There are so many corporate holiday gift ideas out there that are the equivalent of the plastic crap your kids bring home in their goody bag from a friend’s birthday party. Does anyone even use jump drives and paperweights anymore?
As a small business owner who loves my clients, I do not want to give them something that they’ll never use or even think about. I want to give them something that’s meaningful to them.
Of course, if you know your clients really well, you can certainly give them each a gift that is unique to them and their interests (or just do this for your VIP clients). Or, you can give everyone the same thing – nothing wrong with that!
I sat down and thought of the things I would not mind receiving and that are useful. Some of these can be branded with your logo, some can’t, but that’s OK – it’s the thought that counts!
Here are 13 cool holiday gift ideas for clients:
1. Local and artisanal foods
I am a big believer in buying local and supporting other small businesses. You can start at your local farmer’s market or local and regional stores. Ask friends for suggestions. You can even check out big grocery store chains, many of which are trying to buy locally produced goods.
Of course, another option is to send clients in other parts of the country a local specialty: Vermont maple syrup, Wisconsin cheddar cheese, Hawaiian macadamia nuts, California olive oil, etc.
2. Local wine, liquor or beer
Every state in the country has wineries, and most have distilleries and breweries. As long as your clients imbibe, this is a great gift as well – and likely something they cannot get locally.
3. Homemade cookies
When I was a personal chef, I baked dozens and dozens of four varieties of cookies for the owners of a small but growing business to hand-deliver to their clients. It was a HUGE hit. If you are not up for the task, talk to personal chefs or catering companies – or even a friend who loves to bake.
4. Picture frames
Some of my favorite gifts have been beautiful picture frames, but you could go a step further and include a photo already in it. Maybe it’s of you and your client, or your client and his or her family that you snapped during a group outing or event. What a surprise that would be!
In our digital age, a digital picture frame would make a fine gift too, as the recipient can easily swap in new photos (just make sure he or she is technically inclined!).
5. LLBean Boat and Tote
My boat and tote has withstood a lot of travel, smushings into tight trunk space, and general abuse – and it only looks better with age. A monogrammed boat and tote would be great, but one that uses your brand’s primary color on the handles would be cool, too.
6. iPhone or Android charger
Did you know you can buy branded iPhone and Android chargers? If you have clients who travel a lot or are just always glued to their phones, this would make a very thoughtful gift. I know it would be popular in my household!
7. Business card holder
A high-quality business card holder that is monogrammed with your client’s initials or branded with your logo is another thoughtful, useful gift that 1) looks impressive when pulled out at an event or meeting, and 2) keeps cards crisp and neat.
8. Picnic blanket
Bonus points for a picnic blanket that has a waterproof side and comes with a handle or carrier. This is one I would definitely brand with my logo.
9. Wine tote
There are a ton of styles to choose from, so look for one that is sturdy, beautifully designed, can be branded, is insulated, and can be easily carried.
10. Moleskin notebook
Sometimes I think I am the only one who still writes to-do lists and ideas in a notebook, but then I see friends, business partners, and clients pull their own notebooks out, too. A beautiful, branded moleskin notebook? Yes, please!
OK, so maybe I added this item because I really want a flask. These are really easy to find this time of year (are they that popular as a holiday gift?), and many can be branded or monogrammed.
12. Faux fur blanket
I would not send this to my clients in southern California (or Florida, if I had clients there), but a faux fur blanket would make a cozy gift for people in the rest of the country (especially on the East Coast – we are supposed to have another very cold winter. Yay.).
13. Bowl or tray
A crystal, ceramic, or artful bowl is a wonderful addition to any desk or countertop, as it can corral keys, business cards, paper clips, rubber bands, etc. Likewise, a tray can corral a stapler, cup of pens, tape dispenser, and other flotsam and jetsam that accumulate on a desk.
OK, my creativity is tapped, so it’s your turn: What are your favorite gifts to give your clients – or receive?
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