How do your corporate gifts make people feel?

We interviewed over 250 individuals and businesses to get an inside scoop on how corporate gifts they have received actually made them feel.

We asked: "What emotions, feelings, reaction have you had after opening a corporate gift from your employer, associate, or business partner?"

My feelings were actually resentment and anger and a sense of laziness that they didn’t even care if it was something that would say “appreciation”.

I don't drink that, I won't eat that, I'm never going to use that. And branded things I wondered, why are they marketing to me?

Thanks for the basket full of cheap Easter chocolate, perfect for my lactose intolerance.

A Christmas ham and a bottle of wine left on my doorstep, not gift wrapped, no card. I was away for a week 🤢🤮. Thanks but no thanks.

The problem with gifts en masse, is that they aren't personal and they can be insulting. For example, if someone has worked at a company for 30 years and they receive a generic $100 gift, it's insanely insulting.

I literally felt nothing. Every year I get a supermarket gift card. It was actually a burden, I had it in my wallet for 10 months and had to remember to use it before the expiry.

Most of the time I haven't wanted it. Like when I was in Melbourne with 2 flights back home and this ridiculous basket of things I didn't even like. I gifted it away to who ever wanted it. They make zero difference to how I do the job. They knew I was travelling I was their Northern NSW rep.

The best one I ever got was a little lemon tree and a lemonade making kit. They included a glass jug and glass set. I thought it was really thoughtful. I’ve also liked getting hampers. The worst one was tickets to the Australian open. I hate tennis.

I’m surprised by the responses you’ve received. Why would an employer even bother giving anything with attitudes like that. If I receive something as a gift I’m grateful. I’ve received alcohol as a gift from many people, I don’t drink but I’m still grateful they went to the effort.

I recently received a scented candle, which was beautiful but I get migraine and nausea from perfumes and getting the smell out of my house was an ordeal, not to mention the waste of a candle. I strongly believe that food, alcohol, and perfumed things should never be gifted unless you actually know the preferences and sensitivities of the recipient.

My employer (small business) gives great gifts - they are very thoughtful & support local small businesses.recently on the morning of a launch of a big project she came to my door (I work from home) with a handwritten card and a $100 gift voucher for my favourite local coffee shop.Other thoughtful gifts have arrived for Mother’s day and Christmas.Small businesses have way more flexibility than bigger corporates. But, the difference is that it was what I like, not what was branded to promote the company, or a run-of-the-mill gift she wanted to give to everyone. I used to order & manage promo items and gifts for a large university, so I have experience in this area. There is a huge difference between promo items & gifts, although many get confused.I have never felt more appreciated. So it depends if the gift giving is for employees, or clients.

My husband gets gifted wine and chocolates all the time. He doesn’t drink and gives the chocolates to other staff members. The best gifts he’s been given are plants and a $100 donation to the charity of his choice.

One of the best corporate gifts we received was a box of fresh cherries!I hate the basic hampers with random biscuits, trail mix, ground coffee and teas.

I’ve loved the hampers that my work has sent (they sent quite a few during lockdowns), but they provided a website and we got to choose our own each time.

I was given something I was allergic to. The whole staff knew it. The manager bought it anyway.

I find it so thoughtful regardless - I don’t think it’s someone else’s responsibility to know what I do and don’t like. I’m so appreciative anyone would think to get me something. My fave gift was a plant and some chocolates. Plants lives in my office which I love and chocolates got eaten 🙌🏼 Another one was just this huge brownie - I can’t explain it but it was the most delicious thing ever!!!

I must have been really lucky because I always got super sweet and personalized gifts! And always things I could actually use, too.

I dislike gifts. I would actually personally prefer small token gestures like a boss that brought everyone a coffee if we were working on something big and it was a long day.

I never wanted gifts I recieved from my employer. The company I worked for, only ever gifted branded gifts. Branded pens, branded bbq sets, branded towel etcBranded items aren’t a gift they are a promotional item. I’ve received amazing hampers from company’s we worked with or supported. Like an amazing box full of gorgeous cherries, or artisanal food products.

