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How to choose the perfect holiday gifts for your clients.

If you’re like many small businesses, you're still wondering what holiday gifts to get for your clients. Since time is running out, here are some suggestions that should make the process easier.

The holidays are fast approaching, and if you’re like many, you’re still “thinking” about what to get your clients.  Well, time is running out, so here are some suggestions that will make buying holiday gifts for clients a little easier.

1.  Personalize it -  Clients are impressed with a gift that tells them you’ve taken the time to get to know then. 

Is she a wine connoisseur, or does she have a favorite liqueur?  Try giving a nice bottle of her favorite.

Eco-friendly?  Think about planting a tree in her name. 

Gourmet cook?  A great apron and pot holder set, or any number of cool kitchen gadgets or gourmet food items would be a great gift!

Sports fan?  Some season tickets would I score some points, or perhaps some sports memorabilia from his favorite team!

Does she like to eat out?  Try a gift card to her favorite restaurant. 

Maybe he’s big into charity…make a charitable donation in his name.  (Note on this:  Be sure to donate to a charity based on your client’s preferences, not your own.)

Crazy about coffee? How about a grinder and a great bag of beans?

The point is, personalized gifts tell your clients they’re not just one of the crowd.

If you don’t have time to think of a personalized gift for each client, think of one gift that you could engrave with each client’s name.  For instance, a nice travel alarm clock, or a brass wreath hanger, or a magnifying glass.  Brookstone is one of my favorite places for these types of gifts.

2.  Don’t forget the card -  Be sure to attach a card or letter with each gift, personalized to the client, and signed by you.  Also, be sure to wrap the gifts nicely.  First impressions do count.

3.  Avoid “trash and trinkets” -  Don’t send trinkety type things with your logo on them.  While you may consider it “branding,” your client will most likely toss it.  There are exceptions to this, but generally speaking, avoid anything plastic that’s less than $10 each.

4.  Designate a gift coordinator -  If you’re a really small business, this may be you.  But if you have a staff, consider assigning one person to coordinate all the gift details – from purchasing, to wrapping, to delivering.  Client gifting can get complicated and time-consuming, so make sure the designated “Santa” is detail oriented and well-organized.  Assigning someone besides you to be in charge will ensure you don’t get distracted from the job of building your business.

5.  On a budget?  Think about giving your clients gift certificates for free product or services (whatever you sell).  If you’re a consultant or in a service business, give them a free hour of your time, or a percentage off on their next purchase.  If you own a restaurant, give them a free dinner for two, or a free dessert or appetizer.  Be creative!

6.  Host a holiday party -  Send out a great invitation, have an open bar, heavy hors d’oeurves, some desserts, and you’re done.  Your clients get to know you better, and can rub shoulders with your other clients who will all be singing your praises.

Here are some of my favorite ideas for client holiday gifts:

Gift baskets -   From steaks to wine to gourmet delicacies, clients love getting them as much as you do!  You can go online to order them, and have them delivered.  What could be easier?   There are hundreds of gift baskets to choose from, one for every budget and every taste.

If you want to go more personal, put together a basket filled with some of their favorite things. 

Books or Subscriptions -  Have you read a great motivational book lately?   How about fiction? Your client might like it as well. And if you can get a signed copy, so much the better!   Or if you know your clients’ hobbies, consider giving them a 12-month gift subscription to a hobby magazine or journal.  What I’ve done is buy a copy of the current issue, wrap it, and deliver it to my client with a hand-written note.  You could also mail it if your client lives out of town.

Massage or Spa Day - One of my all-time favorite gifts was one I received from my creative department one year.  They all pooled their money to get me a day of de-stressing massage and pampering at a spa.   Your clients will love this idea, believe me.

Delivering a thoughtful gift to your clients during the holidays goes a long way toward letting them know how much you appreciate their business.

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Donna Williams is the founder and creator of - a website dedicated to helping small businesses grow to their maximum potential.  She is also a 25-year advertising / marketing executive, creative director, writer, and producer.  Together, Donna and her husband currently own and co-own five small businesses.  To read more of her articles, or to sign up for her free e-newsletter, visit her website at

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