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Ohio State University Extension


Holiday Expenditure Guidance

-per Dean Cathann A. Kress’ office, CFAES

We are pleased to be able to be back in-person for our college-wide holiday open houses this year. In addition, we will have treats and a holiday giveaway available at the OSU Extension annual conference for the statewide employees who may not be able to attend one of the college open houses.

Departments/units are permitted to schedule holiday events in addition to the college-wide gatherings, but events must adhere to the university expenditure policy and other related policies. The current policy can be viewed at Ohio State Expenditure Policy, and employee recognition guidance can be found at Employee Appreciation Guidance.

Listed below are the college guiding principles for planning holiday events or gifts. Seek assistance or clarification from department CCM or the CFAES Service Center regarding the applicable university policy requirements.

Event costs:

  • The university allows an annual limit of $75/per person for employee recognition and appreciation.
  • The annual $75 limit applies collectively to all recognition and appreciation expenses coordinated by both college and department/unit levels.
  • If a department/unit is planning multiple employee recognition and appreciation events throughout the year, then holiday event expenditures may need minimized to stay within the collective annual $75/per person limit.
  • The college-wide open houses and giveaway will consume approximately $15/per person of the university’s annual $75 allowance.
  • Department/unit per person costs must be all-inclusive of both direct and ancillary event costs (e.g. food and beverage, paper products, decorations – see the employee appreciation guidance).

Leaders of departments/units with various locations should apply reasonable judgment to determine if multiple holiday events are warranted and necessary. If so, then each event should be comparable in planning and costs.

Locations/times: It’s recommended that departments/units schedule holiday events in college-owned facilities/buildings and during normal business hours.

Alcohol: No alcohol is permitted to be purchased with university funds. Alcohol may not be made available for employee consumption during normal university business hours.

Holiday event OR gift: Departments/units should not provide both a holiday event and gift to employees. Only one option is permitted (event or gift). Care should be taken whenever giving gifts to employees due to IRS tax implications. Note: OSU Extension advises against gifts because of the tax implications. If gifts are given, it is advisable to keep the cost under $20 per person.

Attendees: Attendees should only include current employees. The university requires non-employees such as spouses, family members, retirees, and/or previous employees to be pre-approved by college SFO (Terry Snoddy). If SFO pre-approval is granted, then the associated costs for non-university attendees must be absorbed into the annual $75/per person limit.​​​​​​