Illustration/Chris Murphy

Illustration/Chris Murphy

Undoubtedly, the holidays are all about giving. That means now is the perfect time to really reward your employees for all the good work they’ve done throughout the year. Just as gifts to customers help a business build customer loyalty, rewards to employees help them stay motivated and focused during one of the busiest times of the year. “Employees are preoccupied and increasingly busy during the holidays, so your personal appreciation toward them can really help their motivation during this hurried time of year – and morale building rewards don’t have to be expensive says Alex Hiam, author of Streetwise Motivating and Rewarding Employees New and Better Ways to Inspire Your People. Following are some ways Hiam says you can help show your appreciation – and reduce your employees’ stress – this holiday season.

Let employees do the giving

Allow employees to give company gifts to their favorite clients. If you don’t have promotional items that are currently worthy for holiday gifts, you’ll be surprised what’s available to carry your logo. Ask your employees for suggestions on what they would feel good about giving to their customers this year.

Give a day off to do charitable work

You can help your employees get into the holiday spirit and feel better about themselves and the community. Let them take a day to help out in a soup kitchen or help the Red Cross serve their holiday meal. They’ll return to work feeling like they really participated in the spirit of the season.

Give gifts from the heart

Holiday rewards don’t have to cost money. Throw a party for your employees’ children. Set aside a few hours one afternoon for cake, party favors, decorations, and pizza/

Reduce stress

Your employees’ moods and productivity will increase if you can reduce stress levels. If you don’t already have one in your salon, hire a massage therapist to give foot and neck massages. An afternoon pedicure and manicure also make a big difference in reducing stress. And especially important during the holidays, be sure to share administrative information freely, since poor communication is a major source of employee stress.

Make holiday wishes come true

Create a holiday season suggestion system and have a drawing. The winner receives the budget to make an improvement in the workplace. Give them the latitude to do what they need in order to incorporate ideas that improve their work processes and surroundings.

We like to play lots of music during the holidays. We also book our appointments every other hour instead of every hour. My newer clients tend to stress me out more than my older clients, so I crack more jokes with them. I do take on new clients during the holidays, but I always make sure to tell my older ones to book two or three months in advance if they’d like to get an appointment during this time.

Tol Avery

Glamour Salon

Southfield, Mich.

We always plan a Christmas party, and we also like to decorate the salon. December is actually one big party, and I get invited to lots of festivities. This time, we’re going to do each other’s hair and nails during our in-house party. These get together help us bond. My biggest stress is what gifts to get for my clients. I like to give them things that are not related to the beauty industry such as mugs full of candy, wine openers, and oyster shuckers.

Leona Parker

Changes Salon

Colorado Springs, Colo.


For any business, the best time of the year is Christmas and New Year’s. But with it comes the holiday stress. You’re trying to take care of your regular clientele, not to mention last minute appointments if that weren’t enough in Puerto Rico, many couples decide to get married during Christmas, so you have to work around a very tight schedule to fit everyone in. To relieve my stress, I try not to schedule full sets back to back. Instead, I’ll schedule a full set, then a fill pedicure, manicure and so on. I usually have five nail dryers, so my clients move along and no one has to wait to dry their nails. Having small coffee breaks also help me relieve stress, and I have an air diffuser and a tape playing soft, relaxing music for my clients and myself. At the end of the day, I go home and take a hot bath and apply shower gel energizing seeds and a body lotion and I get a good massage from head to toe.

Leticia Gonzalez

Letty’s Unas y Aligo Mas…

Lares, Puerto Rico

I work out of a home-based salon and am the only employee. I usually plan ahead to have some time off and I let all my customers know beforehand that I will be away. I’ve never been gone for more than a week but I find that I have to put in extra hours both before the vacation and after to try to fit everyone in. What has helped me considerably is finding another home-based nail tech who I feel is skilled at doing acrylic nails. I refer my clients to her when I can’t fit them into my schedule. The majority of my clients book their appointments ahead so she is great to have in case I’m sick or a client’s schedule and mine conflict. Also, when I’m at home, I turn the phone off. The voice mail response lets my clients know their calls will be handled promptly upon my return. I also make sure to leave. Staying close to home with a home-based business leaves the temptation to do a little paper work or reorganize those products on the shelves. Closing the door helps, but getting away is a real break! Hiking is another great stress buster. And lastly, don’t call the office to check in to see how things are going.

Barbara Lindberg

Oval Innovations Salon

Ontario, Canada

I always have a party for my nail technicians. I try to have as many perks as I can during the holidays. I’ll bring in cookies and we’ll do each other’s’ nails. I have a massage therapist and she gives us massages in between clients so we won’t get so tense. I also like to decorate the salon; it helps boost everyone’s spirits.

Barbara Byrd Eve

The Regency

Lebanon, Ohio

As far as my clients go, I try to make sure that everyone has an appointment right through the end of January. I normally book my standing clients three months in advance, but in the holiday season, this is especially crucial! I have a very large clientele and if I forget someone, or if they book appointment to appointment, a lot of times I find that I can’t get them in somewhere. Hence my standing book schedule. It relieves plenty of unnecessary stress. Not only does it relieve stress knowing that all of your clients are taken care of right through the holidays, it also ensures a nice, full schedule. For my own sanity, I plan lots of get-togethers with my best friend, who’s the owner of the salon where I work. We like to go out for lunches on Mondays and just chat about all the stuff that we don’t get to during our crazy week. I really have to say the she is actually my biggest stress reliever!

Melanie D. Monteiro


South Attleboro, Mass.

We usually take half day off on New Year’s and we take the day after Thanksgiving off. We also close earlier twice a week. We get very busy and I can’t work on every customer, so I guarantee services to my clients who go with one of my nail techs, if they’re not satisfied with the service. I’ll fix what they’re not happy with.

Gina Koop

Nail by Gina

Fresno, Calif.

During the holidays, I make sure to take a few days off, usually after Thanksgiving and New Year’s. It’s important to take a breather. The salon I work at also has a party for employees and their spouses. We’ll bring in some tables and have a sit down dinner complete with games and presents – usually gag gifts – from each other. It’s actually a lot of here during the holidays.

Aimee Ginsberg

Salon 544

San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Around Thanksgiving, I post a note for our clients letting them know that they will have to reschedule their appointments if they fall on a holiday and any special events and changed appointments need to be scheduled far in advance. However, most of the time our clients already know of any upcoming parties so they let us know. We also have a Christmas party and I give my nail techs a certificate that they can redeem for a weeks’ worth of free booth rent the following year.

Mary Webster

Star Nails

Fayetteville, N.C.

I prepare for the holidays about a month and a half before Thanksgiving. I try to move all my clients around before the holidays. Those who have an appointment on a holiday are switched to another day. Of course, my regular clients have first dibs. I also give my clients cards with the appointments they have scheduled for the rest of the year. That way if they want to reschedule for another time, they can let me know in advance.

Annette Lewis

Annette’s Exotic Nailz

Gilroy, Calif.

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