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Worst Christmas gifts ever given by employers

Hard working Brits have snubbed an additional days holiday in favour of shopping vouchers as the ideal Christmas gift to receive from their bosses, a survey has revealed.

Proving that the British work ethic is alive and well, two fifths (40%) of the nation’s workforce would warmly welcome gift vouchers from their employers this festive season, compared to only 31% keen for an extra lie in.

Sadly, for over 42% of workers there’s not even a lump of coal waiting for them at their desks, with the poll of over 7,000 Brits revealing they receive no yuletide reward at all from their miserly managers.

The research commissioned by Argos for Business – a leading provider of merchandise, incentive and motivation solutions for businesses and organisations – has also exposed some of the biggest gifting gaffes made by employers during the festive period.

Vegetable peelers, cat food (for a worker with no cat), a banana, a frozen chicken, a live turkey, and even a ‘dance off’, ala David Brent, have been some of the most misguided ‘rewards’ offered by the UK’s employers.

One man was also surprised to receive a hairdressing voucher, presumably to help him look his best ahead of the office Christmas bash – even though he’s bald.

After shopping vouchers, Brits’ desired Christmas list includes luxury gifts, such as a food hamper or iPad (15.3%) and experience days like a pampering spa session or taking a supercar for a spin (5.1%).

For those who are treated by their employer though, 37.1% said it made them feel more motivated when heading back to the office after the holidays, with around two thirds (66.4%) saying that this motivation lasted into the New Year and beyond.  

Commenting on the results of the survey, Danny Clenaghan, Managing Director at Argos for Business, said: “While some of the gifts given by employers seem strange, it just goes to show that there can be a lack of understanding from bosses as to what will be the most effective motivator for their staff. It could also be the case that employers simply don’t have the knowledge of what is available by way of rewards and incentives in order to make the right choice to suit the needs of their workforce, and their business.

“These results not only demonstrate Britain’s strong work ethic, but the vital role that staff rewards play in helping employees to feel thanked for a job well done, over and above their salary.”

A round-up of some of the worst Christmas gifts – as received by Britain’s workers from their bosses:

  • 12 bags of dog food
  • Five extra minutes on the tea break
  • A cup of soup
  • An out of date Easter egg
  • Free crisps
  • A packet of planting seeds
  • Royal Jelly
  • Tumble dryer freshening sheets


Regions least likely to receive a gift from their employer:

  1. South East (20.5%)
  2. Midlands (16.7%)
  3. North West (14.3%)
  4. North East (11.4%)
  5. London (11.3%)
  6. Scotland (10%)
  7. South West (8.5%)
  8. Wales (3.9%)
  9. Northern Ireland (3.4%)


About the author  

Argos for Business (AfB) is a leading provider of merchandise, incentive and motivation solutions for businesses and organisations throughout the UK.  Working across a range of sectors including FMCG, financial services, promotional agencies, education, healthcare and social housing, AfB has a range of market leading propositions that help clients to maximise performance, increase sales and make the most of their budgets. For more information about Argos for Business, please visit


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