You can always give a delicious homemade treat or a highly rated bottle of wine to your employees or clients this holiday season. But the field of holiday gifts for your professional network has grown exponentially over the years. Here are a few creative, but business-appropriate, ways to gift this year.
1. Item of the Month delivery. No longer limited to fruit, the choices for monthly delivery subscriptions are vast -- and fun. Our office likes gifting -- and receiving -- Beer of the Month Club memberships, where the recipients receive a dozen microbrew beers for a three, six or 12-month subscription. Companies, such as Amazingclubs.com, offer wine, coffee, hot sauce and bacon clubs as well.
The beauty of giving a club subscription to a valued client is four-fold. First, it is a fun treat for the recipient that changes every month. This variety has a better chance to pique the interest of even the most selective person. Second, each month it arrives, your receiver has a positive reminder about you or your business. Third, it offers a camaraderie for others in the office -- provided the recipient is willing to share. Finally, it gives you something interesting to ask about in future conversations. Questions like "were you a fan of the amber or the stout last month?" are a welcome change from the expected "what are your business needs for next quarter?" It's hard to top the overall impact of the right club subscription.
2. Home chef service. Do you know a client or co-worker who travels often for work or is always on-call? There is a new wave of private chef services that offer a welcome break from an on-the-go schedule. With companies, such as Kitchit.com, a professional chef comes to your house and makes a preselected three-course meal in your kitchen. The service includes cooking, serving and cleaning up your kitchen when finished. The benefit is that the recipient can enjoy a restaurant-quality dinner at home with their family or friends.
It is easy to see the appeal of a tasty meal. It is even more compelling when you factor in that your gift also encourages the busy professional to slow down at home without needing to lift a finger. And, of course, it is hard not to appreciate being able to enjoy holiday libations without worrying about driving. In short, home chef service can be a welcome surprise for many people on your list.
3. Sponsor an experience. How can you show appreciation for multiple people when you don't know what everyone will enjoy? Sponsor an experience or event. You can hire a mixologist to teach an after-hours holiday drinks class for one or more of your favorite clients and their employees. Few things make learning as much fun as a class with a drink. Cooking classes are another team-building event that work well for a corporate environment.
A family-friendly option would be offering a call from Santa Claus to your clients and employees with kids, then having an employee make a customized call to each child. Additionally, in the spirit of the season, you could arrange a dedicated time for your group to help at a food bank or other worthy charity. Promote goodwill by taking time to help your community and making it easy for others to join you.
Expressing your appreciation for your clients and employees is worth the time during any season. The great thing is that the options for gifting are vast. With so many choices, you can select an ideal way to thank those who support you professionally but also make a statement about your individual personality and your brand. Happy gifting and happy holidays!
Robin Reshwan is the founder of Collegial Services, a consulting/staffing firm that connects college students, recent graduates and the organizations that hire them and a certified Women's Business Enterprise (WBE). She has interviewed, placed and hired thousands of people across a broad spectrum of companies and industries. Her career tips and advice are used by universities, national clubs/associations and businesses. A Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Robin has been honored as a Professional Business Woman of the Year by the American Business Women's Association. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and as a Regents Scholar from University of California, Davis.
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