A tradition of corporate gift giving on Christmas and other big holidays has become a significant part of every business. First of all, business gift giving is an investment in your company. Sending out Christmas gifts gets the attention of your recipients and shows your thoughtfulness. It can help you solidify and re-establish relationships with your colleagues, business associates, employees or draw new customers into your company. Giving a proper gift to a fellow employee or a client keeps them happy and boosts employee morale. But corporate gifts for recipients in other countries can produce a wrong impression or even harm your business relationships if you don’t know the etiquette behind it. Nearly every business culture around the world has their own gift giving customs, so you may have to do your research before sending something out to a foreign client. So before you start shopping for your Christmas gifts for clients, colleagues or employees, consider the following basic business gift giving etiquette tips.
Make Sure Your Recipients Celebrate Christmas
It’s important to be sensitive to each person’s religion or beliefs. Giving a holiday gift to someone who can’t accept it because of their beliefs can make both you and them uncomfortable. Don’t just assume that all of your clients or colleagues celebrate Christmas. To avoid an awkward situation, you can simply ask if they celebrate Christmas, without getting into specifics about their religious preferences. Keep in mind that in Eastern Orthodox Church, for example, Christmas is celebrated on January, 7. Jews celebrate Hanukkah instead, and Muslims and Hindus don’t observe it at all. In this case sending a New Year’s gift will be more appropriate.
Set the Budget
Many companies have strict limitations on the type and monetary amount of gifts they can receive. In order to avoid embarrassment for both parties, check ahead and find out your recipients’ gift policies so you won’t make a mistake.
Quality is King
Regardless of the gift and economic climate, remember that quality is king. If you decide, for example, on a gift basket, make it a nice one. Even small gift baskets can look presentable and valuable. If you go with chocolate or spirits make sure they are of the highest quality and of a well-known brand.
Personalize Your Gift
It’s always nice, whenever possible, to personalize each gift for each recipient. Adding a personal touch can give even a small gift a much bigger impact. Your clients and colleagues want to know that you appreciate them. So giving an item that is specifically aligned with their interests can mean more than a generic gift or promotional item from your company.
On the other hand, if you don’t know much about your recipient, you’re better off sticking with a generic gift than sending something that might be considered offensive. Common business gifts include flowers or plants, gourmet and fruit baskets, gift certificates, etc.
The most important thing you can do when giving corporate gifts for Christmas is to make sure you remember everyone. Don’t offer gifts to only certain team members. Your employees and even clients within a certain industry or group are likely to talk to one another. A kind gesture meant with the best of intentions, may turn negative if someone feels slighted. You don’t want anyone to feel less important or forgotten. To avoid overlooking anyone, keep a running list of recipients and check it carefully before sending out Christmas gifts.