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PF Friday Grab a Brew #50: Do you get a Christmas bonus or rely on a budget?

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Christmas bonuses for many people are a thing of the past as organizations struggle to keep afloat but many still do spread holiday cheer with their employees even if it is just by giving them a turkey or Christmas card.

If you are an employer and are wondering what to get employees for Christmas I’d say that you know your employees best and the only way to retain good people is to make them feel like they are part of the team and acknowledging their hard work.

That doesn’t always amount to dollar signs but it is a great way to give back. If you’ve ever watched undercover boss then you know how important it is to recognize those employees that go above and beyond for the organization.

On the flip side just this week WestJet went above and beyond for their customers by granting them their Christmas wish list which went viral on You Tube and all social media and certainly showed how listening and giving is better than receiving.

When the holidays roll around as an employer you should at the least recognize your employees but it’s up to you what approach you take and how much money is in the company budget.


Christmas bonus


I remember for years in the UK my employer would give us a holiday turkey to take home to our family which was great. We thought it was very kind of them considering they didn’t have to do anything at all. I have never expected nor do I still expect anything from my employer at Christmas time.

I am the type of guy who loves to give and never expects anything in return but a thank-you.

My wife on the other hand a past employer of hers would give each employee a $1000 bonus every year minus the taxes because it’s still considered an income so you have to pay tax on a Christmas bonus unless of course you are lucky to get a lump sum tax-free.

That huge Christmas bonus what many of her colleagues relied on come Christmas time to buy gifts and holiday treats, decorations and food for Christmas dinner.

Over the years the organization grew to the point where they devised Christmas bonus guidelines which was based on years of service. You can only imagine the disgruntled employees when they found out they no longer might not get their $1000 Christmas bonus.

This is just one reason why we should never keep all of our eggs in one basket nor should we rely on anyone or anything when it comes to our finances. We are the sole people in charge our path in life and how our financial wealth will either grow or sink.

The problem is when people get so used to be given something and it gets taken away they struggle to figure out how they will maintain the lifestyle or in this case Christmas traditions that they may have had over the years with that Christmas bonus.

I don’t know what the average Christmas bonus is for many people because it depends on where you work and if you even get one at all. My employer doesn’t give out Christmas bonuses rather we get a Presidents Choice Gift Card for $50 every year.

It’s not expected but it’s a nice way that my employer says Merry Christmas and thanks for being part of the team and it makes me proud to know that they think of us. I don’t care what they give us or how much just recognition of the holidays and being able to get a few days off to spend with my family is more than enough from my employer.

Some people don’t get any time off from work and have to work right through the holidays. They would give up any bonus just to be home sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace with their loved ones instead of having to work although many in emergency services have no choice.


Christmas budget


In our monthly budget you already know if you follow this blog that we have a Christmas budget section that we save for every month in our projected expenses account. I’ve likely babbled on about it many times in my blog posts but now I know that we should always set aside more than anticipated in this category.

Even though I like to break down the budget the best I can it’s impossible to know every expense you will make. The same rings true at Christmas time.

We save $150 for 2 Christmas exchange gifts and a toy donation plus anywhere from $30-$50 for the nieces and nephews which we struggle to stick to most years. We also failed to factor in any boxing day sales although that may just fall under miscellaneous.

In the Christmas budget you will also find money to purchase baking ingredients but we forgot to factor in decorative plates and other bits and bobs we pick up from the dollar store such as gift bags, wrapping paper, tape and holiday gift cards. Next year we will see an increase in this category for savings but without tracking our expenses we wouldn’t know whether or not we were saving enough or not.

Although this year we are finding that we are spending more than we have saved for over the year we are now able to look back and adjust our budget for the 2014 year.

We don’t rely on any Christmas bonuses like my wife had with her past employer, rather we rely on our own savings plan. There would be nothing worse than to not save any money because we rely on a Christmas bonus only to find out it’s been cancelled.

I’m betting most people take to the credit card and swipe the plastic just to get by and worry about the debt in the new year. This can be hard on the finances especially if the bill can’t be paid in full. That spiral of credit card and interest payments begin and essentially what we try to avoid here at Canadian Budget Binder.

We have learned about the pitfalls of a credit card but we have also learned what plastic points can do to give us more than we bargained for but only if we pay a credit card off each month.

I was reading an article today how one employer is giving their employees 120 seconds to shop til they drop at their local Costco which is there Christmas bonus from the employer.

A shopping spree sounds like a great way to end the year and give the employees something different rather than cash or the traditional ham or turkey. I could only imagine the look on their faces when their employer told them what they were getting but would this really inspire employee loyalty? Is this enough to motivate you as an employee all year-long?

Are company pensions, benefits and other perks more important to you?

To be honest these days anyone who has a job should be happy for that and many other reasons. I’m sure there are people waiting in line who would be willing to forgo any bonuses just to get a weekly pay cheque rather than relying on welfare or unemployment cheques.

I thought it was a brilliant idea and it certainly was nice to hear of an employer going above and beyond like that. The only pitfall is if employees become accustomed to getting these above and beyond Christmas bonuses or expensive gifts and expect them every year.

Should you write your employer a Christmas bonus thank you letter? Sure there is no reason why you can’t say thanks and certainly no one is going to think you are strange for doing it. Appreciation goes both ways in any relationship, even a work relationship.

Do you get a Christmas bonus or rely on a budget? 


Top recipe


Every day Food Bloggers from around the world pass by my other love the Free Recipe Depot Facebook page to share a daily recipe which I share with my fans.

This weeks Top Recipe comes from a blog called “Off the cutting board” where they share this amazing “Veggie Christmas Tree” display which I thought was absolutely amazing for any gathering over the holidays.

For the next few Grab a brew posts I will feature holiday recipes which are posted to spread some holiday cheer and good food with all of you.



Posts of the week


If you missed any CBB posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!


Weekly reads


Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read over the past week with all of you so please enjoy my top picks.


Well, that’s a wrap for this Friday’s grab a brew #50 so happy saving and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.



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