Hichriso, I don't mind if all my winbaggedness just isn't useful, but I do have to react with a bit of surprise with you, when you come back with, almost like it's a grammar rhyme, "we only give items like that for service awards...(5yrs, 10yrs..etc in the business)".
Are you looking at ways to present something fresh and constructive for a specific context - or not? Are the gift giveouts so corporately defined that your thoughts are a mere firefly at the fireworks? Or can you only do so much?
Even if we understand you can only do so much, then I've come to no better understanding of what algebra to weed through, because I don't have the reward do's and don'ts (whens and whennots) documentation at your workplace in front of me.
It seems like you are allowing rigid restrictions to create a "paralysis through analysis" condition, which is not necessary. If you are in no position to provide something that is bound to be a differentiator against that 10-pound stack of certificates that got filled out for this employee that is not within OPAL range just yet, can you make a suggestion to your HR, to your manager or above? Can the employee be brought off-site to their favorite lunch or dinner place in company with one or two boss figures (no venue too major, since that is probably for 10yrs of service with the company, per Chapter 3, Verse 12). I would hate for your employee to have to follow the path of least fulfillment and figure out that life at your workplace is another thank you card for a long horizon of time, REGARDLESS of her performance and regardless of her boss who has caught on to something and is kind of belted to the chair. If it is going to mean making her stand out one feather heavier because it may matter enough, then why don't you have a meeting and congratulate her or bring her out to a meal and expense it or send a group email showcasing her or stage a meeting where a group of people all get their current recognition and she gets an extra edge to her vocalized "mention"?
Do any of those additional suggestions amount, perhaps, to an infraction? (That is deviating from what is acceptable?)
Understand that I wouldn't want you personally to feel the full onus of the situation. But if you really think this person is worth your time and participation in bringing about a different way to recognize them, then I would, in your shoes, take stock of how far I would get with my readings and whether the person was easily replaced and whether the person is willing to take in stride the barely noticeable difference in recognition for what they do (as it's become humdrum and she is not OPAL material yet, and that's just the way it is and other ideas are nice, but that's not for this context, as the person doesn't fit that reward equation).
My ranting is done, and I send with my regards my wish for the best outcome for all.