Custom Gifts for the Chef in Your Life

gift guide for holiday chef

Shopping for the holiday chef? There’s a lot out there, and most of it will sit in the back of someone’s cabinet. To really show your appreciation (and make it useful), get them custom gifts for the kitchen. This chef’s-themed collection can include custom apparel items from along with more intimate presents like handwritten, family recipes. And it’s all created by you.

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Best Onboarding Practices to Turn New Hires into Long-lasting Employees

onboarding best practices

Despite being a time-consuming and sometimes exhaustive process, onboarding new employees is undoubtedly an exciting process. With all of the time that both you and your new employees invest in it, you want to make sure that you do it the best you can. There are certain onboarding practices that can make or break the way an employee will feel about working for your company from the start.

Since you’ve already hired them, you want to reinforce the idea that they made the right decision in choosing your company. They will be looking out for things like whether or not your company is organized and prepared in the onboarding process to validate their decision.

Before the start date

New hire desk preparation

Reach out beforehand to welcome your new employee and give them some essential info for their first day. This should include where to park, what the dress code is, what to do for lunch, where to meet you when they get in on their first day, and any other specific information you think would be valuable to them.

Set up their desk with the necessary computers so that they can begin getting comfortable when they arrive, and arrange for a few onboarding gifts to be ready for them when they arrive. A great onboarding gift package would include a company branded t-shirt, notebook, and pen, so that they can get right to work with their new company swag. This not only promotes brand loyalty, but it helps to make them feel like a part of the team!

On their first day

onboarding gifts for new employees

When new employees arrive on their first day, it is important to make the feel welcome and introduce them to everyone in the office. Welcome new hires on their first day with an itinerary for training, along with their onboarding gifts.

Rather than sitting and going through the employee handbook with them, give them some of the most important info about the company that they may not have received in their interview or in their pre-start email. This should include any general information about the workplace or specific company policies that are important for them to know.

Make it a point to answer any of their questions off the bat. Some offices such as Amazon even find it useful to assign each new hire a mentor for their first couple of months, that way they know just who to turn to if any questions come up.

The first 90 days

Onboarding one on one meeting

For the first 90 days, your new employee should participate in a training program specific to their job duties This should not only help them learn all of the essential information about your company, but should also provide them with the skills they will need for their position.

Throughout this process, they will be able to reference their mentor when any questions come up, and you as their hiring manager should also make yourself available for any questions they might have.

Set up a check-in meeting once a month with your new employee to answer any questions they have. This is your opportunity to identify and fill in any gaps in their training, as well as ask them questions and get their views on the position and the company. This also gives you the opportunity to make improvements on your end for the employee experience.

After a good time investment on both ends to get your new employees, you will be off to a great start. The key is to make sure that you and your staff connect with your new employee, integrate them into the company culture, and vice-versa. Properly onboarding your employees will ultimately lead the to becoming long-lasting employees who will invest their time back into your company and your team.

How to Throw a Company Holiday Party Your Employees Will Love

Employee holiday party

Company holiday parties are becoming more and more popular in the U.S. In fact, over 90 percent of companies—small and large—typically throw company holiday parties.

But holiday parties are about more than just celebrating. They promote company pride, they foster a sense of unity between employees, and they also improve employee-employer relationships. Getting all the employees together under the same roof every once in a while is an absolute necessity, and there’s generally no better time than the holidays.

But you already know that. In fact, if you’re reading this, it’s probably because it’s your turn to plan the company holiday party, and you need help.

Well, we have your back! If you’re trying to host the rockin’est holiday party your company has ever seen, here are 5 surefire ways to make it happen:

Drive attendance with raffles, prizes, and games

Employee holiday party photo booth

Traditionally, one of the things office holiday party organizers struggle with most is getting the whole company to attend. In fact, it’s the whole reason we’re writing this article.

If the prospect of good food, good drink, and good company still aren’t enough to motivate your employees to show up in force, nothing works better than a good old-fashioned holiday raffle.

If you’re going to have a raffle, try to give away gifts that your employees will actually want. Gift certificates to local restaurants, electronics, TV’s, gift cards—take this time to reward your employees for their time and dedication throughout the year. Plus, if you wait until the end of the night to start drawing the prizes, it serves as an incentive for people into staying until the end!

Schedule it for the right time

One of the trickiest parts of planning a company holiday party is figuring out scheduling. For people with children or larger families, getting a day off in the couple weeks leading up to the holidays can be more stressful than it’s worth. Selecting a date the week of the holidays also might pose a problem for people who have family in other regions of the world and need to travel to see them. And if you have your holiday party too early before the holidays, the point becomes convoluted and inauthentic.

