Employees need to feel valued now more than ever before. Christmas is a time of giving and with office parties off the cards and bonuses looking unlikely, HR teams will have to be creative this year. One saving grace is that less than a third of employees are expecting a gift from their employer this Christmas. These findings are included in a new forecast from Blackhawk Network that identifies the 12 biggest gifting trends for the 2020 holiday season.


One thing employers should consider however, is that different employees may have differing expectations when it comes to Christmas gifting and therefore companies may need to take a unique approach from previous years. It would appear that older generations are less likely to expect anything from their boss over the festive period, with only 8% of boomers (aged 57+) anticipating a gift this year. In contrast, 40% of millennials (aged 25 – 41) and nearly half of Gen Z (45%) (aged 18-24) expect something. When delivering the news about Christmas bonuses or gifts, it will be important to understand where employees expectations are.


Other key stats from the report include:


  • 58% of employees do not think they’ll receive a gift from their employer, with 11% unsure
  • 48% of employees would prefer a Christmas bonus added to their next pay cheque over a day off work (26%)
  • If receiving a gift card from an employer, 28% would prefer a restaurant specific gift card


Chris Ford, Senior Director of Incentives: “Employers are increasingly getting better at rewarding staff and making them feel valued, but Covid-19 and the surrounding restrictions is going to make that difficult this year. It’s important to remember that even the smallest rewards can go a long way in building morale, even during tough times. Giving employees choice is also key as each employee has their own wants and needs and assuming they’re all the same is a big mistake. Whatever companies decide to do for their staff this Christmas, it is important that their teams feel motivated and ready for what 2021 has in store.”



This survey was conducted among 2001 consumers within the UK. At an overall level, results are accurate to ± 2.2% at 95% confidence limits, assuming a result of 50%. The interviews were conducted online by Sapio Research in September 2020 using an email invitation and an online survey.