Worst: A donation to charity on my behalf, that I did not select or support. (Tax write off for one of the big 4 banks) 2nd Worst: Fake Apple AirPod Pros branded with the company name - my Apple phone identified them as non-genuine and refused to connect. Straight in the bin. Wasteful. 3rd Worst: A simple black box 📦 left on our desk with no card or festive spirit at all - containing a battery bank for our phones to ensure we were always connected and available to work. Best: Big fat envelope of cash and some jewellery 😁

I used to get Moet with 2 glasses when I was 18 and was doing an apprenticeship in a small company. I got the same thing every year for 6 years. I love getting gifts, even if not suitable. After I left that job I worked for another 18 years and never got anything from a boss. I have a trade and I worked in small and big companies and apart from attending a Xmas party, I got nothing. Be grateful as we all work hard and I used to wish I got a branded Picnic Hamper, a pen or branded USB stick 💙

My first corporate gift has never been matched - a Hermès scarf!! Still remember it with a fuzzy feeling.

Lol, mine is a small issue but hubby gets gift cards each year for use at shopping centres - lovely idea, however the shopping centres are more than 30mins from our home! Not very practical for us, but 95% of the workplace (small company) are close by to the shopping centres so they don’t seem to think about those of us who will have to make a special trip out to those centres. The other one is we have received the same cooler bag for 10 years in a row from one company… now have 10 matching cooler bags 😂

Best gift received - Bluetooth headphones. Non suitable gift received - bottle of wine. Still appreciative of them all, it's really hard for employers to customise gifts, maybe they could have employees fill out a survey on preference (sports, tech related, plants, food, donation etc) but might be tricky to coordinate.

We stopped sending corporate gift hampers at xmas and now donate the thousands to charity. Much better feeling all round. We let our clients know that we encourage them to do the same.

Let’s spare a thought for the Executive Assistants, etc that have to try to find a gift for however many people, at a certain price point that can be delivered on time. Coordinating that can be an absolute nightmare. And some people will hate it and some people will love it! Also, plenty of companies give no gift. 🤷🏼♀️

"They gave me jewellery in a corporate hamper, that's wierd." 🙄

Best corporate gift I’ve ever had was a company branded Polaroid camera which was part of a whole gift box that had lots of other cool things in it too.

My favourite corporate gift was a grey canvas overnight bag, simple but well made, with the company logo in white ink on one side (ie not massive). Its the right size for overnight, or the gym, or carry on baggage. Because it was cotton canvas and a high quality product with an unobtrusive logo it has got a LOT of use. It came to us folded up, not overly packaged. (It might have been team building conference swag rather than a Christmas gift) I have had it for at least five years. It was likely pricey (when compared to a coffee mug obviously ) but I am definitely a fan of the universally useful yet classy item.

We supply gift box companies with our tea, and are well received. Feedback we have received includes that they loved they are supporting a social enterprise and eco friendly company. We feed a child with every packet of tea we sell. I’ve never received a gift from any employer. But I’ve won wine as prizes which I don’t like as I don’t drink alcohol. I do gift my staff every Christmas and try and support smaller local companies. I like to curate my own from what I think they will like.

I've never worked for corporate and never will do certainly not in this lifetime anyway! I am however very grateful for any gift I receive and if I'm not into it I just pass it on 😇

I often think, that’s nice but a shame it has the brand name on it. Unless it’s a pen I don’t want lovely things with brand names on as it’s just wasteful and I won’t use it.

I don't drink that, I won't eat that, I'm never going to use that. And branded things I wondered, why are they marketing to me?

I wished they had just given me a gift voucher instead of trying to get a gift that fitted everyone. Alcohol (I don’t drink) foods that I don’t eat and bath/shower stuff I wouldn’t use because I’m choosy. All went to op shop or friends. Just felt like a massive waste of money.

I don’t drink alcohol and gits with no allergy-friendly foods, so I can’t eat it.

Yeah I get the whole they don’t know me thing too! I worked for a large fmgc in my past life and at Christmas we all got a freaking giant ham like a 10kg beast of a thing……. One lady in the office was a vegetarian and the answer that she got back from an email regarding the declining of the said ham gift stated she could have a frozen chook instead. I mean come on!!!

It doesn’t need to be stately or cost a lot as it’s not about that. It’s a thanks from the company to show you mean something.

Even something with the company logo is thoughtless. Tends to indicate a bulk buy with a additional cost for embroidery.

It’s a great question! Over a ten year period, as a buyer of gifts I went from standard wine & chocs to 🤷🏼♀️ as we had such a diverse workforce. As a receiver, I used to get bubbly every year and didn’t even like it, so my feelings were actually resentment and anger and a sense of laziness that they didn’t even care if it was something that would say “appreciation”.

