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50 Thoughtful Employee Gifts Under $20: Boosting Morale on a Budget


    Employee appreciation is crucial for fostering a positive work environment. Finding the perfect gift for your employees doesn’t have to break the bank. In this article, we’ll explore 50 thoughtful gift ideas that cost less than $20, ensuring that you can show your gratitude without straining your budget.

    1. Customized Desk Accessories

    Personalized desk accessories, such as custom nameplates or engraved pen holders, add a touch of individuality to the workspace. Websites like Etsy offer a variety of options for under $20.

    2. Motivational Books

    Inspire your team with motivational books that offer valuable insights into personal and professional growth. Choose titles like “The Power of Positive Thinking” or “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.”

    3. Reusable Water Bottles

    Encourage a healthy lifestyle by gifting reusable water bottles. Look for options with innovative designs or motivational quotes, providing a practical and eco-friendly gift.

    4. Desktop Plants

    Bring a touch of nature into the office with small desktop plants. Succulents or mini cacti are not only affordable but also easy to care for, making them ideal for any workspace.

    5. Tech Accessories

    Cable organizers, phone stands, or ergonomic mouse pads can enhance the functionality of your employees’ workstations. These small but practical gifts show that you care about their comfort.

    6. Stress-Relief Items

    In a fast-paced work environment, stress relief is essential. Consider gifting stress balls, fidget spinners, or aromatherapy candles to help your employees unwind during hectic days.

    7. Coffee or Tea Sets

    For the caffeine enthusiast, a quality coffee or tea set can make a delightful gift. Look for unique blends or stylish mugs to elevate their coffee or tea-drinking experience.

    8. Notebooks or Planners

    High-quality notebooks or planners are both functional and thoughtful gifts. Opt for stylish designs or those with motivational quotes to add a personal touch.

    9. Customized Thank-You Cards

    Express your gratitude with customized thank-you cards. Include a personalized message to let each employee know how much you value their hard work and dedication.

    10. Gourmet Treats

    Gift baskets with gourmet snacks or chocolates are always appreciated. Websites like Harry & David offer affordable options that can be delivered directly to your employees.

    11. Subscription Services

    Explore subscription services under $20 per month, such as a streaming service, magazine subscription, or a book club. This gift keeps on giving throughout the year.

    12. Team-Building Games

    Enhance team dynamics with affordable team-building games or puzzles. These activities can promote collaboration and provide a break from the daily routine.

    13. Professional Development Resources

    Invest in your employees’ growth by providing access to online courses or e-books relevant to their professional development. Platforms like Udemy often have budget-friendly options.

    14. Tote Bags or Backpacks

    Practical and stylish, tote bags or backpacks can be used for commuting or carrying work essentials. Look for designs that align with your company’s culture.

    15. Desk Toys

    Fun desk toys like Newton’s cradle or magnetic sculptures can add a playful element to the workspace. They serve as a lighthearted reminder to take breaks and destress.

    16. Bluetooth Earbuds or Headphones

    For the music or podcast lover in your team, consider gifting affordable Bluetooth earbuds or headphones. These can enhance focus during work hours or provide a relaxing break.

    17. Personalized Keychains

    Custom keychains with initials or a meaningful charm can make for a thoughtful and budget-friendly gift. Employees can carry a piece of appreciation wherever they go.

    18. Lunch Totes or Coolers

    Help your employees pack their lunches in style with reusable lunch totes or coolers. Look for designs that align with your company’s culture or include motivational messages.

    19. Phone Stand with Charger

    A practical desk accessory, a phone stand with a built-in charger can help keep devices organized and fully charged, reducing the hassle of searching for charging cables.

    20. Scented Candles or Diffusers

    Create a relaxing atmosphere in the home office or workspace with scented candles or diffusers. Opt for soothing scents like lavender or eucalyptus to promote a calm working environment.

    21. Personal Development Journals

    Encourage self-reflection and goal-setting with personal development journals. These can help employees track their progress and focus on continuous improvement in both personal and professional aspects.

    22. Reusable Shopping Bags

    Show your commitment to sustainability by gifting reusable shopping bags. Look for durable and stylish options that employees can use for grocery shopping or other errands.

    23. Colorful Desk Organizers

    Brighten up the workspace with colorful desk organizers. These can help employees keep their desks clutter-free and add a pop of color to their workstations.

    24. Self-Care Kits

    Curate self-care kits with items like face masks, bath salts, and scented candles. This gift emphasizes the importance of well-being and provides a mini spa experience at home.

    25. Portable Desk Fan

    Help your employees stay cool during hot days with a portable desk fan. Compact and USB-powered options are often affordable and practical for any workspace.

    26. Customized Mouse Pads

    Enhance the work environment with personalized mouse pads featuring unique designs or company logos. This practical gift adds a touch of individuality to every workspace.

