I'm looking for employee gifts that are scalable and they can personalize
January 10, 2011 11:01 AM   Subscribe

Do you have any cool or unique "gift certificate" ideas in the $10-30 range? These are for my employees -- I like gifts they can personalize and/or order on their own, but a bit more creative than an iTunes or Amazon GC.

Some that I have considered or used in the past:

Happy Socks
Dots iPhone gloves
Moo cards/stickers

...I suppose part of this is what cool little gadgets or items have you purchased or desired this year?

posted by johnchristopher to Shopping (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Hanuman1960 at 11:22 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm a freelancer, and I get presents from vendors. If it has to be branded, I like USB gizmos, but I'm really fond of giftcards, Amazon, Starbucks or Peets, etc.

I've also gotten luggage tags (nice, but really, how many do I need?), fleece blankets with embroidered logos, calendars, tote bags, hoodies, crew jackets, Twister game, mugs, mousepads, engraved little boxes and frames travel mugs, insulated lunch bags.

What not to get--refrigerator magnets with photos of BBC anchors.

I'm sure other people love all this stuff.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:23 AM on January 10, 2011

Best answer: Kiva. Your employees get to decide where the microloans go, and then get to keep the cash or pay it forward when the loan is paid off!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:30 AM on January 10, 2011 [4 favorites]

Eh, go with Starbucks or something comparable. Everyone loves coffee! And they'll love you each time they use it.

If you go too unique you risk giving something they'll never use and come to hate as it takes up space in their desk.

Both those thoughts are based on recent experience.
posted by dervish at 11:46 AM on January 10, 2011

How about for an outdoor store? We have MEC here in Canada, but depending on where you are I am sure you can find something similar. REI, perhaps. They usually have a lot of useful things for under $30. Flashlights, travel mugs, bags, etc.
posted by backwards guitar at 11:47 AM on January 10, 2011

I know it's kind of boring, but I love it when someone gives me an American Express Gift Card. I sock them away for when I really find something I can't justify the extra expense for, but really want, and it's not tied to any specific store or brand.
posted by xingcat at 11:47 AM on January 10, 2011

IANYEmployee, but please, no gadgets. Movie tickets? Local restaurant that you have all enjoyed together? High-end grocery store in your area? Something consumable, and preferably local. And where they get the full value of the gift, i.e., no shipping fees.
posted by Knowyournuts at 11:53 AM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Unless you know them very well, I would go with something like an Amazon gift card. Everyone can find something on Amazon. I've been given tons of gift cards to "unique" places over the years, but they almost always go unused.
posted by parakeetdog at 12:08 PM on January 10, 2011

Best answer: Chocri lets you make custom chocolate bars, and you can choose any amount of money for a gift certificate. They also donate a portion of their profits to charity.
posted by bibliophibianj at 1:00 PM on January 10, 2011

Unique shows thought, but generic is more useful. My idea? Generic, useful gift, unique packaging. Lots of stores have gift card tins. Get tins, paint or otherwise spiff them up, give gift. Bonus, personal thank you card noting their good work and your genuine appreciation. Actually, the card and the note are really important.
posted by theora55 at 1:33 PM on January 10, 2011


[DISCLOSURE: eBay pays for my health insurance.]

I wouldn't necessarily award it an abundance of creativity points. But I doubt there is any gift card issued by anyone that can be spent on a greater variety of things than an eBay gift card.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:58 PM on January 10, 2011

Best answer: About as far from gadgety as you can get, but this seems like fun: http://www.mixmygranola.com/
posted by lakeroon at 3:46 PM on January 10, 2011

I think an Amazon GC would be more thoughtful. I have several Starbucks and Barnes & Nobles cards; I don't drink coffee, there are no Starbucks (who take GC) near my house, and I'd rather shop Amazon or a local bookseller than BN, whose books are generally overpriced. If you want something unique, buy something unique to go with it, local food or crafts, chocolates, or whatnot.
posted by Margalo Epps at 4:25 PM on January 10, 2011

I second the "somewhere local" idea.
If I was an employee, I'd *love* to get a gift certificate for a meal at my favorite local restaurant. :)
posted by luckynerd at 5:25 PM on January 10, 2011

Response by poster: Sorry for my delay, I went out of town after taking care of this, but figured I would close the loop. My directs all happen to be young-at-heart, and I know their interests well, and we have a fun-loving office, so I gave them remote-controlled helicopters. I think it was my best boss-gift ever.

I also marked the three answers that gave me something unique precisely along the lines I was hoping: Chocri, MixMyGranola, and Kiva. Kiva almost won out but the helicopters were too cool (metal, stable as all get-out, etc.).

Chocri is stupid expensive (I like my chocolate, but don't care enough to make my own at that price), and granola is an absolute crock from a dietary perspective -- but the suggestions were spot-on relevant to my question.

Thank you!
posted by johnchristopher at 4:07 PM on January 24, 2011

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