Ideally, the perfect time to plan a company Christmas party is the first or second week of January. The hustle and stressful bustle of the holidays have subsided, a new year has begun, and everybody is ready to settle back into work mode. Now’s the perfect time to get everyone together in the same room to express thanks and gratitude for a job well done and a year well spent, and allow employees a little time to unwind and decompress.

It doesn’t have to be done the first week back, but just make sure you’re not planning it so far after the holidays that the holiday theme becomes dated or irrelevant. 

Keep the food and drinks simple

Eat drink and be merry holiday christmas party

You’ve heard the phrase “Eat, Drink, and be Merry” your entire life. It’s so old, believe it or not, that its origins are biblical. That’s what the holiday season is all about.

So, when it comes to throwing a holiday party, making good food and drink available is integral to creating merriment among your attendees! Depending on the size of your group, try to avoid complicated menus and tables, and instead opt for a more communal setting—platters, tables, etc. 

Choose an accessible venue

We contemplated whether or not to take an official stance on venues for holiday parties, but every business is different. If you’re a medium-sized or larger business, renting out an off-site venue—like a banquet hall or bar/restaurant—is probably ideal. It ensures that there will be enough space for everyone, and also helps to make organizing and cleaning up easier.

If you’re a smaller crew and just want to keep things a little more casual, an after-hours get together at a local venue, or even on company premises (depending on your insurance policies), may be perfect. 

One thing that should be explored beforehand, however, is transportation. If your party will take place off the premises, especially at a place where alcoholic beverages will be consumed, you should plan on getting everyone there—and back home—as safely as possible.

Rideshare services like Uber offer corporate accounts, where you can purchase a designated number of rides for your employees, and all they have to do is enter in a discount code before scheduling their ride. This will ensure that everyone gets to and from your party safely. 

Keep it all positive

Office holiday party

The holidays are that special time of year where we show how thankful we are for everything that went right. You made it through another wonderful year, and you couldn’t have done it without the help of your incredible team.

Whether you’re a company of five people or 50,000, the point of your holiday party is to put all of those people in the same room, show them your gratitude for a job well done, and wish everyone growth and prosperity in the New Year. That’s what it’s all about.

We hope you take these tips to heart, and if you have any questions (or need some custom Christmas apparel for the occasion!), don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

From our family to yours, Happy Holidays!

Our Favorite Ugly Christmas Sweater Designs 2016

Ugly Christmas Sweater designs

‘Tis the season of searching for the perfect gifts, listening to the same 40 Christmas songs on repeat, and going holiday parties that require your best Ugly Christmas Sweater. You could simply go to the store and pick one up off the racks, but by doing so you risk the embarrassment of showing up to the party in the same ugly sweater as the next guy.

A growing trend that we’ve noticed over the past few holiday seasons is people taking their ugly Christmas sweater designs into their own hands. You guessed it–we’re talking about custom-designed Ugly Christmas sweaters. While we’ve seen many different approaches over the years, each year brings with it a new wave of artwork that blows us away.

Without further ado, here are our top 6 Favorite Ugly Christmas Sweater Designs of 2016.

Classic Ugly Christmas Sweater

Ugly Christmas Sweater designs

One of our graphic designers created this new template for our studio this year, and it’s a classic we’ll always love. The “Happy Holidays” ugly Christmas Sweater is not only perfect for an ugly sweater party, but we actually think it’s a pretty good looking shirt to wear around in general this holiday season. You can customize it and make it your own in our design studio!

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Conservative Christmas

Ugly Christmas Sweater design template

This is another ugly Christmas sweater that one of our designers recently added to our design studio. Like the previous one, we would actually wear this sweater around all holiday season.

This takes a more subtle–might we say conservative–approach, yet still hits the mark on “ugly.” Pair this one with a nice pair of khakis, and you’ve got yourself a holiday party outfit that fits the bill for any Holiday party dress code.

His and Hers

His and Hers Naughty and Nice Christmas sweaters

Here we have another work of design studio art–one of our Project Specialists helped to create this pair. We love the way make such a catchy duo and play on the classic “naughty or nice.”

These would make the absolute perfect His and Hers sweaters for an ugly sweater holiday party. Whether you’re the one expecting coal in your stocking, or gifts, this set of ugly holiday sweaters were created for you.

Fa La Valhalla La

Viking style Ugly Christmas Sweater Design

Well Valhalla-la to you too! One of our fantastic customers designed this viking-style sweater, and is one of our all-time favorites. The clever designer of this work of art used mostly elements from our design studio, aside from the antler helmet.

We know that there are 30 people somewhere in the world wearing these this holiday season, and we know of about 190 more who would like to be **cough cough** our entire staff **cough cough**.

