updated 12/16/2010 2:15:37 PM ET 2010-12-16T19:15:37

Each year when the holidays rolled around, Rob Rohena used to give his employees Walmart gift certificates. But Rohena grew tired of giving a gift that helped line the pockets of the owners of a giant company. This year, Rohena is switching things up by giving his five employees gift certificates from his company's own clients.

"Our clients were giving us business, so I wanted to give business back to them," says Rohena, founder and chief executive of Goshen, Ind.-based interactive marketing agency Digital Integration Resources. The best part? Rohena barters for the gifts by deducting the amount of each certificate from his clients' bill. "It's a win for everybody," he says.

Selecting the perfect holiday gifts for employees is different for each small-business owner. Perhaps you don't have clients that offer great employee gifts. Maybe you want to shop around for a more affordable or personalized option.

What follows is a comprehensive list of gift ideas -- from food to tech gear to stress relievers -- that can match nearly any holiday budget, from as little as a few dollars up to $50:

The categories:


Melissa Bushell of Baked by Melissa with some of her mini cupcakes.

Photo Courtesy of Baked by Melissa

$10 and under: A $2.95 dark chocolate, hazelnut or milk chocolate Choc-O-Lait stick livens up a warm cup of milk when your employee stirs it in.

$25 and under:Good Karmal's Gift Box ($25) contains 10 delectable pieces of all natural caramel in flavors including vanilla, chocolate and sea salt. Each piece is wrapped in a "fortune" inscribed with a quote of wisdom.

$50 and under: Your employees will love Baked by Melissa's signature stuffed mini cupcakes. For $50 (shipping included) you get 50 cupcakes in a variety of flavors, including chocolate chip pancake and peanut butter and jelly.

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Business Logos

Peas for Prosperity's black-eye Peas in a Bag are packaged in eco-friendly, reusable gift bags.

Photo Courtesy of Peas for Prosperity

$10 and under: Your logo on a package of black-eyed peas ($10) from Peas for Prosperity helps spread the Southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck and prosperity in the coming year.

$25 and under: You can add your logo to the Over-the-Seat Car Organizer ($13), a functional gift that reduces car clutter and encourages employees to think of you whenever they get behind the wheel.

$50 and under: This Jupiter 8GB flash drive ($27) is a great gift for helping to keep your employees organized and efficient. They're brightly colored and include your logo.

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Basket O'Books' Movie Night gift basket contains a DVD, movie crosswords book and other treats.

Photo Courtesy of Basket O'Books

$10 and under: Do you have a lot of employees but a very limited budget? This metal business card holder can be engraved with initials, and you can't beat the price ($7.99).

$25 and under: The Custom Visa Gift Card lets you upload photos and add the recipient's name and a personal message. Gift card fee is $5.95; minimum $10 gift.

$50 and under: If you want your employees to feel really special, consider a personalized gift basket from Basket o' Books (starting at $40). Baskets contain gourmet items, gifts, DVDs, CDs, magazines, books, stationery items, games, puzzles and more.

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A designer chili pepper computer mouse from Pat Says Now.

Photo Courtesy of Pat Says Now

$10 and under: A stylish two-tone bamboo pencil/pen cup holder ($5.50) looks great on a desk. And since bamboo is a sustainable resource, the holder also demonstrates your commitment to the planet.

$25 and under: Your employees will be the envy of every office visitor with these cool computer mice ($19.99) in designs including a chili pepper, hotrod and an ace of spades.

$50 and under: The Silverware iPhone/iPod Stand ($27) is a character made from forks and spoons. Functional was never so fun.

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Business Use

The Toddy keeps touchscreens clean.

Photo Courtesy of Toddy Gear

$10 and under: Hidden inside these Seven-Year Pens ($7.50) is a jumbo ink cartridge that holds enough ink for -- you guessed it -- seven years.

$25 and under: What allows you to safely clean touch screens on phones and other devices? The Toddy ($14.95) does. It's a double-sided, microfiber cleaning cloth with an antimicrobial coating. They're handcrafted and come in fun colors.

$50 and under: For the employee who has everything (including an iPad): a personalized leather iPad case ($49.95). Choose from red or black leather, and you can add an engraved name.

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Give your employee a hand-drawn photo image from

Photo Courtesy of MyFaceIcons

$10 and under:iTunes Gift Certificates ($10) are great for music lovers of all ages.

$25 and under: No one wants to carry a wallet the size of a brick. Consider giving the Multi-Pocket Bi-fold wallet from Big Skinny Wallets ($23.95). It's made of thin material and features extra-wide pockets lined with a rubber backing to prevent your valuables from sliding out.

$50 and under: Is your employee obsessed with Twitter or Facebook? He or she will love these cartoon social media icons (Starting at $39). They're hand-drawn caricatures created from photos that your employees can then use for greeting cards, mobile phones, social media sites and more.

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Stress Relief

Magic Fishbowl fish require no care or feeding.

Photo Courtesy of Office Playground

$10 and under:Aromago Sticks offer an all-natural blend of essential oils that relieve stress and lift your spirits. At $4.99 for the "Revive Stick" package, the price is right.

$25 and under: Watching fish is supposed to be relaxing, but they don't live forever. The Magic Fish Bowl ($14.99) features two magically swimming fish that require no care.

$50 and under: Make your employee feel like a celebrity with a personal assistant from Rent A Smile. For $35, a consultant will help with 30 task requests, including travel arrangements, purchases and more.

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Gift Cards

With a Kiva Gift Card, employees can make a microloan to a struggling entrepreneur.

Photo Courtesy of Kiva

$10 and under: The Amazon Gift Card is perfect for the book lover (print or e-books). Choose any denomination up to $5,000.

$25 and under: Coffee-loving employees will love a $25 gift card from ROASTe, an online retailer offering 1,000 specialty coffees from more than 50 micro-roasters across the country.

$50 and under: When you buy a Kiva Gift Card (starting at $25) your employees can donate the money to any of the entrepreneurs on Kiva's list who are in need of a loan. When the loan is repaid, they can lend the money to another needy small-business owner or withdraw the money. It's the gift of opportunity.

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Adding a snapshot gives your stationary a personal touch.

Photo Courtesy of TinyPrints

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$10 and under: Taking notes is fun with this $9 Small Notebook, which features a personalized photo on the cover.

$25 and under: A custom Christmas ornament with text and photos ($12). Every year at Christmastime employees they will think of you.

$50 and under: These funky Signature Snapshot notecards feature a name and photo. A set of 25 costs $29.


A Jimmy Crystal New York USB Stick is useful and fashionable.

Photo Courtesy of Bloomingdale's

$10 and under: Give a gift that is both high-tech and functional. Cyber Clean ($7.99) is a gel that cleans keyboards or keypads.

$25 and under: If your employees need to use their iPhones while braving the winter elements, Dots iPhone gloves ($20) are ready for the challenge. Special fibers woven invisibly into the fingertips of these merino wool gloves allow you to navigate the touchscreen while also keeping your hands warm.

$50 and under: The Jimmy Crystal New York 2GB USB stick ($48) is covered in colored Swarovski crystals, making technology fashionable. 

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