create an enjoyable holiday for your employees. For more suggestions, learn about the impact a DashPass for Employees can have for you during the holidays.