I agree. If you don't spend any time or money your options are limited to paper certificates. Folks often confuse non-monetary awards. There is always a cost. The difference is that cash is not offered. Medals, plaques, coins, logo merchandise, and even certificates cost something. The best solution is for managers to pay out of their pockets. This will be even more appreciated by employees. Buy lunch, coffee, ice cream, or some other treat to show appreciation. There are books like 101Ways to Recognize Employees which are full of ideas.