Thanksgiving at Work: 9 ways to show employees you care

  • Oct 8, 2023

Thanksgiving is the one day a year that is all about gratitude.

Thanksgiving at work is about gratitude and togetherness, two factors that help create a positive environment. Gratitude at work is a powerful way to show your employees that you appreciate their hard work, recognize their accomplishments, and care about them as a person.

Trying any of these employee appreciation ideas at work encourages everyone to practice gratitude and show appreciation to team members. Plus, it's a great time to come together before the hectic holiday season. 

9 Thanksgiving employee appreciation ideas


1.   Have a Thanksgiving recipe contest. 

Over the next few weeks, create a "Chopped" Thanksgiving recipe competition and invite your employees to share healthy renditions of their favorite Thanksgiving recipes, supplying them with one ingredient they must use. Like our Thanksgiving Pumpkin Spice Tube or give them the whole Thanksgiving Spice Gift Set and guess which spice was used in the recipe! Take this up a notch by hosting a potluck featuring the winning recipes before the holiday. 

2.   Organize a flag football game.

Get everyone outdoors on a cool fall weekend for some flag football! Find a park nearby and take it over for the morning or afternoon. Cater in and fill up a Branded Tumbler with warm apple cider to keep them warm while having fun! Studies show that getting outside improves mood, mental health, and emotional well-being. Remember to bring the flags, and be sure to order some apple cider donuts to go along.


3.   Encourage volunteer time.


Studies also show that volunteering lowers depression, stress levels, and heart disease risk. Coordinate a corporate volunteer event. As the national month of gratitude, November is the perfect time to encourage volunteering. Dress your team in fall colors in our Comfort Wash Unisex Long-Sleeve-T-Shirt for the ultimate softness while offering themselves to help others.


4.   Offer both Wednesday and Friday as paid holidays.


There is always so much to do that day before Thanksgiving. Why not give employees an extra day off, or even half a day, so that they can start enjoying the holiday early and focus on their well-being? It's just another way of saying "thank you." With Wednesday and Friday off, they'll enjoy the extra-long break of "well-being days," while recharging; supply them with a health & wellness item like our Wellness Gift Set that includes a Handcrafted Soap Bar, Essential Oil, and a Vanilla Candle.


5.   Host a gratitude workshop.


Hire a guest speaker to lead a gratitude workshop. Not only is November National Gratitude Month, but a recent study revealed that employees having elevated levels of gratitude and mindfulness strongly correlated to high levels of well-being, engagement, and productivity and low-stress levels at work. Distribute packages of Copper Kettle Caramel Corn Snack Pack or Custom Dipped Sandwich Cookies treats while participating in the workshop.


6.   Coordinate a turkey trot.


Most cities across the U.S. have a Turkey Trot 5K that benefits a cause somewhere nearby. Incentivize your employees to get up early and break a sweat for charity before the feasting begins. Encourage your employees to form a team by offering to match the registration cost and enjoy great representation and positive brand awareness when suiting everyone in themed Custom Knit Full Cushion Crew Socks that will make them easy to spot while on the course!


7.   Create a "thank you" wall.  


Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks, right? Designate a wall where everyone can share what or who they are grateful for in and out of work. Place a stand next to the wall with Custom Printed Post-it® Notes in Holiday Themes and Shapes for posting their messages. Or give everyone in the office a Post-it® Custom Printed Flag+ Highlighter to leave "note flags of Thanks" on someone's desk anonymously. Recent studies have shown that expressing gratitude triggers a feel-good reaction in our brains, boosting happiness and strengthening our immune system. If you need even more reasons to start giving thanks at work, consider this: employee recognition delivers a clear ROI on metrics, including employee productivity and engagement.


8.   Learn about Native American Heritage Month 


November is also Native American Heritage Month, and learning about the historical context of this holiday with your team provides an opportunity to celebrate various cultural and ethnic backgrounds while also accomplishing your DEI goals. There are 5.2 million American Indians and Alaskan Natives in the U.S., and it's possible your team has employees with Native heritage. Encourage your employees to dig deeper into Native American history, culture, and disparities this Thanksgiving by giving out our Glacier National Park Adult Coloring Book and Postcards highlighting the areas of Native American Culture. This adult coloring book features eight postcards and four bookmarks to share expressions of thanks with family and friends.


9. Hold an Employee Appreciation Day 

Although Employee Appreciation Day is officially in March, many companies have employee appreciation events at different times of the year. Make one day this month a staff appreciation day where employees can choose their appreciation day from now through the end of the year and send them home early with a warm and cozy blanket like the Alpine Fleece Oversized Mink Sherpa Blanket, a deluxe 60"W x 72"H blanket that will wrap them up in warmth and gratitude.


Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what you're grateful for, including the employees you depend on. Showing gratitude is one of the simplest, most effective ways to boost office morale and promote a healthy workplace culture.

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