The annual Christmas package given to employees in the Netherlands has undergone an update reflective of the times—they have become both more practical and more expensive.
In this inflationary era, the emphasis of the 2022 Christmas package, given to some 7.4 million employees in the Netherlands, has shifted from aesthetically pleasing and decorative items to ordinary foodstuffs and everyday articles like fleece blankets, socks and sweaters.
‘These are really usable foodstuffs that can, so to speak, go straight from the box into the kitchen cupboard or pantry,’ says Wilco Jansen, head of internal & external communications at Sligro, one of the country’s largest suppliers of Christmas hampers.
‘Functionality, that’s what it’s all about this year. Ordinary foodstuffs are expensive, and the employer can help the employees well in this way.’
Employers are also feeling the pinch, with the average price of a Christmas package rising from between €35 to €45 to €50 to €75 in recent years, according to Complementary Premiums & Gifts in Veenendaal.
The same goes for the popular gift card, with the value of vouchers increasing some 10% this year according to atcadeaubon.nl, the organisation behind some 200 types of vouchers.
With the average value of a Christmas hamper at €50, the trade association Promotional Products Professionals (PPP) estimates the holiday turnover to be €370 million for the entire industry.
Here to stay
Despite inflation and higher prices, many companies say the demand for Christmas packages and gift cards is actually growing.
‘That has to do with the situation on the labour market,’ says Sligro’s Jansen. ‘As an employer, you now very much stand out if you don’t give your staff a gift at Christmas. You can’t really do that.’
Complementair, a company that specialises in end-of-year gifts, says it’s also seeing a 9% increase in the number of packages sold this year. ‘There is a lot of demand for, for example, a Christmas box with A-brand foodstuffs,’ Complementair’s CEO Marriëtte van Wagensveld told NOS. ‘We now want promotional gifts that are made in Europe… [such as] socks with the company logo.’
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