I've always just been incredibly appreciative to be honest. I wouldn't expect it to be tailored or personal if a large company. It's the thought that counts with any gift. If you don't drink or eat a certain product it can be gifted to someone else saving you money to buy a replacement for yourself if necessary.I would like no plastic packaging and environmentally friendly products. Nothing that no one wants either as just a massive waste. Who would want a mug with their bosses face on for example? This would be a total waste of money and bad for the environment as couldn't be given away easily! So basically no plastic, something someone could actually use and ultimately how lovely and kind of them to do this.

We got branded handbag sized umbrellas one year and that was great…but they were such poor quality they had holes in the waterproof material. The ones given out in another state were full sized quality branded umbrellas which was a bit of a kick.A positive example is that I still have my mug from 22 years ago which has the company logo on one side and my name on the other. I truly won’t use it because I don’t want to risk breaking it even though it’s just a mug … a mug with my name on it…um so you may have guessed they never had “Cindy” on the named marked cups when I was a kid 😩😆

I budget $50 per customer. After surveying the preferred gift was a charitable donation rather than beer and wine or a hamper. So that is what we do.

As a small NZ 100% owned business now... the reality is the staff want or yes like vouchers, be it they spend on themselves or spend on family... alongside this yes we did the joke, funny present or an NZ gift locally sourced... so maybe there is market untapped there.... small scale larger volume.... as for 'corporate' well worked in for years and boxed wine, food chocolate, nothing was ever 'personal' as you couldn't give something different and the $ perception crept it... so yes heard all of those comments, maybe the local, ethical will make a turning point for some...

Quite frequently ... I appreciate that they've gone to a lot of expense and it's nice to have something to unwrap on Christmas Day, but I wish they had just sent me a grocery voucher so I could buy things we need/want.

Wow, so much negative responses, I'm surprised! I felt grateful, because they had thought of me, and spent money on me, when they didn't have to. As a contractor I don't expect anything so it was a lovely thought and gift. I made sure I took the time to enjoy the gifts and goodies (was food and drink items).

One year it was like "what's the point" when you got $100 cash and had to go buy your own and give them a photo of what you bought - and you had to buy something, not food or me personal is better, shows there's been some thought and that your employer actually knows a bit about you and gives a dam 🙂

I have felt both "I'd rather have had the money it cost to buy this" and, relieved, when the gift was a supermarket voucher at xmas.

I literally felt nothing. Every year I get a $75 supermarket voucher. It was actually a burden, I had it in my wallet for 10 months and had to remember to use it before the expiry.

I would have just preferred the cash/voucher to the same value. Thanks for the basket full of cheap Easter chocolate, perfect for my lactose intolerance 🤣

Best gift I ever got from a supplier at work was freshly baked cookies couriered to me mid afternoon. Totally made my day and I could share with colleagues.

The problem with gifts en masse, is that they aren't personal and they can be insulting. For example, if someone has worked at a company for 30 years and they receive a generic $100 gift, it's insanely insulting. Gifts for holidays or flexibility or something that people can gain *real life value* from are important. It's too hard to buy people gifts when they aren't intimately known by the employer/gift giver, and it can come across as cheap and insulting as a result. Your best bet, Imho, is if you don't know the person you're gifting to, make sure that the person has a choice in what they 'get', otherwise, it could be insensitive and insulting.

My partners only Christmas gift every year is am effing Christmas Ham even though we are a vegetarian family.

I felt like... More crap to get rid of.

That I don't really want a branded gift? I know that sounds ungrateful but if it's truly a 'thank you' or a gift of appreciation, it shouldn't shout my employer's name every time I use it. I'd much rather half a day off and a voucher for an experience that I can choose myself. That would show that I am truly valued.

Possibly depends on your love language- if gift giving is in the top it prob doesn’t matter what gift - I think people are trying for minimalist living so perhaps experienced or eat or drink stuff ( I don’t drink but still appreciate the thought) or something you can spend on yourself…

A Christmas ham and a bottle of wine left on my doorstep, not gift wrapped, no card. I was away for a week 🤢🤮. Thanks but no thanks

I’m incredibly grateful to my bosses - always give such thoughtful gifts I’ve been gifted tickets to musicals, horse riding lessons for my girls, tickets to big basketball games, a MacBook at the start of covid so wfh was an easier experience than my shitty old laptop I’m incredibly spoilt when it comes to receiving gifts from my bosses.

