30 Fresh, Creative Gift Ideas for Employees on a Budget

Cassy Aite
May 5, 2024
30 Creative Gift Ideas for Employees on a Budget

From work anniversaries and birthdays to Employee Appreciation Day and holiday gifts, you never know when you may need to buy a quality gift for employees.

You can show appreciation for employees by giving them gifts that make them feel valued. Since it’s the thought that counts, not the price tag, we’ll help you get creative and give your employees inexpensive gifts they’ll love.

Here are 30 great gift ideas for employees on a budget that goes beyond gift cards and gift baskets.

Let's check them out!

The importance of employee gift-giving

A survey found 81% of employees felt appreciated when they received gifts from their employers, while 56% felt recognized for doing a good job.

But why do small gifts work? Receiving thoughtful gifts, even when inexpensive, makes employees feel appreciated. This propels them to be motivated to do their best and produce high-quality work. Small gifts show them you’ve put in the thought to choose something you know they’ll enjoy and use. In fact, 65% of employees prefer non-cash incentives.

Clearly, creativity is the real secret to making a gift memorable while establishing employee loyalty. Add personalization and value to the mix, and you’ve got yourself the best gift to wow them.

Gift Ideas for employees on a budget

Giving employees small but meaningful gifts to celebrate company milestones, a special occasion, or a job well done can go a long way. But coming up with gift ideas for employees on a budget is easier said than done.

After all, you’re probably wondering:

  • How much should you spend?
  • Should you spend the same amount of money on every employee?
  • How do you make a gift that strikes a chord while keeping it professional?

When choosing gifts, you may not always get options that match the exact dollar for everyone, so it’s best to define a range.

A $50 budget is a nice middle ground, but $15-$25 fits into most small business budgets. As for brainstorming memorable yet professional gift ideas for employees on a budget, read on to find our top picks.

Home office equipment

1. Bluetooth keyboard

Desk accessories are a no-brainer for old and new employees working in front of a screen. And a Bluetooth keyboard will make an excellent addition to their work-from-home setup that looks good and works even better. Logitech, for one, offers many sleek and affordable options.

Moreover, your employees can connect the keyboard to all their devices, thanks to Bluetooth. No wires or plugs to worry about!

2. Customized notepads

Look for notepads that come in a set and can be personalized with your employee’s name. You can also put some thought into their cover to make them feel extra special. For example, if your employee is a dog lover, you can look for colorful notepads that feature cute doggos all over.

3. Noise-canceling headphones

Noise-canceling headphones are a slightly more expensive employee gift idea, but the boost in employee productivity and peace of mind they bring makes it worth every penny. Anker and boAt have some great Bluetooth-enabled and wireless selections that'll make your employees very happy.

4. Desktop vacuum

Give your employees their personal janitor in the form of a tiny and unobtrusive desktop vacuum to collect dust, crumbs, and pet hair and support workplace organization. You have tons of options, too—choose between chrome, battery-operated vacuums to wireless charging gadgets in striking bold colors.

5. A WFH survival kit

A WFH survival kit is just as it sounds—a kit with goodies that solve common remote work struggles. Many e-commerce sites offer kits containing practical items like a power bank and keychain, as well as fun stuff like a conference call Bingo card or a fidget cube.

If you want employees to have a say in what comes in their kit, opt for Hoppier’s virtual cards that make it easier for them to shop their favorite office supplies from global shopping platforms, like Amazon, Apple, and Best Buy.

Travel gifts

6. Neck pillow

Easy to use and comforting, a neck pillow is an excellent gift idea for employees on a budget. It’ll keep your employees comfortable when they’re working—or traveling for work.

7. An Audible or streaming subscription

Considering 78% of U.S. households have at least one subscription to Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu, you can never go wrong with the gift of streaming. Or, you can gift an Audible subscription so employees can listen to their favorite audiobooks on the road.

8. Airplane cocktail kit

Let them enjoy a happy buzz and relax for their plane journey with a pocket-friendly cocktail kit. A single kit typically includes syrup, flavors, a bar spoon, a recipe booklet, and a coaster. Just add a mini bottle!

9. Kindle

If your employees are bookworms, they’ll surely enjoy a Kindle that lets them carry their favorite books wherever they go.

10. Assistance with traveling expenses

Arrange for subsidized taxis and bus fares so it’s easier for your employees to commute to work. Alternatively, you can give them a small allowance to assist them with their monthly travel fares.

Experience gifts

11. Beer caddy

Beer lovers or campers will love to unwind with some beer in hand. Gift them a beer caddy, either bought from a dedicated website or Amazon. You can also personalize it to add a special touch.

12. Virtual mixology class

Hire a mixologist to lead your team through a virtual experience, where you can practice fancy cocktail pairings, master mixology techniques, and prepare delicious cocktails. Then, enjoy with co-workers over Zoom. 

You can use Hoppier’s virtual credit cards to help employees buy the necessary ingredients for the class, too. Wine.com and Alcohol Delivery are two great options of many on the Hoppier platform.

13. Picnic basket

A picnic basket will make the perfect companion for your team members to enjoy a day out with loved ones. If you have the budget, you can also fill it up with some inexpensive treats like candy, cookies, or chips.

14. Conversation starter cards

Help employees form better connections with people, both at and outside work, by giving them conversation starter cards. These card sets cover a range of topics ranging from thought-provoking, to funny, to imaginative, and they work wonders to spark engaging conversations.

