Swag and Gift Ideas for Virtual Events + Holidays

September 22, 2020

Swag and Gift Ideas for Virtual Events + Holidays

Virtual events have been the thing in 2020. How do you pick swag that has to be shipped to everyone’s homes (and maybe a few to business addresses!)? 

We have ideas. Of course we do!

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Budget. 

We hear lots of customers complain about the cost of drop shipping packages to multiple locations. We agree. It’s not cheap. But, what was your budget for in person events? How much was the booth? Storage at the convention center? Travel + Hotel + food costs for your staff?

When you understand the power of connection with your team or audience, swag boxes are a bargain.

Virtual Event Swag Ideas:

  1. Get a sponsor for your swag box, just like for a live event. Helps address your budget.
  2. Establish a hashtag. Build a tribe asking attendees to tweet or post on IG. Or use posts as a way to give away prizes. Example: First 25 to post with the hashtag get a phone sanitizer in addition to the swag box. This would be a great item to co-sponsor: lots of branding space!
  3. Consider a guest. One client told us about hiring an artist who did drawings of each of the speakers live. How about a yoga instructor? A guest DJ for Zoom karaoke? 
  4. Order extra swag/swag sets. If you have 250 attendees you’re drop shipping swag boxes to, in 2020, it’s highly suggested to order extras and have shipped to you. If something gets lost, you have the option to ship another box out. Ask us about 3 boxes that went missing on our last two projects for clients. Oh, can we tell you stories!  

First Impressions AKA  Pre-Event Swag

Earlier in the year Microsoft sent swag boxes to early registrants. Granted, I thought the bento box was just weird. You’re already home, wouldn’t you want to use your own real plates and utensils??!! 

I digress. 

Think about that. First impressions. Is there a theme for your event? Use it to build a swag box to impress. Think about the environment. Are the items useful?  

FUN FACT: There’s a UK company shipping WHISKEY in plastic bags. Not available for US shipment. Yes, we checked.

You need to build excitement. And potentially use swag that will be incorporated as part of the event. (Attention is a serious challenge. Zoom fatigue is a real thing.)

Doing a pre-event package builds excitement (and enthusiasm!). How many unboxing videos have you seen floating around social media? 

Consider a label on the box that instructs them NOT to open until the day of the event for even more fun!  IDEA: Mission Impossible/Mission Possible theme. 

Think about swag with something other than your logo. Yes. We know. Tough sell to the owner or your manager. BUT, if you’re going to do custom printed face masks for example, instead of your logo, how about printing something fun like “2020: Kiss My Mask”? Or there’s a desk top corn hole game we offer -- you could print with something like “Toss Away Your Cares." Or "We Got You Covered!” on an umbrella. 

IDEA Generator: Fun lists of celebrated holidays/events should get your creative juices flowing. 

Example: October 19 is Clean Out Your Virtual Desktop Day. This was started in Canada by the Personal Computer Museum in 2010. Could be fun to screen share as you clean up your desk top. Hmmm, not sharing my screen! The number of tabs I have open will itself tell you I really need to participate in this!


  1. Games like branded playing cards, desk top corn hole, puzzles for fun factor.
  2. Custom printed water bottle or tumbler. We recently did this cool tumbler for a TEDx event. (Consider something that’s spill proof if the cat is allowed in your workspace!)
  3. Headphones/earbuds. Obviously an item that will be used! One of our clients said they preferred wired, especially when on Zoom. Do you find better connection as opposed to wireless? We’ve not tested this. 
  4. Journal or notebook. Do something unique like this promotional notebook that’s printed on the edges, front and back, too! Or my favorite journal feature: perforated pages
  5. An umbrella. Because you’ve got to leave your house sooner or later! (kidding) This is the inverted, also called the inside out umbrella. If you’ve never used one, believe me, it’s a good thing! See note above about using something other than your logo -- umbrellas would be perfect to go with “We Got You Covered!”


Ok, so you didn’t make the pre-swag delivery deadline. 

TIP: We’re recommending to allow DOUBLE whatever stated transit times for UPS/FedEx shipments especially in 4th quarter. Both delivery giants have discontinued service guarantees. Why? One word: volume. 

What this means: even if you pay for overnight service and it doesn’t arrive on time, you can’t get a refund. And your swag isn’t there. We are still waiting for resolution for lost packages for clients from months ago. To their credit, both clients ordered extras and were able to ship without missing a beat!

Let’s say you didn’t make the deadline to have swag arrive prior to the day of your virtual event. Go for the after party. With heavy emphasis on THANK YOU!


  1. Thank you note. Hand written scores bonus points, no matter how bad your penmanship.
  2. Email event recordings, recaps, etc.
  3. Get feedback. You can’t get better if you don’t ask for data!
  4. Send swag. Yes, after the event. One of our newest fave gift boxes includes US made snacks + a gift, if you choose, that will stay behind long after the snacks are gone. It’s a great way to say thank you!

Many of the ideas mentioned could work for employees as well as customers now or for a virtual event, or dare we say, a traditional conference or trade show? The gift box mentioned above would be perfect for customer appreciation gifts, too. Or these would be a great boost for employee morale.

(Insider tip: consider sending gifts in November for Thanksgiving (that's politically correct!) or waiting until January. Avoid the December rush at all costs this year!)

Last thought? If you don’t see what you have in mind on our website, reach out. Ask. If it’s made (and from a supplier we trust), we can likely get it for you. 007 is part of my mobile number for a reason! 


Blogger: Vickie, the owner. The one with 007 as part of her mobile number. :) Email me at Vickie at PROMOrx dot com 


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