Last year I shopped and created a custom gift with treats and things. This year some branded stationary and a book slightly tailored to each client and some other bits and pieces.

One of the schools I taught at were awesome with not just giving a gift box of the same stuff to all staff. They sent an email around asking preference of what drinks, food etc we would like and to notify of food allergies etc so there were check boxes eg choice of 3 different beers, 2 choices of wine and 2 choices of cider ( I chose cider). Food was the same - cheeses, crackers, confectionary. That way you got the things you liked. Very good idea and everyone was happy.

People seem to give me wine. I don't drink. Maybe I look like I need to?

Mine I've always given away... I have multiple anaphylaxis food allergies combined with being coeliac and NZ wine is too high in sulphites due to our volcanic soil. Best one I got was the gorgeous box it came in which I still use many years later... Everything else was given away.

if my employer asked me to complete a simple survey with three or four questions about myself to get a better idea of what I’d like, that would be a nice touch. Maybe a subtle “getting to know you” survey should be used, then a gift curated accordingly.

All of the above, except pregnancy and the nut allergy....all very relevant. I've recieved a company branded picnic blanket which was probably the best one, apart from Hershey's kisses and Russian fudge... the most impractical/useless (for me) was a solar shower (bag with hose) as I don't go camping.

All of the above! I dislike the phrase "token of appreciation" because token is just that, it doesn't speak value. One year we got given a Christmas ham, which was great, and then we discovered they were actually meant to go in client hampers and we were to get a towel and beach tote. We got to keep the ham.

I have only had positive experiences getting work gifts. Some I still talk about now 15 years later. But I did work for a US company and their gifting and rewards policy was excellent. I also was given all-expenses-paid 5-star reward trips each year - Singapore, Spain, Fiji, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts, Mexico, Maui etc. Christmas gifts were hampers, I assume for all staff, but I am not actually sure! Reward trips were based on performance - reaching targets.

Hubby usually gets a ham and voucher each year. Last year, during lockdown they were all asked to come in (following Covid guidelines) and given the most pathetic gift pack ever. Felt like a burden to drive 20 mins each way to get it.The employees slogged their guys out all during lockdown. Had to work onsite in level 4 and the company made record profits. It was a bit of a kick in the guts really. We look forward to the little hams every year. But that was not given. I can’t even remember what the gave. But hubby was so disappointed.

"I'd love another umbrella" "This leather work folder is so big and bulky and totally practical for my lifestyle" "I'd rather have received chocolates" "Salad tongs... I don't have enough of those" "What a waste of cash" "A man must decide on these gifts" ...There are so many cool gifting options, yet one company always gave crap ones. I got an amazing one from my real estate when I sold my house - gourmet food hamper with all Australian products!

I got a whole lot of stuff last year and it was all really lovely and thoughtful but my son is allergic to nuts so I had to give most of it away to my parents (which my dad thought was fantastic 🤣.) They knew this as my son had attended the preschool at work, so it just seemed weird.

A few years back I got a huge gift basket of packaged olives, weird cookies and other strange food items that I had no interest in eating. I felt a sense of guilt for not being more grateful which never feels good… but also a sense of “what is this crap?!” Overall just not a good experience at all. It definitely wasn’t tailored towards me and took up loads of space in my pantry - of course I felt guilty every time I looked at it until I just finally threw it away.

Supporting local would be nice. Something from a local supplier, less carbon miles, supporting a small business. Not a joke item, useful rather than clutter. The best thing is a card from the boss with a thank you and one thing they appreciate about me.

Disappointment. Really exciting actually getting a gift, can't think of anything specific but always just generally disappointed every time.

Best gift was a degustation voucher worth $200 - $300

Worst gifts for me, are what I call "smellies" popore, bath products - a scented gift. A gift box from lush. Those sorts of things are very personal, in what you like to use and what you want to smell like. I have psoriasis.

People who give bubble bath / bath products, but not many people have baths these days. Bubble bath is dead.