15. Sign them up for an e-learning class

E-learning is the best way to achieve personal or professional goals. Gift a class to help workers elevate personality and people skills.

Budget gift ideas for employees under $25

Good office gifts don’t require a big budget—provided you're mindful of choosing items that are novel, useful, and thoughtful.

Coming up with budget gift ideas for employees who tick these boxes can involve an overwhelming amount of time. That’s why we’ve put on our thinking caps to make the process easier for you.

Gift of wellness

16. Essential oil diffuser

Help your employees unwind after a long day at work—or feel energized for the day ahead with an essential oil diffuser that fills the air with a soothing, fragrant scent. We highly recommend opting for lavender, chamomile, or rosemary-infused oils.

17. A self-care kit

Send employees customized self-care kits for both your male and female employees. Consider curating a gift box with a water bottle or tumbler, lip balm, an essential oil diffuser, and even a coffee mug! Highly recommend consulting your staff members about the things they want in their kits to ensure a truly relaxing experience.

18. Virtual yoga class

Yoga can work wonders for both the mind and body. Yoga classes are a great corporate gift idea because they help them feel focused at the beginning of the day or relax after a hard day‘s work.

19. Subscription to a wellness app

Wellness apps like Calm, Headspace, and Talkspace will make your employees physically and mentally fit as they stay at home and work. For a truly memorable gift, you can offer a monthly subscription to a wellness app of their choice through Hoppier.

20. Book a spa appointment

Everyone loves a good ol' pampering session, especially during the holiday season. Have your employees hit reset and indulge in a relaxing spa by booking them an appointment for a basic service like a pedicure, manicure, or facial.

Home Improvement

21. Self-watering planter

Plant lovers will love this self-watering plant that lets them add greenery to their workspace without worrying about maintenance. Technology, right? This gift will also be great for those who like growing their own ingredients (Think: fresh herbs, tomatoes, chili peppers).

22. Digital photo frame

Before you think Boring!, hear us out: photo frames today come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, but a digital version takes the cake. Employees can add pictures of their friends and family, pets, from work—or all of them by preparing a slideshow.

Yes, digital photo frames today can be set up to play short slideshows of your favorite memories.

Doesn't sound boring anymore, right?

23. Charging station

Move over traditional, single chargers!

If there is one thing your tech-savvy and remote employees will surely appreciate, it’s a charging station that lets them charge multiple devices at once and keeps their desks clutter-free.

24. Kitchen gear

Does your company have that one person who is always bringing delicious homemade snacks and treats for the entire team? Show your appreciation by gifting them new kitchen gear and items for them to use for their homes.

Walmart offers some incredible kitchen gear at pocket-friendly prices that are worth checking out. You can also personalize the items to make employees feel truly special.

25. Scented candles

There are only two kinds of people: people who love scented candles and people who haven’t experienced their magic yet.

Scented candles are an excellent gift idea for employees on a budget. First, they’re affordable. Even the most expensive brands come under $35. Second, they're personalizable. You can choose the scent or design—or both. Third, they create an inviting home or work environment, helping employees truly relax.

Talk about killing many birds with a single stone. 

No-cost gift idea

26. Handwritten note or letter

Sometimes, the best reward to acknowledge your employee’s effort and hard work is to write a letter and card—and present it in person. Make sure the note is personal and written by a superior like a manager or the CEO.

27. A public shoutout on the company website or newsletter

Give your employee of the month a public shoutout by writing up a small feature on the company’s website or newsletter. Getting recognized publicly for their efforts makes employees feel recognized and appreciated. Plus, it encourages others to be better at work, so that's another win.

28. Make them a customized emoji

A custom emoji is a quirky and unexpected reward—and inexpensive. You can make emojis for employees, their pets, or even a detailed version of their favorite food.

29. Dogs at the office or Zoom

Research suggests that employees who work in dog-friendly offices are less stressed, more collaborative, and more likely to give higher ratings of trustworthiness to their team members.

Have your employees bring their dogs to work or show them for a fun meeting session to boost employee morale.

30. Give employees time off

If there is one thing employees will always appreciate, it’s an extra day off. Let them spend time with family and friends to recharge.

Affordable employee gifts with Hoppier

If you’re looking for an easy way to send meaningful and affordable gifts to employees, try Hoppier.

Send employees our smart digital Visa cards that allow them to order from the largest choice of global and local vendors. Whether you want to get them a subscription, create wellness programs, or send unique, branded gifts, Hoppier has you covered.

Funds on the cards are either extended in future credit or refunded. What’s more, you can customize the design of each virtual card, set the dollar amount, and choose your desired vendors. 

Show your employees you care with gifts

Finding unique gifts on a budget is a time-consuming task but not impossible. Let’s not forget the reward of making employees feel valued also means gifting yourself the likelihood of higher employee retention, morale, and a more engaged work culture.

Use our employee appreciation gift ideas to find the perfect gifts for your employees. And, of course, sign up with Hoppier to give them a personalized and convenient gifting experience, whatever your budget.

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Ready to 2x your global engagement at your next event, with Ox stress?

Make Hoppier your unfair advantage today, schedule a demo

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Ready to 2x your global engagement at your next event, with Ox stress?

Make Hoppier your unfair advantage today, schedule a demo


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