Choosing holiday food gifts for employees

Everyone loves the gift of food for the holidays

Everyone loves the gift of food for the holidays

You would think that giving food to employees and coworkers for the holidays would be a no-brainer. Everyone likes to eat! But with potential food allergies, different religious observances, and other dietary restrictions, things can get pretty complicated. Don?t abandon food gifts just yet, however.

Armed with the following information, you will be able to pick out delicious edibles with ease, and win your way into your employees? hearts straight through their tummies once again. 

Crowd Pleasers

The first and simplest trick to buying food for the office is to go for variety. Suzie has a nut allergy (so much for that prize maple-walnut fudge), Aaron is an Orthodox Jew (no chocolate covered bacon for him), and Jake is diabetic (sugar-free candy it is). Good luck appealing to that crowd, right? This is where an assortment of goodies is the way to go.

Many vendors offer variety packs, such as various kinds of popcorn and pretzels, an assortment of toffees with and without nuts, or a selection of meats and cheeses that may cater to the varying tastes and requirements within the workplace. The one thing you don?t want is to get ?something for everyone? and accidentally leave key employees out. A good assortment, keeping your particular staff?s restrictions in mind, is a good way to ensure everyone feels appreciated. 


Getting Personal

This should go without saying, but when selecting a gift it is important to know a bit about who you are buying for. Is your assistant vegan? Do you know? Have you ever asked? Or perhaps he is lactose intolerant or just really doesn?t like chocolate. Little things like this become a big deal when choosing an edible gift.

And then, too, when addressing the holidays, are you certain your employee celebrates the same holidays you do? An overtly Christmassy gift, when your recipient is Muslim, Buddhist, or even atheist, may not go over as you intend. If you are afraid to ask or feel the question would be uncouth, it is perfectly acceptable to give a winter holiday gift on a non-specific day with an all-encompassing ?happy holidays? message. This is, after all, why the phrase was invented.

If you do, however, go to the trouble to secure a gift to commemorate your employee?s specific religious observance, make sure to go that extra mile and read up a little bit about the holiday so as not to step on any boundaries or unintentionally gift them with a taboo item. 

Beware the Big and Perishable

While it may be tempting to buy great baskets of fruit and huge boxes of meats and cheeses, refrain. At least a little. Goodies which are somewhat compartmentalized in their packaging and have a long storage life are better, especially if you are unsure of your employees? tastes.

The receptionist may have just gone on a diet and will only eat one small bit of your gift a day. Or your accountant may be able to eat the fruit but not the dairy laden cheese in the beautiful basket you gave her. It may be embarrassing for them to tell you directly they do not like or cannot use a part of your present to them, so it?s important to make re-gifting or storing the items easy and as guilt-free as possible. After all, you are trying to brighten your employees? lives, not burden them with more pears than they will ever know what to do with.

Bigger is not always better, and food they have to eat before it goes bad in a week might end up wasted, no matter how much they appreciate it.