How to Show Appreciation for Student Employees This Holiday Season

By Elana Goodwin on December 1, 2017

While you can always recognize student employees’ efforts throughout the year and show your appreciation, with the holiday season approaching, it is especially time for you to start thinking of how you will show those student employees some appreciation.

There are many different ways you can show your student members of staff that you appreciate them and there is no right or wrong way to do so, as long as you put some thought into it and truly and meaningfully make them feel appreciated.

That being said, here are some ideas on how you can show appreciation for student employees this holiday season.

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In many workplaces, it has become custom for bosses to give their employees small gifts during the holiday season, or bonuses, and many employees will give each other and their boss gifts as well. Knowing your college student employees are likely on a budget, you can organize a Secret Santa for your staff to partake in with a set budget so everyone will feel like a valued member of the team and will not have to buy presents for every other coworker.

As the boss, however, you should be the one who gets each employee a gift, though it does not have to be a big thing. To avoid anyone feeling more or less appreciated than others, whatever gifts you give should be similar in type. For example, you can give each staff member a gift card, winter scarf, coffee mug, etc., to avoid anyone wishing they had received another person’s gift or feeling that they got the worst gift of the bunch.

Holiday Party

Show your appreciation for both your student employees and your other employees this holiday season by throwing a holiday party. Consider bringing in a karaoke machine, coming up with some fun games to play or having a friendly competition, giving away prizes, etc., to make your holiday party a fun one that everyone actually likes going to.

To ensure that your employees enjoy the party, ask for their input when planning; this shows you are truly doing this for them and will also allow you to make sure the day you are planning to have the party is a day when all can attend.

Not only will you planning this holiday party show your employees you appreciate them and want to reward them for their hard work, it will also help further build your staff’s camaraderie and create a sense of team spirit. You can do a gift grab at the party, exchange Secret Santa presents, or just provide a setting where your staff can relax, mingle, and be recognized for their efforts while enjoying food and drinks.


While not necessarily tangible, an important way to express appreciation for your student employees this holiday season is to show you recognize their contributions and value their efforts. You can do this by simply taking a few minutes during the holiday season while your student employee is working to pull them aside and thank them by acknowledging all that they do for your company.

If you plan ahead, you can write personalized holiday cards to each of your student employees, in which you recognize them as an important part of your team and show your appreciation for them. These cards can then be given along with a gift or just as a small token of appreciation, though your student employees would definitely prefer they come with a gift, food item, or a little something extra.


No college student employee will ever turn up their nose at free food — which makes it a great way to show your appreciation for your college workers this holiday season. You do not need to bring in home-baked goods if you are not much of a baker; even store-bought Christmas cookies, holiday candy, or other yummy eats will quickly be devoured by your student employees. Bagels, doughnuts, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and more will all go a long way with your employees when it comes to you showing you appreciate them as they will appreciate the food!

To make your show of appreciation with holiday food more personal, consider putting together an individual small basket or plate for each student employee filled with your choice of holiday snacks and giving it to them along with a card. This way, each student employee really feels like you appreciate them independently and they are guaranteed to get some food as your way of showing appreciation; if you put out food in a common area, it may be gone before all the student employees get a chance to grab some.

So when you are thinking about how you can show your gratefulness for your student employees this holiday season, keep these options in mind; your student employees will definitely appreciate these methods of appreciation.

By Elana Goodwin

Uloop Writer
Ohio State
I am currently serving as the Director/Managing Editor for Uloop News. I've been part of the Uloop family since 2013 and in my current role, I recruit writers, edit articles, manage interns, and lead our National Team, among other duties. When I'm not writing or editing, I love being outside, reading, and photography! I have a Bachelor's degree in English with a double-minor in Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice from The Ohio State University. If you have questions or just want to chat, don't hesitate to reach out! Email me at

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