The Do's and Don'ts of Holiday Gift Giving

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img giftCorporate gift-giving etiquette, especially around the holidays, is much different from personal gift-giving. What may be appropriate in your personal life may be out of bounds in the business world... don't confuse the two. You must remember that your personal business reputation and that of your company is at stake, and it is easy to tarnish all the hard work you've put into how others view you by making the mistake of giving something that YOU thought was funny.

thumbs upHoliday Gift Giving Do's

  • Select a gift that the recipient can use! The best gift is one that solves a need.
  • It's okay to have your logo on your gift, as long as it is on the smaller and understated size. Perhaps consider using only one color, or having it embossed so that it is a subtle reminder and not a glaring advertisement.
  • Send your gift early. A late arrival simply shows you are rushed and possibly unorganized, where an early arrival shows you put more dedicated time into the gift to ensure it's proper delivery.
  • Send the very best that you can afford.
  • Put yourself in your customer's shoes... how would YOU like to receive this gift?
  • If you are sending food, be mindful of food allergies and intolerances.
  • If you are sending food, ensure the geographical location of your recipient won't cause havoc to the type of food you are shipping, especially if they won't be around to receive it for some time.
  • Ensure you know and follow the IRS guidelines. Business gifts are tax deductible up to $25 per person for the tax year, with packaging, shipping and delivery not part of this total.
  • Pay attention to the images on your cards or gifts so that you reflect the joy of the season and not just Christmas.
  • Remember what you gave the person in the past so that you don't come out looking cheap this year with a gift of lesser value.

thumbs downHoliday Gift Giving Don'ts


  • Select something that you think is funny, unless you know for certain that EVERY recipient, AND those they work with will also think it's funny. Tread carefully!
  • Let what you think is a gift actually be an obnoxious advertisement for your company... a very quick turn off.
  • Give something that is junk! The last thing you want is for someone to open your gift, give a smirk, and throw it in the trash. Not only are they throwing away your money, they are also thinking to themselves "I guess that's how much I am valued as a customer". It's better not give something at all than to give anything that will just make you look bad.
  • Send the wrong size gift (clothing) to the client.
  • Send gifts to an organization that doesn't allow vendor gift exchange, instead consider making a charitable donation.
  • Send a Christmas gift when it should have been a Hanukkah gift.
  • Wait until the last minute and make bad selections which may incur rush fees.

Final Thought

Remember that your gift should thank and recognize the client for putting their trust in you, and not reflect the money they spent. If you look at clients only from a dollar amount, then you are actually saying that they will mean more and less to you as their orders change. Here is a shocker... their orders WILL change! Companies go through good times and bad, and if you are always recognizing the person and not the order, they will be with you for a much longer time.