Tamara Simon's Weekly Blog
Business Insights for RTOs
from my favourite Movies, TV Shows and Books
(and some other bits and pieces)

Stuck For Staff Gift Ideas? 

Give a Gift which truly Makes A Difference

Have you ever been stuck for gift ideas for your staff members? 

Whether it’s for a birthday, Christmas or reward and recognition, it can often be difficult to come up with an original gift which the person will not only like but doesn’t have already.

So here’s 10 different gift ideas which will truly make a difference, won’t add clutter to their life and hopefully instead create a ‘pay it forward’ experience.

M.A.D. (Make A Difference) Insights for RTOs

In most workplaces and team environments, I see a ‘Birthday List’ posted somewhere where everyone can see and depending on the team member; this is a time for great joy or secrecy and dread.

Often you’ll hear whispers and see money and cards being passed discretely around the office; resulting in the mysterious call of ‘Can you please come in here for a moment ’ at either morning or afternoon tea time on the actual day, the Friday before or the Monday after.

And whilst it certainly is wonderful to see people wanting to make the day special for this person, there can be times, just like at Christmas when you open a family gift, when the forced smile and thank yous are top of the agenda because they now have another thing which they won’t use or will take up space.

My writing mentor is Andrew Griffiths so I couldn’t resist sharing the amazing recommendations from his Facebook page which was his response to the many people asking what he would like for his birthday.


  1. Ring someone and tell them you were thinking of them and you wanted them to know how much they mean to you.
  2. Send someone you really appreciate a hand written “thank you” note or card (I’ve had a few of late, I get a tear in my eye every time).
  3. Give a meaningful donation to a charity that means something significant to you (my charity of choice is Sleepy burrows wombat sanctuary so yes, I would love you to donate to them but this is actually about you not me).
  4. Stop and help someone somehow – especially if you haven’t got the time.
  5. Buy someone a book and give it to them with a lovely inscription explaining why this book is so perfect for them (and no, not one of my books).
  6. Send someone flowers just to say “I love you and appreciate you”.
  7. Stop for 10 glorious minutes and just be. Take it all in and be grateful for everything you have in your life.
  8. Forgive someone for something crappy that they did to you.
  9. Set yourself a ridiculously audacious and hairy dream for the year ahead.
  10. Give your children (human and four legged versions) an extra long and loving hug.

If everyone I know did one of these things for me as a gift for my birthday, and as a way to help me celebrate my birthday, I will remember this for a very long time! With love – Andrew

What amazing suggestions and as someone who is driven by service and helping people run a M.A.D.(Make A Difference) business, I felt this list of pure gold needed to be shared more openly.

What’s Next?

I encourage you to take a leaf out of Andrew Griffith’s page and not only embrace this gift list as your new birthday, Christmas and Reward and Recognition procedure; but please also share this list with your team, colleagues and anyone in your network.

This would then mean we can turn this idea into a ‘Pay it Forward’ type movement which becomes the norm in businesses and not the exception.

And here’s my final thought (which is the same as last week’s blog but I felt it was fitting and needed to be repeated).

I came across this quote a few years ago and it’s blown up on my office wall, just in case I ever lose my way. 

It not only sums me up to a T but it’s the quote which ends my M.A.D. book chapter; and is a fitting way to end this article.

            “I slept and dreamed that life was happiness.

            Then I awoke and found out that life was service

            I served and I found out that in service, happiness is found.”

            Rabindranath Tagore – Nobel Laureate 1913

PS:  If you have found some tips and inspiration from this blog (and I hope you have), I’d love you to please share it amongst your RTO contacts and on your social media platforms.

Want some help from Tamara – Australia’s Only Dedicated RTO Business Coach?

If you would like some help to take you from STUCK to SOLUTIONS… SIMPLY from someone who’s been there, done that in RTO Land, please check out my coaching services on my website


Or contact me direct:

0438 262 727 or tamara@takeanotherlook.com.au