The dos and don'ts of corporate Christmas gift giving

Sylvia Pennington

A biro with your business name engraved, a monogrammed beach towel or a magnum of French bubbles tied up with tinsel… Giving a gift at Christmas is a way of gently reminding clients that you appreciate their business and look forward to working with them in the New Year.

With December 25 just around the corner, it’s time to think about what sort of little – or large – something would be an appropriate seasonal offering for those whose business you value.

A bit of forethought should see you selecting gifts that are compatible with your image, don’t blow the budget or make you look cheap, and are received with a smile rather than a groan.

Begin by making a list of the clients who’ve spent up big this year, or sent significant business your way, Homegrown Gifts owner Amy de Putron advises.

How much you decide to spend will likely depend on the size of your enterprise and the number of clients you’ve decided make the cut.

Taking the time to know a little about them before you hit the shops or head online will ensure your dollars are well spent.

Take notes about the recipient and their preferences so you can choose products you think will be truly appreciated.

Leonie Henzell, managing director of upmarket gifts outlet Bockers and Pony, says a thoughtful gift will be remembered regardless of whether it costs 20 dollars or 100 dollars.

“Making sure the item is of premium quality is a great start, and I always recommend that you take notes about the recipient and their preferences so you can choose products you think will be truly appreciated,” Henzell says.

Tempted to plaster your business name and logo over a batch of water bottles, mouse mats or golf umbrellas so it stays under your client’s nose long after the plum pudding’s been eaten?

While it may seem like a good way of getting maximum mileage for your marketing buck, branded promotional items aren’t to everyone’s taste and could well end up consigned to the circular file, de Putron warns.

By contrast, a quality item that can be shared and enjoyed or displayed and reused is more likely to leave a lasting impression – as is a warm personal message on the accompanying card.

Think you’ve still got time up your sleeve, with more than 30 shopping days until Christmas?

Better get a hustle on or you’ll miss your chance to play Santa, de Putron warns.

“A lot of companies will start to wrap things up from the beginning of December and there may not be anyone in the office to accept the delivery in the week or two before Christmas, so start thinking about what you want to send and who to in November,” she says.

Sylvia Pennington

Sylvia Pennington is a Brisbane-based freelance journalist who writes about small business, information technology and personal finance.

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