It's a hard do you personalise gifts in a big company? I used to work in a big factory for few years and every Xmas we got a big bag full of food products collected from the local farmers and from the local grocery shop. I didn't like everything in there, but appreciated the thought and the fact they didn't add their promotional stuff in there with logos etc. + it was obviously a very generous gift. I have appreciated gifts that are nicely wrapped and packaged, even that shows that some thought has gone into it even if the gift itself wasn't quite spot on personally. I have disliked gifts that have the company logo on them... I don't want any random items reminding me about my work with their logos added everywhere 😄 you can ruin an absolute perfect product with a permanent logo 🙄

I used to receive some really useless stuff. So I give my team Supermarket gift cards and Visa Prezzy cards. Now that I have said it I hope my team actually do appreciate the gift cards 🤣🤣

It felt like someone had ticked a box and sent a standard gift, rather than genuinely appreciate my work and thought about the gift.

I'd rather have the money. Gifts from employers are so 1980's.

"I don't need any more bloody coffee mugs"

I am not going to use/eat/drink what do I do with it? Argh

I used to work at a bank and we got great gifts. Then I temped for the same bank. I got a single branded glass coaster. Oh goody we said. 5 more years and we get the set. The excitement!

When there's branding on items. I'm simply not going to use a wine glass with my accountant or real estate agent's logo on it! And then I feel bad about chucking it away..

I’d prefer a beautiful bouquet and a gift voucher or cash bonus. I miss those days!

When all is said and done, i'd like a bonus. So cash or gift card. Although I do like gourmet food too. Crackers, cheese, olives, quince paste etc. That's just my taste. I'd prefer to not receive a ham. Seems a bit medieval. 🤔

I'm usually like "oh cool, free stuff"

Gifts aren't expected, so you win some you lose some. No skin off my nose

Over the years we have had;🥪 a picnic cool bag, with cheap plastic cups and cutlery inside, ☕️ a reusable cup,🥤 a reusable bottle, 🛏 A throw, thin blanket, 🧺 A picnic blanket, ALL with the company logo!!! They are cheap products, mass produced, that break easily, and just clutter up the house or end up on landfill. I’d much rather a food hamper, cash voucher or given a choice of charity to donate to in my name. Stop buying crap for the sake of buying it.

We got given a wooden box my husband thought might be a bottle of whiskey. We had to pry it open. I was a little Pohutukawa tree - I felt really special!! 🌿Like that's our national tree and it was such a cool gift that, had I not killed it, would have been with us for years to come. (It was before I got my green thumb dialled in 🤷♀️).

I loved when my bosses gave me a cash bonus or asked where I wanted to go out for dinner or for a fancy overnight hotel stay and they paid for everything. I don’t think being disappointed or annoyed at a poorly chosen gift is ungrateful - it’s not the era of ‘accept what you’re given and be happy for it’. Employees are people, not robots to recharge with a generic ‘thank you’ gift. I’d rather nothing than a wasteful gift.

I also really hate when people gift alcohol. I get people like to drink. But Australia’s drinking culture is so deeply ingrained and harmful to so many.

I have a colleague who just reached 10 years service and was “gifted” a $50 voucher to the company we work for (Multi-billion dollar company). Come on!! It just feels insulting.

My husband gets a Westfield voucher each year from his company and I know some people hate getting vouchers because they find them impersonal, but we love it 😊

It showed that my boss had all the work friendship and charitable self image stuff completely blurred. The whole gift was shameless self promotion and nothing to do with me.

I was given 2 tickets to Sea World and I thought I don't want x2 damn tickets to Sea World. I just want to be allowed some annual leave for once.

I felt confused 😐

Me: 'woo-hoo, wine!' 😄I'm no help sorry.

Horrible Boss once gave me a gift hamper, like it made up for all the horrible treatment all year. I would forgo the gift in exchange for him behaving like a human. This is a difficult one because unless the gift is thought out and appropriate for the individual, then you’re going to alienate someone.

I recently received a coffee voucher for two at our local cafe and its was legit the BEST corporate gift I've been given!

Between my partner and I we have received some awesome things, like outdoor games, Kathmandu beach tent, swandri picnic rug, prezzy cards, It's hard to gift to the masses- I wouldn't mind if it was something I couldn't use personally as I could regift. Buying your own could be fun, if pitched the right way. In the non corporate world, one year we got a pen, and the next year a sticker of the company logo 😑 Most non corporate jobs you get absolutely nothing, not even an end of year morning tea or to go home early on Xmas eve. As long as some thought has gone into it, and it's not a free company pen, I'm grateful.

I’d love the idea of being gifted a plant, but wouldn’t be so great for unit dwellers or those who don’t enjoy gardening. Best gift I ever got was the choice of a ham or turkey plus a $50 gift card.


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