Christmas presents wrapped under a pine tree

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Giving Business Gifts

If you’re planning to give your staff, vendors, or your clients gifts this season, think twice before you do. Many businesses make these blunders, which are completely avoidable.

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 might raise an eyebrow. If the gift can in any way be construed as inappropriate, avoid it like the plague.

Instead…aim for “safe” gifts. Candles, Starbucks gift cards, food…these are all generally well-received and won’t put you at risk of losing a client or have 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 maybe offended if you try to give them a gift. If possible, make sure your gift will be well received.

Instead…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’s 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…give healthier food options, like a box of fresh fruit, or gourmet olive oil or 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 favorite restaurant.

Instead… rather than handing your favorite delivery guy an envelope of twenties, spend those on something he can use, like a warm hat and gloves.

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…look at how long each client has been with you and what they’ve spent with your company, and set pricing tiers so that you stay in line with this with your budget.

Paying attention to the message you send along with your gift can keep you from offending a client, vendor, or employee.

<a href="" target="_self">Nellie Akalp</a>

Nellie Akalp

Nellie Akalp is an entrepreneur, small business expert, speaker, and mother of four amazing kids. As CEO of, she has helped more than half a million entrepreneurs launch their businesses. Akalp is nationally recognized as one of the most prominent experts on small business legal matters, contributing frequently to outlets like Entrepreneur, Forbes, Huffington Post, Mashable, and Fox Small Business. A passionate entrepreneur herself, Akalp is committed to helping others take the reigns and dive into small business ownership. Through her public speaking, media appearances, and frequent blogging, she has developed a strong following within the small business community and has been honored as a Small Business Influencer Champion three years in a row.

Related Posts

What is Payroll?

What is Payroll?

Payroll refers to the various tasks and responsibilities businesses must perform to pay their employees accurately and on time. It encompasses calculating wages and salaries; preparing checks or paying employees via direct deposit; withholding taxes and other...

Back to School, Back to Your Business

Back to School, Back to Your Business

With autumn approaching, many entrepreneurs and other professionals with school-age children face a double dose of challenges. Back to school brings break-neck fall schedules packed with events and extracurricular activities that demand parents’ time. And as kids...

What Is a Trademark?

What Is a Trademark?

Now that you’ve started your business, it’s time to protect its name. After all, your business name is — and will continue to be — one of the most crucial branding assets you possess. So, how do entrepreneurs protect that critical element from being infringed upon...

Subscribe to Newsletter

Practical business and financial insights, lessons, perspectives, and know-how brought right to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing!

100% satisfaction guaranteed or we will refund 100% of our service fees with no questions asked!