holiday giftRather than giving company-branded coffee mugs around the holiday season, why not try something different by giving personalized gifts that your clients, partners and vendors will love? And rather than delivering or sending out these gifts during the traditional holiday season, why not try it around a holiday that is all about being grateful?

Let the traditional holiday season (the Monday after Thanksgiving through December 23) be free of stress and last-minute, picked-over choices that don’t really resonate with your clients. In addition, you won’t have to worry about offending someone if he or she doesn’t partake in traditional holiday cheer, as most people in the United States choose to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Road Map to Appreciation Success

First, determine who you want to appreciate.
Come up with a list of individuals who have helped you and your company succeed this year. Be sure to include employees, suppliers, volunteers and, of course, clients.

Second, come up with an appreciation budget.
Figure out what your total spend will be on gifts. Remember, most gifts do not have to be super expensive to show that you care.

Third, remember all clients are not created equal.
Don’t spend the same amount on a client that generates thousands of dollars for your organization compared to one that plans one small meeting with you a year.

Fourth, be aware of company and governmental policies.
Some organizations make it a policy that no gifts are allowed, while governmental agencies have dollar limitations. When in doubt, ask. The last thing you want to do is spend $100 on a gift the client cannot accept.

Fifth, establish gift categories.
Here are good guidelines for consideration:

  • FREE: This is something that costs you no money but will take time to produce.
  • $5-$10 GIFT: This is usually for a special employee, volunteer or first-time client.
  • $25 GIFT: A special vendor or partner that has referred a lot of business to you and/or did exceptional work during the year.
  • $50 GIFT: Someone who has booked several meetings with your organization and continues to refer you to other business professionals.
  • $100+ GIFT: Your top 10 percent of clients. The ones that make your business successful and, if you lost them, your revenue stream would suffer greatly.

Let’s dissect each of these categories for creative suggestions.


  • Send a handwritten appreciation note.
    Don’t email, text or use an app to show how much someone means to you and your business. Actually take out paper and pen to write a heartfelt note about how much you appreciate a fellow employee, client or volunteer.

$5-$10 GIFT LEVEL:5 gift level

  • Gift cards from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s and Panera are real winners.

$25 GIFT LEVEL:25 gift level

  • Buy a hardcover book.
    If you happen to frequent your partner and/or client’s office, you might be able to see what sort of books they read. If you know the title of one, Amazon can make suggestions for others they may like.
  • Make a donation to a charity he or she cares about.
    In the course of getting to know him or her, you might find out the person is passionate about a particular charity or cause. Make a donation in his or her name and request that the organization receiving your funds sends a note of appreciation on your behalf.
  • Let’s do lunch.
    Many times we’re so busy, we don’t have time to take someone to lunch. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but just spending time with your client or employee and treating him or her to a nice meal speaks volumes as to how much you care.

$50 GIFT LEVEL:50 gift level

  • Purchase a gift basket that contains local items.
    The basket might include a bottle of wine from a local winery, cookies from a bakery or cheese from a local farm. To find other small businesses in your area, check out American Express’ Shop Small website.
  • Give the gift of help.
    Fancy Hands is a virtual team of U.S.-based assistants who can tackle anything on your clients’ to-do list that takes 20 minutes or less to complete. For $50 you can give them the opportunity to clip eight items off their to-do list.
  • Order a magazine subscription.
    It might be something relative to their industry or something they enjoy during their downtime (e.g., Forbes or Handyman). Ordering something that will remind them of you is a gift that keeps on giving all year long.

$100+ GIFT LEVEL:100 gift level

  • Purchase event tickets.
    You may include the client and their family in this purchase. Here are a few suggestions:

    • Hockey or basketball tickets
    • Tickets to The Nutcracker
    • A local play or concert
  • Give the gift of spa services.
    This will be especially appreciated by women who love manicures, pedicures and massages or other pampering offerings.

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Has Your Thank-You Gifts Covered!

Studies show that a tangible gift makes a much more lasting impression than a phone call, email or text. Kalahari has you covered with gift cards ranging from $20 to $500 along with award-winning spa services. Remember to be creative, shop early and send out those gifts before Thanksgiving to stand out from all the other items your clients will receive this year.