If you’re planning to give your staff, vendors, or your clients presents this holiday season, think twice before you do. Many businesses make gift-giving blunders, which are completely avoidable. Below are the top five business gift mistakes you should avoid this holiday season.
Giving an Inappropriate Gift
You may not think there’s anything inappropriate about giving a fluffy robe and bath oils to your client or employee of the opposite sex, but he or she might raise an eyebrow. If the gift can in any way be construed as inappropriate, avoid it like the plague.
Instead, we recommend you aim for safe gifts like candles or a Starbucks gift cards. These gifts are all generally well-received and won’t put you at risk of losing a client or having a sexual harassment case brought against you!
Giving a Gift to Someone Who Doesn’t Celebrate Christmas
It may be easy to assume everyone celebrates Christmas, but there are plenty of Americans who instead celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or nothing at all. Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, don’t celebrate Christmas, and may be offended if you try to give them a gift. If possible, make sure your gift will be well received.
Instead, we recommend you don’t center your message around “Christmas” but rather “Season’s Greetings.” This will serve as a better blanket for all holidays celebrated this time of year.
Giving Unwanted Food Items
Whether it’s giving a bottle of wine to a recovering alcoholic or a box of cookies to someone who’s gluten intolerant, food gifts are rife with possible problems. If you know an employee loves Irish Cream, by all means, give it as a gift. But you’re safer steering clear if you’re not certain.
Instead, we recommend you give healthier food options, like a box of fresh fruit, gourmet olive oil, or healthy spreads.
Giving Cash to Clients or Vendors
Sometimes companies have rules about what employees can and can’t accept as gifts. For example, FedEx drivers can accept gifts valued up to $75, but not cash.
Clients may find it inappropriate to accept cash as a gift. A gift card can be a good replacement, but avoid general Visa or Mastercard cash cards and aim for one that is good for something your client can benefit from, like his or her favorite restaurant.
Instead of handing your favorite delivery guy an envelope of twenties, we recommend spending those on something he can use, like a warm hat and gloves. A nice pair of alpaca gloves from your favorite local farm can be a heartfelt gift and it can feel like true luxury for your delivery person.
Giving Too Big a Gift
Clients may become uncomfortable if you over-splurge on them. A client who’s only been with you a few months and only spent $100 with you will likely feel strange if you spend $500 on them.
Instead, we recommend you look at how long each client has been with you and what they’ve spent with your company. Then set pricing tiers so that you stay in line with this with your budget.
Final gift-giving tip: Paying attention to the message you send along with your gift can keep you from offending a client, vendor, or employee.