End year is approaching, and while most of us are looking forward to the Christmas break, event organisers and HR teams are beginning to get the jitters over Yuletide presents. The most straightforward option is to go with Secret Santa and hope you don’t pick the boss’ name, but you can make a more significant impression with just a little extra effort.
There are two categories of Christmas gifts. Internal presents can be personalized so that they have real meaning to your employees. You can use the data you’ve gathered on your team, applying it for impact. A cash bonus is nice, but a gift tailored for each team member will earn their loyalty and appreciation, which boosts their work ethic in years to come.
Gift giving doesn’t have to be complicated. Most people are happy with a gift basket that combines something practical, something playful, and something personal. The practical gift can be as small as a durable mug, scarf, or socks. It could also be a low-cost electronics like toasters, shavers, or sandwich makers.
The playful part of the hamper should be something fun and frivolous. For drinkers, you can include a six pack of their favourite beer or a bottle of red / white wine, depending on their preference. You could even go with champagne for everyone, with non-drinkers getting a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling champers.
Another option for non-drinkers is something light, like a joke book, a DVD set of stand-up comedy, or a gift that pays homage to an inside joke. It could be a stuffed toy that represents the team, or a miniature of the office mascot.
Or maybe it’s a framed photo of the whole team in their Halloween outfits. You can also frame candid photos from an office picnic, anniversary, or birthday celebration. The plan is to find something simple that ties you together as a team.
The personal gift takes a little more effort, but it doesn’t have to be complex. Team members with kids can get age-based children’s toys. Toddlers can receive a toy car, stuffed animal, legos, or building blocks. Teenagers can get video games or movie tickets.
You get extra points if you can get the kids something they like, and you can always ply the parents for info by asking them to email a wish list to HR. Employees who are single can get a gift that reflects their hobby. For a blogger, pay their domain fees for a year. For a golfer or baseballer, buy them gloves and a cap. For a crafter, buy a glue gun.
Christmas shopping for top clients can be a bit more challenging. You probably don’t know them well enough to get personal. And even if you do, you might not want to, because it may send the wrong message. For corporate clients, a standardised gift hamper would probably be best. It does help make concessions for non-drinkers where possible.
Some gift basket providers add a feel-good element to the hamper by donating part of the proceeds to charity. In such cases, the recipient of the gift basket will get a card or email thanking them for their donation. There are several charities to choose from, so you can select one your recipient would be drawn to, or ask them to pick for themselves.
As for the hampers themselves, try the Merry Christmas Hamper which is packed with Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Melting Moments, dark chocolate truffles, crackers, and butter shortbread biscuits. The items are wrapped in delicate tissue and packed in a Christmas box tied with a ribbon. The hamper also contains a gift card for a personalised message.
Another good gift option for corporate clients is to treat them to lunch or dinner at a fancy restaurant. It could be a group meal with your executives, or you could give them restaurant vouchers they can use with their families or romantic partners.
If food seems too trite for your tastes, buy them tickets to a high-end Christmas show instead. It could be a festival performance, an operatic event, or a jazz concert with a Christmas theme. The more exclusive the event is, the better, so if possible, pick one that has a formal black-tie theme so that your execs feel they’re in their element.
Of course, if your top client has a more casual C-suite, they might be happier with access to the VIP section of a football game, horse race, or sports bar. Giving execs a gift with a personal touch keeps you in their good graces and opens the door to more business deals in the future, so start planning early and make their gifts memorable.