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best corporate gifts for employees

10 Reasons Why Employees Prefer a Ham vs. Gift Baskets

Certain holidays just aren’t complete without particular foods. Put it down to a childhood of experiencing the same meals at significant times of the year, or attribute your connection between food and festivities to a cultural expectation. The fact remains there’s now a relationship between ham and holidays.

In this post, we’re good to dial in on one food in particular: the holiday ham!

Some say that ham for Easter was, like many traditions today, a matter of practicality and convenience. By the time spring rolled around, pigs slaughtered in the fall were cured and ready for a family table. An entire ham was big enough to serve an extended family feast.

Others say that Christmas or Yule ham was, like many rituals and traditions at the time, a primarily pagan practice. At the time, Germanic peoples would offer this food as a token of gratitude to Freyr, a deity connected to the boar. Even after a religious conversion, these fundamental traditions remained in families unwilling to give up the celebration of a time in the Northern and Western hemispheres, where the seasons changed.

Whatever the origin, the link between holiday festivities and this hearty protein continues. Ham has made its way to tables across North America as a meal worthy of celebration, an indicator of special occasions, and a signal to families to gather ‘round for a meal that will last the evening.

10 Reasons Why Your Employees Prefer a Ham Over a Gift Basket

The good news is that you, as an employer, can take advantage of this nostalgic connection and holiday tradition by giving your employees exactly what they need — and even prefer. Instead of the tired old go-to gift basket, a holiday ham can convey several subtle and non-verbal indications of gratitude and appreciation for your employees.

The best part is that your employees will actually prefer a holiday ham over a gift basket because its’ popularity works against gift baskets. Your employees’ tables and holiday trees may be stuffed with humdrum gift baskets already. But when they’re preparing a feast for their family, it’s your gift of holiday ham that they can reach for right away.

This, along with 10 more reasons, are why your employees actually prefer receiving a holiday ham over a gift basket.

1) Your Employees Can Choose Their Own Brands

When you choose a ham gift certificate from PFR for your employees, you’re putting the power of choice and flexibility in the hands of your employees.

Not only will they enjoy a gift they can actually use and need for the holidays right away, your employees are not limited to just one brand — the brand, for example, that you chose for them if you were to give them a holiday ham in person.

Instead, they can redeem a PFR ham gift certificate for a brand they’re familiar with or a new brand they want to try because ham gift certificates are accepted everywhere on any brand. Contrast this with the pre-chosen brands of items already included in a gift basket, and you’ll see why a holiday ham gift certificate offers your employees the freedom of choice.

2) They Can Easily Order Online

If the ham brand and retailer accept online orders, your employees can opt to purchase their holiday ham online. Planning for a family feast around the holidays can be a stressful exercise calling for patience and an eye for detail.

Being able to order online and either pick-up in-store or have a holiday ham delivered can expedite your employee’s “Massive List of Things To Do,” on a day when chaos already reigns supreme. Think about how grateful they will be when their doorbell rings and their ham is right there, or they can skip the supermarket lines and just dart in and out with their chosen ham.

While gift baskets are a “nice to have,” holiday hams are a “must have.” Your employees will appreciate the ease of receiving their staple holiday item with no extra hassle.

3) They Can Defer Redemption

Some families and holiday gatherings believe in a different kind of tradition: turkeys. For these individuals, a holiday table just isn’t the same without a holiday turkey, complete with all the fixings, stuffing, sauce, and a variety of potluck side dishes.

For families and gatherings that relate ham to Eastern or other special occasions throughout the year, ham gift certificates offer more than brand flexibility. They also provide the chance to defer redemption to another time in the year.

With a gift basket, your employees will need to consume their edible items right away. More often than not, once the basket is open, they’ll forget about the myriad bits and bobs of food items. Holiday hams, however, maintain their freshness because your employee doesn’t have to purchase or redeem until they’re ready.

4) A Ham Celebrates the Whole Family

When you’re giving a gift as an employer, you have to think about what message the gift conveys to the recipient. Your clients, for example, will interpret a gift in a very different way than your employees.

For your employees, you want to convey a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the work they put in throughout the year. Your gift is more than a reward for performance — the message it should send is that you value them as a human being and you care for their well-being.

