5 of the Most Bizarre Holiday Gifts Ever Given by Companies

December 15, 2015

Most companies want to do something nice for their employees during the holidays.

And most succeed.

The holiday party, some time off, the Secret Santa; no matter how small, any of those things are a nice way to build community within your office and show your workers you truly care about them. Most of the time, from a talent perspective, it helps you retain your people and re-invigorates them.

That said, there are some failures. Of course, many of you know the fictional story of Clark Griswold and the Jelly of the Month club, but there are some real life stories of some truly disappointing holiday gifts handed out by companies.

1. The one company that strongly believed in fiscal responsibility

For one holiday party, a company threw a luncheon for its workers and gave them all mugs.

When they got back to their desks, they had an envelope waiting for them. Inside? A bill for their share of the luncheon and the mug.

2. The one boss who gave the gift of himself

Another one involving a luncheon, although this time the company actually paid for it (in fairness, it was at the company cafeteria, but hey). However, what really made it special was what the boss also handed out: Two $1 bills with his official signature on them and a bronze coin with a picture of himself on it.

Who wouldn’t want a coin with your boss’s picture on it for the holidays? And I can only imagine how much those signed bills are worth (my prediction: $2).

3. The one where a company proved a picture is worth 1,000 words (most of which are of the four-letter variety)

For 15 years, workers at one particular military base got a turkey each year for the holidays. The trend persisted, despite three different contractors actually employing the workers at the base.

However, it didn’t quite last past the fourth contractor. Once the new company got the contract, they wanted to keep the tradition alive, but without the part of actually paying money for the turkeys. So, instead of giving away an actual turkey for the holidays, they gave a photocopy of one.

I suppose it is the thought that counts.

4. The one gift that kept on giving (to the person who gave it)

Gift cards are one of the most popular and most well liked presents received during the holidays. Well, except for in this case.

One dentist decided to give all of his employees a $30 gift certificate. Nice, right? Well, here’s the catch: It was a gift certificate to a fancy clothes store his wife owned, where everything was significantly more expensive than $30.

5. The one company that believed the early bird got the party

Holiday parties after work are one thing. Sure, you have to spend more time at your office, but it's generally a decent night out and a chance to build a relationship with the people you spend so much time with.

But have you ever heard of a holiday party before work? Well, at one bookstore, employees were encouraged to come in at 8 a.m. – an hour before they generally started work – for bagels and the chance to mingle with their employees.

Shockingly, few employees actually showed up. Maybe it had something to do with having to wake up earlier to go to a party where you can’t drink and have a full day of work looming over you.

Have you ever received a company holiday gift so bizarre it rivals one on this list? We want to hear about it! Tweet it to us at @HireOnLinkedIn.

*Image from Christmas Vacation

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