15 Cheap Holiday Bonuses People Have Received This Year

The holiday season is a time for giving and showing appreciation. So many companies give out holiday bonuses to their employees, but not all companies put effort into the bonuses they offer their employees. In an online thread, people shared some of the cheap and absolutely disappointing holiday bonuses they've ever received. 

1. Regular Paycheck

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Imagine receiving your regular paycheck in an envelope instead of a bonus during the company holiday party. One woman said, “I worked at a company, and the owner walked around during the Christmas party and gave people their paychecks in a fancy envelope. That way, clients would be thinking that the employees were getting bonuses.”

2. Be Happy You Have a Job

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Some companies forget that their employees are why their doors are still open by the year's end. One man said, “The statement of ‘be happy you have a job.' They had to find a new replacement after that. You could just say no bonus, but you had to be rude about it.” 

3. Donation to a Charity

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Donating money to charity during the holiday season is a nice gesture, but not if they're donating to the company's own non-profit organization. One man shared, “I got a letter from corporate letting me know that they had made a donation in my name to a charity. Specifically, to themselves (I work for a non-profit).” 

4. Restaurant Gift Certificate 

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Holiday bonuses should be about giving back to your employees. However, some managers will try to avoid spending extra money on employees during the holiday season. Someone commented, “Gift certificates at the restaurant I cooked in.” 

5. Cheap Treat Bag

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School teachers do so much throughout the year, but their bonuses don't reflect that. One teacher shared, “Last year, our school gave teachers a plastic bag with a mini candy, a mini hand sanitizer, and a single tea bag.” 

6. Five English Pounds

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Some holiday bonuses are downright disappointing. One man said, “Back in the 90s, I was working for the UK civil service. Everyone was offered five whole English pounds. You could accept it, and it would be contributed to the Xmas party fund, or not accept it and don't go.” 

7. Chocolate

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Chocolate is a great gift, but it isn't what anyone expects to receive as a holiday bonus from a company they've worked all year. Someone shared, “A large custom Hershey chocolate bar of the company logo.” 

8. Candy and The CEO's Book

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You can tell when a company didn't put a lot of thought into the Christmas bonus when it's just a bag of random stuff. An anonymous person shared, “A box of candy and beef jerky. It also contained a book written by the CEO of the company about how to be better at your job.” 

9. Company Pen and Planner

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Many companies give out company pens and planners as gifts to their staff and customers. No one would expect these to be their holiday bonus. One man said, “A ballpoint pen and cheap day planner with our corporate logo on it.” 

10. Voucher for Ham or Turkey

A company giving their staff free ham and turkey for Christmas would be a nice gesture if only they didn't opt for the cheapest option. One man commented, “I worked for a company that gave us $5 per year of service and a free turkey or ham from the local grocery store. The ham was canned, and the turkey was the size of a chicken.” 

11. Staff Holiday Party

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Many companies throw a staff holiday party at the end of the year, but they generally don't expect their staff to consider this a holiday bonus. One woman shared, “My old work started by giving Christmas cards stuffed with cash. Within ten years, the bonus was reduced to nothing. We ended up with a boring holiday party, two drink tickets, and a mashed potato bar.” 

12. Pen With Wrong Name

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You can tell a company doesn't prioritize giving a holiday bonus when they didn't ensure their cheap gift was properly made. One woman remarked, “A pen with the company's name on it. The name was spelled wrong.”

13. Swiss Miss


Many companies try not to spend much money on holiday bonuses, but giving staff a packet of hot chocolate is disappointing. One man recalled, “All of us got a bag of Swiss Miss inside a company Christmas hat from our group manager. Told us to make ourselves a hot chocolate in the breakroom during lunch.”

14. Free Cafeteria Lunch

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A company might offer staff a free cafeteria lunch on Christmas Day as a suitable bonus. Still, to the staff, it just seems cheap. One woman said, “The only thing that's different is they don't charge us for lunch in the cafeteria on Christmas Day.”

15. Water Bottle and Notebook

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Imagine receiving company memorabilia with the CEO's dog as a bonus for your hard work all year; that's definitely a cheap gift. Someone said, “A water bottle and padded notebook, each with a photo of the owner's dog on it.”


This post was inspired by this thread


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