That’s the message a holiday ham conveys. While gift baskets are a nice token of appreciation, they don’t say anything personal about your intentions. Holiday hams are “items” but the traditions behind a ham involve the entire family getting together around a table. Your gift is central to that experience, and that is something your employees will always remember and feel good about.

5) Their Gift Won’t Spoil

Edible items in gift baskets are always packaged individually in fancy and often decadent wrapping. But how often have you personally received a gift basket and tasted items that are stale? There’s no way to guarantee the freshness of edible items within a gift basket because it’s not in your hands.

If your employee doesn’t consume their items, they may open that pack of holiday chocolate and mint bark, for example, only to realize that it’s not as fresh or delicious at a later date.

6) Your Employees Don’t Have to Worry About Storing a Ham

Gift baskets can be small, but, more often than not, they have a wide top that becomes progressively bigger. Through the holiday season, these baskets accumulate and take up significant physical space. It’s hard enough to pack all your gifts away without trying to fit yet another voluminous gift basket under the tree. And though they’re made to delight, no gift basket is ever dainty enough to be a stocking stuffer.

Your employees will never have to worry about storing a holiday ham when you gift them a PFR ham gift certificate. These compact and creative certificates can be offered in a single envelope or tucked away in a thoughtful greeting card.

The best part is that they don’t have to find a place to store their ham until the “big day.” If their freezers and fridges are already full of holiday food prep, the ham gift certificate allows your employees to simply shop the day they’re ready to bring home the bacon — so to speak.

7) There’s No Need To Compare

Hams are curiously democratic and yet decadent all at the same time. On the one hand, your gift of holiday hams to all your employees will equalize everyone. All your employees will know and understand that you consider them equally valuable.

On the other hand, a holiday ham is dressed and packaged in such a way that bringing one home feels like a real indulgence and the undeniable mark of a festive occasion. With gift baskets, employees are prone to comparing not just the size and potential value but the individual gifts inside.

Unfortunately, you don’t have control over who gets what, and this could spark some envy among your employees. Holiday hams as employee gifts eliminates the “wish I got that” syndrome.

8) Hams Present A Decreased Risk of Allergies

Sugared nuts, candied popcorn, and decadent chocolate crafted in kitchens with peanuts and other tree nuts: These items so traditional of a gift basket also present significant risks for your recipients.

An increasing number of individuals, especially children, experience lifelong allergies to these common ingredients. Instead of risking your employees’ health or inadvertently presenting these tempting but dangerous snacks to your employees’ children, opt for a gift that very few people have an allergy to: hams. The ingredients used to cure ham or infuse it with flavor are simple ones like salt or nitrate. There are no additives or preservatives that could flare up an allergic reaction, so this gift option is safer than gift basket snacks.

9) Holiday Hams Have a High Utility

As an employer, if you receive gift baskets annually from your clients or friends, you know that it takes another six months before all the contents are totally consumed. You may not even get around to actually opening your gift basket until much later in the year — even next year!

Holiday hams have a high chance of being used because of their festive and special status. If it doesn’t grace your employee’s table for the winter holidays, then it will certainly make an appearance for Easter. And if that’s not something your employee celebrates, hams are frequent guests for special occasions or family dinners throughout the year. One way or another, your employees are sure to use the gift of a ham.

10) They Don’t Have to “Share the Spoils!”

Often, the content of gift baskets are individually wrapped, which means that your employee may be able to share them with family and friends. But what if they don’t want to share the spoils? They may feel obligated to distribute the contents of a gift basket rather than being able to enjoy all of the items themselves.

Instead of giving away their items piecemeal, or even experiencing the individual gifts one at a time, a holiday ham remains entirely one’s own. Certainly, employees will include other family members in the enjoyment of this gift, but there’s a tradition here around sharing rather than being obligated to give it away.


Across the United States, ham continues to be a staple holiday meal inclusion. If your employees are up to going ham for the holidays, this type of meat presents a significant advantage: It can be safely stored and enjoyed for much longer than other types of holiday options. According to the guidelines set and tested by the USDA, a whole uncut country ham, for example, can be stored safely for up to 1 year and can be frozen indefinitely.

For these 10 reasons and so many more, hams can be your employees’ preferred choice for a gift this season, far more valuable and practical than gift baskets. Share with your employees the gift of nutritious, delicious, and healthy food when you gift a PFR ham gift certificate this season.