An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Holiday Gift Giving

rebecca-headshot-roundThis article is by Rebecca Livermore. Rebecca is the content manager here at and the owner of Professional Content Creation. She invites you to connect with her on LinkedIn.

Some people love giving gifts, and others not so much. If you’re one of the entrepreneurs that loves to give gifts, read this article and then be sure you also leave your tips in the comments section below. If you, on the other hand, struggle with gift giving, read on for this week’s roundup post, An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Holiday Gift Giving.

Why Give Gifts and Who to Give them To

If you're a reluctant gift giver, a great way to get over your reluctance is to understand the why behind giving. Very simply, giving gifts is a way to show appreciation, whether that be to a client, employees, or vendors. (If you don't appreciate these people, you have a bigger issue than what to give as gifts during the holiday season!)

If you give gifts that are something the recipient will use regularly, it will keep you top of mind because they'll think of you each time they use the gift. For instance, I once received coffee beans, a coffee grinder, and a French press coffee maker. Each day when I made my morning coffee, I thought of the giver.

Now who should you consider giving gifts to? Anyone that makes your company great - employees, key service providers, and some clients.

How to Give Better Gifts

The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to holiday gift giving is to focus more on the recipient of the gift than yourself. A no-brainer, right? While this should be a no-brainer, there are times when people give gifts for wrong reasons, such as to impress people. Remember, when you give gifts, it's not about you. It's about the recipient.

One-Size Fits All - Or Does It?

When it comes to one-size fits all gifts, the only gift that fits is cash. This of course only applies to employees and others that do regular work for you as contractors, and not clients. (Cash gifts to clients can be seen as an attempt to buy business.)

Apart from cash, in some cases, giving the same gift to all team members can backfire. For example, let's say that you give a bottle of wine to all of your employees and vendors, but some of them don't like wine, are recovering alcoholics, or don't drink for religious reasons. If you do want to give the same gift to everyone, a popular option is an Amazon gift card, since you can buy just about anything you want from Amazon.

Gift Cards - Pros and Cons

Speaking of gift cards, this article on published on Business Insider includes a whole list of gift card options.

Now it's true that gift cards can seem impersonal, and to some degree they are. But assuming that you give a gift card to a place that most people will enjoy -- or even better to a place that the specific recipient will enjoy - they're an appreciated gift.

I already mentioned Amazon, which is my go-to place for gift cards, since people can get what they want. Here are some other ones that I've personally received from bosses and clients that I appreciated:

• Movie theater
• Restaurants
• Spa

The most surprising one was when a client that lived in another state bought me a gift card to my favorite small live theater, located just a half a mile from my home. How did she even know about the theater? She asked my daughter for ideas.

Bonus tip: If you have a connection to a close friend or family member of the gift recipient, ask them for ideas.

For more gift card ideas, be sure to check out this list provided by Business Insider. It has some great ideas.

More Unique than Gift Cards

If you want to give something more unique than gift cards (or fruit cake), the article 4 Unique Business Holiday Gift Ideas That Outdo Fruitcake has some great ideas.

Handwritten Cards

My favorite of the suggestions is giving handwritten cards. I had one client that regularly gave me sizable bonuses after big launches, as well as for Christmas. Bonuses are always appreciated, but the thing that made the gifts she sent were the handwritten cards that accompanied the checks she sent. What she wrote went far beyond "Thanks for all your help." Her words were specific and meaningful. The checks were appreciated and of course cashed and spent on. . . who knows what - but I still, years later, have the handwritten cards in my desk drawer.

Bonus: other than your time, handwritten cards cost essentially nothing.

Time Off

Employees often also appreciate a bit of extra time off around the holidays, particularly right before a day when the office will be closed. At my previous place of employment, before almost every holiday, around two hours before the normal closing time, an announcement came over the loudspeaker telling us to all go home early. It's funny because this happened often enough that if you'd worked there for any length of time, the announcement wasn't really a surprise -- and yet in spite of that, it made everyone really happy.

For additional ideas, be sure to read the rest of the article here.

Specific Gift Ideas for Clients, Coaches, Consultants and Employees

This video published on Business Insider is worth watching if you want some specific gift ideas. Here are a few of them:

  • Treat House has custom treats that, if desired, can be gluten free, dairy free, and nut free. You can get 20% off your first order.
  • Cedar Ridge American Whiskey Explorer Set
  • Avion Tequila, bottles can be engraved
  • Sugarfina, luxury candy. You can customize them for your business

To get additional ideas, be sure to watch the entire video.

Gift Ideas for Book Lovers

Since we're big on reading here at, I'd be remiss if I didn't include the article, 16 gifts for the bookworm in your life that was published on Business Insider.

There are some great ideas for book lovers, so I recommend that you read the entire article. However, one thing to keep in mind is the reading preferences of the gift recipient. Some of the gifts are great for people who like reading old-fashioned print books, some are great for those who prefer e-Books such as Kindle, and others are good for those who prefer audio books.

And by the way, while you're at it, why not pick up at least one book off of Patrick's top-10 books for entrepreneurs list? You can check that out here:

The Top 10 Books for Entrepreneurs


Warnings About Holiday Gift Giving

Not to put a damper on things, but here are just a couple of warnings about gift giving.

  • Don't be overly personal - as a general rule of thumb, in a business context avoid giving gifts that touch the skin (jewelry, perfume, and most of all lingerie)
  • No strings attached - a gift with strings attached isn't a gift, it's a weapon.
  • Avoid anything that could be considered offensive by the recipient. This could be anything political, religious, crude, etc. Even alcohol could be offensive if someone's religion prohibits drinking. Avoid these types of gifts unless you know the recipient well.

So there you have it. I hope these gift ideas and general ideas for holiday gift giving are helpful. Be sure to leave your business gift-giving ideas in the comments below.



Patrick Bet-David
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