As a small business owner, you realize just how important your employees have been to your company’s success. Since the holiday season is fast approaching, this is a perfect time to show your appreciation for their hard work. But like many business owners, you may be unsure as to the best ways to express your appreciation. If so, here are some great ideas you could implement during the holiday season to say thanks for another year of hard work.

Throw a Party

Let’s face it, everyone loves a party. Even if your business is very small, you can still throw a holiday party for your employees. Remember, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Whether you have it catered or it’s a potluck dinner, this will give everyone a chance to unwind, eat some tasty food, and bask in the glow of knowing their efforts are appreciated.

Hand Out Bonuses

If business has been good over the past year, you may want to surprise your employees with holiday bonuses. As you know, nothing makes employees happier than finding a little something extra in their paychecks, especially during the holidays. Even if you think the amount of the bonus is somewhat small, this will still let your employees know you want them to share in your financial success. If you do decide to hand out holiday bonuses, don’t wait until the last day before the holiday. Most people can use a little bit of extra cash around the holidays, for gifts, holiday food, travel expenses, etc. Hand out the bonuses early enough that your employees can use them to make their holidays more special.

Have a Fancy Lunch Catered

One of the ways you can honor your employees’ hard work and dedication is by having a fancy lunch catered in the office. This doesn’t have to be the one thing you do for employees during the holidays; it can just be a special day leading up to your main gift to employees. In fact, this could be a great time to hand out bonuses or other gifts. One afternoon, cover the conference table with a white tablecloth and fine china. Choose a caterer that will serve as well as bring food. Arrange for employees to choose foods that appeal to them and then, on the day, let them be treated to a lovely holiday feast with decadent and luxurious foods they might not get to enjoy on a regular basis. An event like this will certainly bring out the holiday cheer, help your team bond and show your employees how much you appreciate them.

Give Out Gift Cards

If you want to do something that won’t cost you too much money, yet will still express your appreciation, consider handing out gift cards to your employees over the holiday season. This usually goes over very well with most people, since there are gift cards available for practically anything. Possible ideas include giving out gift cards for local restaurants, movie theaters, retail stores, or prepaid debit cards that allow your employees to use the money for whatever they wish.

Plan a Family-Friendly Event

To help build a sense of family within your business, use the holiday season to plan a family-friendly event for your employees and their loved ones. For those employees who have children, don’t forget to have Santa stop by for a visit and perhaps a few photos with the kids. More and more businesses are opting for this type of event over the traditional office party.

Give Additional Time Off

If your business is like most others, you know things tend to start slowing down quite a bit the closer it gets to Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you think you can do it, you may want to make everyone’s day and give your employees some additional time away from the office over the holidays. For example, you may want to close down things a couple of days prior to Christmas or Thanksgiving, since this can give your employees extra time to shop, cook meals, or travel to their holiday destinations. Also, you may want to give them some extra time off around New Year’s Day.

Offer Work from Home Opportunities

In today’s business world, many employees relish the opportunity to work from home. If your business is one that is capable of making this adjustment, giving your employees the option to work from home during the holiday season will likely be met with tremendous gratitude. Since children will be out of school and many of your employees may be having family members come in for visits over the holidays, being able to work from home will likely make their lives much easier.

Shine the Social Media Spotlight

Like practically all businesses today, your small business probably has a presence on social media. If so, turn some of your employees into online celebrities by showcasing them on social media. In the spirit of the season, try placing the spotlight on one employee each day over the holidays, where you emphasize their achievements, why they are important to your business, and perhaps even let everyone in on a hidden talent your employee possesses. Naturally, it’s best to get each employee’s permission before implementing this particular plan.

Talk to Your Employees

Last but not least, taking the time to talk to your employees over the holiday season will go a long way toward showing them just how much you care about them not only as employees but as human beings. Along with talking to them about their personal lives, use the holidays to also find out about their career goals, what they’d like to accomplish in the year ahead, and how you can help make their dreams a reality. These chats don’t have to be formal sit-down affairs. Just spend more time with your employees and let the conversation flow naturally. Whether you use only one of these ideas or multiple ones over the holidays, you will have employees who work hard, stay loyal to your company, and appreciate working for a boss whose they know cares about them and their families.