    27. Mindfulness and Meditation Apps Subscription

    Promote mental well-being by providing a subscription to mindfulness or meditation apps. Many apps offer affordable monthly plans, allowing employees to access guided meditation sessions.

    28. Travel-Sized Toiletry Kits

    For employees who are frequently on the go, travel-sized toiletry kits can be a thoughtful and practical gift. Look for compact sets with essential items for a quick trip.

    29. Desk Exercise Equipment

    Encourage a healthy lifestyle at work with small desk exercise equipment. Items like resistance bands or mini elliptical machines offer a convenient way for employees to stay active.

    30. Stylish Coffee Mugs

    Upgrade the morning coffee routine with stylish and unique coffee mugs. Look for options that reflect the personality of the recipient or feature clever and motivational designs.

    31. USB Desk Fan with LED Clock

    Combine functionality with a touch of innovation by gifting a USB desk fan with an LED clock. This dual-purpose item serves as both a timekeeping tool and a cooling device.

    32. Digital Productivity Tools

    Explore budget-friendly digital tools designed to enhance productivity, such as calendar apps, task management software, or note-taking applications. These gifts contribute to efficient work processes.

    33. Artisanal Chocolates or Treats

    Indulge your employees’ sweet tooth with artisanal chocolates or gourmet treats. Consider local or handmade options for a personalized touch.

    34. Reusable Face Masks

    In the era of remote work and video calls, reusable face masks are a practical and considerate gift. Choose stylish or branded options that align with your company culture.

    35. Wireless Charging Pads

    Simplify the charging process with wireless charging pads. These affordable gadgets offer a convenient way for employees to keep their devices powered up without dealing with cables.

    36. Eco-Friendly Notebooks

    Promote sustainability by gifting eco-friendly notebooks made from recycled materials. Pair them with recycled or bamboo pens for a complete environmentally conscious package.

    37. Pocket-Sized Tools Kit

    Equip your employees with a compact tools kit featuring essential items like a multi-tool, flashlight, and screwdrivers. This practical gift can come in handy both at work and at home.

    38. Motivational Posters or Prints

    Decorate the office or home workspace with motivational posters or prints. Choose quotes or images that inspire creativity, positivity, and a strong work ethic.

    39. Wellness Workshop Vouchers

    Invest in your employees’ well-being by providing vouchers for wellness workshops or fitness classes. Many local studios offer introductory classes at affordable prices.

    40. Portable Bluetooth Speakers

    Enhance the work atmosphere with portable Bluetooth speakers. Employees can use these during breaks to enjoy music or podcasts, fostering a positive and enjoyable work environment.

    41. DIY Craft Kits

    Unleash creativity with DIY craft kits. From painting sets to knitting projects, these kits provide a fun and relaxing way for employees to express themselves outside of work.

    42. Personalized Lanyards

    Upgrade the office essentials with personalized lanyards. Add a touch of professionalism by incorporating the company logo or the employee’s name into the design.

    43. Aromatherapy Essential Oils

    Create a calming atmosphere with aromatherapy essential oils. Choose scents like lavender or eucalyptus to promote relaxation and stress relief.

    44. Wireless Mouse or Keyboard

    Enhance ergonomic comfort with a wireless mouse or keyboard. These affordable accessories contribute to a clutter-free workspace and increased flexibility.

    45. Portable Phone Chargers

    For employees constantly on the move, portable phone chargers are invaluable. Choose compact and high-capacity options to keep their devices powered throughout the day.

    46. Personalized Travel Mugs

    Ideal for those who prefer their beverages on the go, personalized travel mugs make for practical and thoughtful gifts. Consider designs that align with your company’s branding.

    47. Desk Nameplate or Sign

    Add a touch of professionalism to workspaces with desk nameplates or signs. Personalize them with each employee’s name and position for a sophisticated touch.

    48. Bluetooth Trackers

    Help employees keep track of their belongings with Bluetooth trackers. These small devices can be attached to keys, wallets, or bags, making them a practical and affordable gift.

    49. Gaming Accessories

    For the gamer in your team, consider budget-friendly gaming accessories such as mouse pads, LED lights, or controller grips. These items can enhance the gaming experience during leisure time.

    50. Digital Gift Cards

    When in doubt, digital gift cards are versatile and always appreciated. Choose popular retailers or platforms that offer a wide range of options to suit diverse preferences.


    Showing appreciation for your employees doesn’t require a hefty budget. By selecting thoughtful and budget-friendly gifts, you can foster a positive work environment and boost morale without straining company finances. Remember, it’s the sentiment behind the gift that truly matters.

    Disclaimer: This article provides general guidance and information. HR managers should consult with legal experts to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local laws when implementing these strategies.