since I am the giver and reciever of my Christmas bonus, perhaps my opinion is less qualified than those of you with several employees.
I say give the bonus strictly on legnth of service. the guy that's been there three years deserves more than the guy that hasn't been there two years yet. this assumes that you have a good crew and all are produtive.
jaclawn's criteria sounds reasonable except that if you follow the criteria and you have an employee that doesn't rate much of a bonus, then the obvious conclusion is you shoudda let him go long before bonus time. but if it works for you, then go for it.
If you are going to give a bonus based on an employee's productivity then you should also give them a review along with thier bonus. Make sure you write the review and have a signed copy to put in thier file. This will protect you and your employee.
If the Christmas bonus is a gift for the season then they should be equal for all employees ie. Turkey, Ham, or $$.
Bonus $$ for the holidays is very,very important.
We have found that by giving $100-$1000(based on yrs.
with company,and dedication to making the business
sucessfull)we get alot of return employees. If you
dont reward these guys for their efforts, they,ll
find someone that will. I dont know about your neck
of the woods, but around here, good workers are
difficult to fine,let alone keep.