At office parties or client and customer events, December is a month to celebrate and give back to others. Sharing in the spirit of the holidays can be delightful. It can also be a little awkward when it comes to giving gifts.
While every situation is different, follow these guidelines to make your “season bright.”
HOW MUCH TO SPEND?
Some companies have a no-gift policy. I recommend calling the HR department first to inquire about gift-giving guidelines. Typically, $25 is a good price limit for gifts given to individuals. For a group gift, the amount can be based upon the number of employees; however, it’s best to refrain from overdoing it.
WHAT IS AN APPROPRIATE “OFFICE GIFT”?
I think it’s always a good idea to show some creativity and thoughtfulness but always keep it professional. Edible gifts, gift cards and charitable donations are options to consider.
• Gourmet food baskets, chocolates and cookie bouquets are easy to share with the entire office.
• Gift cards work well, especially from stores the clients frequent. Whenever you can show someone that you’ve paid attention to his or her preferences, it goes a long way toward building a strong relationship.
• Giving a donation to an organization your client may be appreciated.
Remember that the wrong type of gift—whether it’s in an inappropriate price range, against the company policy or taboo—could harm a business relationship.
Whatever gift you decide upon, it should be in good taste and memorable. Think wisely and give with a sense of gratitude.
Suzanne Willis is the founder of Willis Consulting & Communications in Naples, which specializes in contemporary business, social and children’s etiquette.