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Merry Chrithmith

Mike Tyson Ugly Chrithmith Sweater design

The customer who designed this work-of-art had it printed on a child’s crewneck. While we aren’t sure what child is running around right now in a Mike Tyson ugly Chrithmith sweater, we are sure of one thing—we all want to meet the guy who created it for him. When it comes to comparing ugly Christmas sweaters, this one will win every time, even if it has to bite a guy’s ear off.

Love any of these designs? Our Project Specialists are here to help you create your own custom Ugly Christmas Sweater. You can also visit our design studio to start creating your own!

Employee Gift Packages Your Staff Will Use and Love

Employee Holiday gift package ideas

As a business owner, you know that your employees put their hearts and souls into helping the business grow and move things forward. And with the Holiday Season in the works, it is the essential time to show them that you appreciate all of their hard work. No matter the size of your company, it can be difficult to put together employee gift packages.

When you have many employees with diverse backgrounds and interests, finding gifts that are simultaneously thoughtful, enticing, and unifying is that much more difficult. We know how difficult it can be—especially when you have a company to run—so we decided to take a little bit of stress off your shoulders and do some of the footwork for you.

Here are 4 Holiday Gift Ideas Your Employees Will Actually Use and Love. Happy Holidays! 

The “Picnic In The Park” Gift Set

Employee wine and cheese picnic gift

Are you tired of the winter doldrums yet? Christmas is the perfect time to remind your employees that spring—and all the beautiful things that come along with it—is just a few short months away.

The Picnic In The Park gift set includes a wooden cutting board, a four-piece cheese knife set, a bottle of Pinot Grigio, and a platter of meats and cheeses, perfect for a picnic in the park. And, of course, a custom-embroidered blanket is a perfect way to remind your employees how much you care. You can get all of this for a total around $80.64 per person.

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The “R&R” Gift Set

Employee Relaxation gift package

In the military, the term used to describe a soldier’s free time is “R&R.” It means Rest and Relaxation (also known as Rest and Recreation, or Rest and Recuperation). Your business isn’t necessarily the U.S. military, but your team works hard to keep things moving forward in the office. As a boss, the holidays are a perfect time to recognize and reward their efforts company-wide.

Statistics show that, especially in high-stress office environments, yoga and meditation can be incredibly helpful to increase morale, reduce stress, and improve productivity. This R&R gift set includes a plant-it-yourself bonsai tree, a yoga mat, a pair of Baoding balls (in a traditional silk-wrapped box!). It is everything your employees will need to relax and remain centered in and out of the office, all wrapped up in a duffle bag that includes your company logo.

It also includes a copy of LovingKindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, thought by many yogis the world over to be a classic and definitive exploration of the art of meditation. You can get this whole gift set for a total of approximately $54.79 per person.

“Master Chef” Gift Set

Employee Cooking Holiday Gift

Cooking is one of those things that everyone wants to learn more about, but seldom have the time, resources, or knowledge to make it happen. Everyone wants to know the secret to a solid crème brulee, what goes in to cooking the perfect steak, or how to make your own French fries from scratch, but actually setting time aside to do it is honestly more of a chore than anything.

This Master Chef gift set includes The Drunken Cookbook by Milton Crawford, which is an excellent resource for simple delicious recipes that are easy to execute while sober or after some bubbly. It’s super fun to read and, at the very least, is sure to get a couple laughs. It also includes How to Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food, which is a fairly cut-and-dry book (with illustrations!) from renowned chef Mark Bittman, and includes everything aspiring kitchen wizards need to know about cooking fundamentals.

It also includes a convenient cutting board and kitchen knife set, a custom company-branded apron, a bottle of smooth Pinot Nior, and a copy of famous chef Anthony Bourdain’s equally famous book, Kitchen Confidential—essential reading for anyone, not just amateur chefs. This whole gift set will cost about $87.36 a person.

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The “Night In” Gift Set

Employee night in gift pack

Sometimes, after a long week of work, all we want to do is stay in and enjoy a quiet evening to ourselves. Settle down on the couch with a nice movie, maybe with a drink or two, and just relax the night away.

The Night In gift set—our personal favorite on the list—includes an actual popcorn popping machine, seeds, assorted candies and chocolates, and a Netflix gift card to ensure there’s always something good to watch! To finish it off and tie in some corporate culture, embroidered fleece blankets are ideal—warm and cuddly on these cold winter evenings. Get this entire gift pack for somewhere around $77.66 per person.

We hope we’ve provided some inspiration for your employee gifts. If you love any of these custom gift packages for your employees, feel free to give us a call to help out with your custom embroidery or printing needs!