Jump directly to the Content Jump directly to the Content

Top Ten Christmas Gift Ideas for Pastors and Staff

Let these gift ideas inspire you to go the extra mile and show your staff that you care.
Top Ten Christmas Gift Ideas for Pastors and Staff
Image: drogatnev | Getty

Under normal circumstances, most organizations (secular and religious alike) give gifts to their staff at Christmas or year’s end. However, recent circumstances have been anything but normal!

In the last twenty-one months, your people have pivoted, learned new skills, stretched themselves, changed their mindset, and in many cases, completely revamped the way they do ministry. They have gone above and beyond, and then above again, all while worrying about their own families, finances, and health.

Now, on top of all that, we are hearing about a “Great Resignation.” People are leaving their jobs, their ministries, and sometimes even their calling, in droves. If you have not yet experienced this on your staff team, you should assume that at least some of them are wrestling with this.

Your employees are weary: a little appreciation goes a long way.

So, if you have not thought about it yet, I highly recommend you lay aside Starbucks gift cards and branded mugs and put some extra thought into staff gifts this year. Here are our picks for the Top Ten Staff Gifts for 2021, in true countdown fashion.

#10. Quality Branded Items

Why We Like It: It’s easy, but still can have that “wow” factor. Again, we stress quality and unique items … not another water bottle, flash drive, or rope strap backpack.

Ideas: monogrammed Columbia or North Face Jackets, plush throws, and portable phone chargers.

#9. Amazon Gift Card

Why We Like It: Although it’s not personal, it is super practical. Staff can purchase just about anything from Amazon, even food delivery!

#8. Door Dash Gift Card

Why We Like It: Some people may consider food delivery a luxury, so they have never tried it. Giving this special treat means they don’t have to think about what to make for dinner again, especially during the busy Christmas season.

#7. Noise Cancelling Headphones

Why We Like It: At work or at home, what is not to love?!

#6. Apple AirPods

Why We Like It: Everyone needs them … even if they already have a pair! This gift is not just for Apple users, as they will pair with any bluetooth enabled device.

#5. Gadgets or Tech – It’s not just for men

Why We Like It: It’s out of the norm and, honestly, it is easy to regift if tech is not their cup of tea.

Ideas: Smartphone UV Sanitizer, Gadget Charging Station, High Quality Webcam, Tile Tracker, Ring Doorbell for their office and, for cold weather locations, Touchscreen gloves.

#4. Etsy – It’s not just for women

Why We Like It: Items on Etsy are unique and support small businesses.

Top picks: wooden maps of the states to track travel, family personalized gifts, engraved and custom EVERYTHING!

#3. Subscription Boxes

Why We Like It: It’s personalized and it is the gift that keeps on giving.

Ideas: BeSpoke Post, Man Crates, Mix Box for Bakers, CrateJoy for Crafters, Candy Club, etc.

#2. Personalized Gifts

Why We Like It: It shows you truly KNOW your staff and that you put effort into picking out the perfect gift for them. Set a budget per staff person (or budget tiers based on roles) and have each direct supervisor be the one to pick out the gift, since they know their people the best.

#1. Paid week off between Christmas & New Year’s

Why We Like It:

  • Does not cost you additional budget dollars.
  • Most of your congregation will be out (or focusing on family) anyway, so things will be slow.
  • Since all staff are off, they won’t return to find huge amounts of emails and stuff piling up.


  • Use the phrase “as much as your job allows.”
  • Have a scaled back service during that time.
    • Enlist outside or high level volunteers to lead worship or preach and make it a family friendly service with little or no childcare. You can even mix up how you normally do service.
  • Communicate with your congregation well in advance that this is a gift you are offering to your staff, so they know why offices are closed.
  • Have all staff add the same out-of-office email reply and even a message on their voicemail.
  • If needed, ask deacons, elders, or board members to cover an emergency number during the time so that no one slips through the cracks.

Whatever you choose for your staff gift(s) this year, remember, don’t wait until the last minute. Part of your gift to your staff is the time you take to make it special and personal. Learn about your people, involve others, and have fun with it!

Don’t Forget About Taxes!

Make sure that your church is processing and handling staff gifts correctly! Consult these free articles from Church Law & Tax to avoid costly tax penalties.

Tiffany Henning is a veteran in Church & Ministry HR with over 20 years of combined experience, earning her SPHR and CRPC. In 2016, Tiffany founded HR Ministry Solutions, a faith-based non-profit specifically created to simplify HR compliance and staff pain points for churches and ministries. She serves as the Chief People Person of HR Ministry Solutions overseeing a team of church HR experts whose purpose is to help churches and ministries create an organization that is healthy and sustainable.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

Lilly Endowment

ChurchSalary is made possible through funding from the Lilly Endowment Inc. As part of Lilly's "National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders," ChurchSalary—and our parent, Church Law & Tax—is committed to helping church leaders and pastors develop an atmosphere of healthy financial stewardship, especially in the area of church staff compensation.