In our region it is often the case, that you get a christmas present from your company to appreciate for the work one has done.

That was also the case in our company, but since the company has new owners, this "tradition" is gone.
Upon request the statement from the management is that they prefer socialising events instead of presents.
I understand that socialising events helps in team building and I'm fine with it. The event mostly consist of a dinner (paid by the company) and takes place in the free time. There is also no obligation to attend such an event, but if you want, you have to register.

What are the advantages/disadvantages from these two approaches from the view of the management? Are they excluding each other? I want to understand the decision better.

Regarding taxation in my region:

186 EUR per employee per year are non-taxable for non-monetary benefits
365 EUR per employee per year are non-taxable for corporate events

So both can be applied and are independent of each other, but they are different in height.

  • 4
    Can you tag which country this is in? If it's the UK I can give you a very specific reason why relating to tax allowances on festive perquisites.
    – user81330
    Jan 16, 2019 at 10:51
  • As @Bilkokuya noted please add country tag. In some countries presents up to certain value are not taxable while social events with catering are. Jan 16, 2019 at 11:20
  • @Bilkokuya: I don't really want disclose my exact location for now. It's Europe, but not UK. Instead I added some taxation rules to my question.
    – testing
    Jan 16, 2019 at 11:48

3 Answers 3


Of course a dinner is, usually, much cheaper than giving every single employee a gift. And I'd say that this is most likely the reason why this changed in your company.

But I believe that from an employee point of view, gifts (even better if it is money) is much better. In my current company, everyone received an envelope with 500€ each, 2 days of vacation and a dinner close to Christmas.

From most liked to less liked, based on reactions and comments: money, vacation and then dinner.

From the the company point of view, it could really be also for team building. It is a nice way to make everyone spend some time together (even though a lot of people don't like this kind of stuff), but I'd say it is secondary to the saving money aspect.

But it can also be viewed as a positive marketing, as companies that have this kind of team building events are, usually, seem as nice places to work. That is, of course, if the event was posted on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn and potential new employees can see how "cool" the company is.

  • I agree with you on that. But what impacts have this two types of "compensation" (if you can call it like that?) on employee motivation and so on. Team building can only reached through social events, that is pretty clear. Are there any other factors which can lead to this decision? Or is saving money + team building the only reason?
    – testing
    Jan 16, 2019 at 12:40
  • @testing I would even go as far as saying that the team building aspect is very secondary in this case. Based on the companies I've worked for, I'd say they don't care too much about this kind of stuff. It is, in the end of the day, another way of saving money.
    – undefined
    Jan 16, 2019 at 12:45
  • 2
    @GustavoMP My own personal point of view is that dinners aren't really team building. The early birds to the event tend to congregate in the same cliques that they maintain at work, the stragglers are put in front of people they'll rarely ever see again. Few people walk away with skills on how to work better together, or even the concept that they might need to work better together. I agree, it is to save money (a really nice dinner can be had under $30 in bulk) and cash is far more appreciated.
    – Edwin Buck
    Jan 16, 2019 at 17:46
  • @EdwinBuck agreed. As a personal anecdote, last year a company I've worked for rented a place where it's employees had lunch but also played volleyball, billiards, foam-stick battles... It was much more entertaining and we really had the chance to take part in teama ctivities with people from every team in the company. It was really nice.
    – undefined
    Jan 17, 2019 at 7:58

They're not mutually exclusive and it's possible to have a dinner and a small gift at the end. The value of the gift is usually low but of course your mileage will vary.

In my previous company, for example, we had a normal Christmas event at a local venue and we each got a box of goodies valued at around £50-100. At my current company the gift was much more modest, but they did fly out 300+ people to the same location and the food was excellent. So I'd rather do that again.

The advantage is that you get to see your colleagues in a relaxed setting and grease the social gears a bit. This better echoes the social spirit of Christmas rather than the Western materialistic approach to... sorry I nearly fell asleep there - but you get the idea.

Not my thing personally but these things are sometimes useful. Once a year is not a big deal, and you might even make friends. Plus, free drinks!

  • Often the presents are coupons, but as you said that is different. We also make some social events on our own, but not all employees are involved. But a flight? Sounds nice :)
    – testing
    Jan 16, 2019 at 11:54

It is up to the management to seek whatever way they see fit thier vision of the compagny and it staff.
Some compagnies prefer to give "exceptionnal" bonuses to all thier employees, some choose to offer paid vacations, etc ...
And some choose to stick with the payroll only as way to cut spending.

I suggest enjoying the events and the fun time spent with your co-workers if you can. If you didn't like it, you could always not attend.

It's a bummer to not have free stuff (as much I prefer money as I can use it where I really need). But, HEY ... it's better than nothing.

  • The events always have some expenses. If it's a company event a special dress code is common. Also you have to give up some free time and you have to organize the arrival and departure if you are planning to get some drinks. It also depends if you want to see some colleagues or not. I'm not saying the that is the case for me, but I saw this from other who didn't attend the events. Mostly there is always some kind of group formation, so you hang out with colleagues you already know very well. The question everyone has to answer on it's own is, is all this worth for a meal and some drinks?
    – testing
    Jan 16, 2019 at 12:00

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