Christmas hampers more lavish this year, as employers woo staff


Employers are spending more on the traditional kerstpakket this year as lockdown measures begin to bite and companies put Christmas party cash into gifts instead.

Some seven million people will be be given a traditional Christmas hamper this year, continuing an upward trend. The estimated total turnover for this year is €200m, sector experts said.

‘It really is mad this year. We are up 20% on last year which was a bumper year as well,’ Christmas hamper producer Dick Brandwijk told broadcaster NOS.

Wilco Jansen of wholesaler Sligro said the increase in demand has been party caused by the reintroduction of working from home and the evening lockdown. ‘Companies see the need and effect of paying attention to staff,’ he said.

Jansen also said the current shortage of personnel is another reason for more lavish end-of-year presents, as employers do their best to keep staff and their expertise on board.

Another reason is that Christmas parties are not happening this year, leaving more money in the kitty for Christmas hampers. Employer generosity has been further encouraged by an increase in the amount they can spend without the employee being liable for tax.

The Christmas hamper is still very popular, Hitachi manager Rimmert van Luyn told the broadcaster. ‘It’s a sensitive subject, make no mistake about it,’ he said. ‘I once worked for a company where they wanted to abolish it. If you want a revolt, that is what you do.’

According to Jacqueline Roest of market leader Makro, which sells around 1.5 million hampers, nostalgia is another key ingredient of this year’s hamper. ‘There are lots of board games and they hark back to a safer time,’ she said.

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