I could not resist. I asked her if she sees her relationship with her employees as mutual or hierarchical. She asked what I meant. I explained that a paycheck is a mutual agreement. You do this, I do that. You work, I pay you. It ought to be an even exchange. In that sense, working for someone is mutual and not hierarchical as slavemaster over slave.
But Christmas, end of year thank you notes, are symbolic of an overall relationship and the value that you ascribe to the person. To give them a paycheck at the time of expressing your overall appreciation for that person is the equivalent of saying thank you as part of an obligation you have to each other.
The card is a gift, right? So do not make it a transaction. It feels like you are just throwing a thank you on top of what you are supposed to do. It feels like a “supposed to” instead of a carefully thought out action.
I invited her to intentionally create a relational aspect to her paying her employees instead of a transactional exchange.