As seen in HR Professional Magazine

The Holiday Gift Check Program unlocks the mystery of choosing a universally loved employee gift.


When it comes to selecting the best holiday gifts for your employees, the old adage “you can’t please everyone” comes to mind. A token of appreciation often ends up unappreciated in a desk drawer, while a gift card from a store may not suit the employee’s shopping taste. Holiday parties are a wonderful gesture but may feel more like an obligation than a reward in the middle of a busy holiday season. Cold, hard cash is one of the few gifts that everyone likes but is often perceived as it is described—a cold, hard gesture that took little thought to acquire and is taxable as well! Finding something personal and meaningful can be a challenge.

Most human resource professionals are seeking to solve their main problems associated with holiday corporate gifting: affordability, convenience and meaningful relevance.

Gifting in a Meaningful Way

The classic tale “A Christmas Carol” ends with the miser Ebenezer Scrooge gifting a beautiful turkey to the struggling Cratchit family, a touching, caring gesture that is at once generous, meaningful and appreciated. In days past, this was a common “go to” for employers, who would gift their employees with a frozen turkey for the holidays. The gesture is alive and well today, through a different, more modern delivery device known as the Holiday Gift Check Program.

Based in Downers Grove, Illinois just outside of Chicago, the Holiday Gift Check Program pioneered the turkey gift check idea in 1989. It offered a convenient way for companies to thank employees and customers with the gift of a turkey, without the hassle and expense of storing and delivering frozen ones.

Initially, the company was named after a well-known turkey brand and customers could only place orders through mail-in forms. As customers asked for more flexibility in the redemption of the checks, the company changed the former name to the Holiday Gift Check Program and made the checks available for redemption of any brand turkey, ham or festive side dishes for a holiday meal. The gift checks quickly spread in nationwide popularity as an easy, cost effective way for an employer to contribute meaningfully to a special holiday meal with family and friends.

Convenience is Key

Today the Holiday Gift Check Program continues to evolve to meet their customer’s needs. Last year, they added online ordering, with the flexibility to pay by credit card, invoice or wire transfer. They offer expedited and overnight shipping of the turkey gift checks to ensure delivery that is always on time for the holidays. The gift checks are also customizable online and can include a company name, the original thank you message, as well as the employee’s name.

New this year is an exciting redemption relationship with Honey Baked Ham, so the gift checks can be used at more than 400 of their stores nationwide.

Byron Duncan, Director of Sales at Honey Baked Ham, sees partnership with Holiday Gift Check Program as a way to take part in a nostalgic holiday tradition, while increasing exposure to their product. “Honey Baked Ham has always been a staple at meaningful family meals so it made perfect sense to partner with a company equally dedicated to helping people celebrate good food, friends and family,” he said.

As with any e-commerce product, customer service is key. For the Holiday Gift Check Program, all customer service is based in their corporate office in Illinois.

The gift checks are especially popular in industries where shift work keeps employees from their families on the holidays such as:

  • Manufacturing
  • Hospitality
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Trucking and Logistics
  • Retail

“The Holiday Gift Check Program is the perfect solution to my company’s needs during the holiday season. We are able to order gift checks and have them delivered directly to our customers,” said Dia of ReVo Marketing. “I have never encountered any issues and they are a great asset to any company that relies on quick, friendly service,” she said.

Gifting without Breaking the Bank

The continuing loyalty of the Holiday Gift Check Program’s customers is due to many things, but particularly the affordability, ease and excellent customer-focus. The company has taken steps to make giving as simple and as affordable as possible for the human resources director. Gift checks are:

  • A universal gift, appreciated by all and redeemable at thousands of supermarkets as well as Honey Baked Ham Cafés nationwide
  • Perfect for all employees to choose a turkey, ham or festive grocery item for a holiday meal
  • Available in amounts up to $50, with only a .90/ check fee; “leftover” checks can be refunded at full face value for no fee.
  • Customizable with the employee’s name, easily uploaded from a spreadsheet
  • Expedited and overnight shipping

Because of the program’s flexibility, the checks are ordered by the smallest company to Fortune 500 ones. Since its inception, the Holiday Gift Check Program has distributed more than six million gift checks to more than 300,000 companies throughout the United States. Canadian checks are also available.

The key to the success of the gift checks is that it taps into the trifecta of meaningful relevance, convenience and affordability for human resources departments. If you are interested in the Holiday Gift Check Program, it’s not too late. Place your order at or call 630.986.5081.