To make up for a hellish year of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, some employers plan to show their appreciation for employees with elaborate holiday gifts.

We’re seeing the average cost of the gifts fly up,” said Leo Friedman, CEO of Chicago-based corporate gifts company iPromo, whose clients include Pepsi, Kellogg and Salesforce. Friedman estimated that the volume of sales has surged by 650% compared to last year.

“We’re seeing more Apple AirPods … Amazon Echo Dots, unique products like self-heating mugs, and even Theraguns” bearing company logos, he said.

But are company-branded Theraguns and Apple products what most employees actually want from their employer? In a new HuffPost/YouGov survey of 1,000 registered U.S. voters, only 3% said that they would most like to get a physical gift like a tech gadget or a clothing item, only 8% answered that a gift card to a store or restaurant was the most wanted gift.

Most would simply prefer money over an elaborate holiday gift. Among voters, a cash bonus was overwhelmingly the preferred choice of holiday gift from an employer, across all age, race, gender and family income demographics.

But as the coronavirus-related recession continues to impact businesses and cause job losses, most workers have low expectations and don’t foresee getting a holiday gift at all: Only 10% of voters said they expected to get a gift from their employer this year.

When participants who are still employed were asked what kind of holiday gift they would most like to receive from their employer this year (within reason), some shared practical desires like “continued employment” and others had quirky requests, such as “ham” and a “fucking candle.”

See for yourself. Here’s a sample of the responses:

“A fruit basket” – 44-year-old man

“A gift certificate for a massage” – 48-year-old woman

“Branded blanket or sweatshirt, maybe a mug” – 32-year-old woman

“Continued employment in 2021” – 71-year-old man

“Food shelf donation made in my name” – 26-year-old man

“Gucci” – 29-year-old woman

“Ham” – 53-year-old man

“Hand sanitizer” – 31-year-old woman

“I would rather have more work than a gift” – 59-year-old woman

“Most likely some kind of gun accessories” – 47-year-old man

“Turkey and a small gift” – 41-year-old man

“Virus prevention supplies” – 53-year-old woman

“A trip to Alaska” – 29-year-old man

“Bitcoin, Ethereum, Crypto” – 58-year-old man

“A bonus, obviously” – 33-year-old man

“A wristwatch” – 54-year-old man

“Hazard pay” – 33-year-old woman

“My employer let me choose between olive oil or food bank donation. I said do the donation” – 40-year-old man

“A fucking candle” – 57-year-old man

“A hefty check” – 60-year-old woman

“Something personal that was chosen for me” – 57-year-old woman

Orignially published at Huffington Post.

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