2013 Holiday Gift Guide: 5 Tips to Avoid Gift-Giving Mistakes

Your clients will know the difference between an advertisement for your business and a good-will gesture. Follow these tips when giving gifts to strike the right tone.

December 11, 2013

Show customers your appreciation this holiday season, but make sure your friendly gesture doesn’t backfire. Here are some gift-giving tips:

Plan Ahead

A week before the holidays isn’t the time to start your gift search. Plan far enough in advance so you’ll have plenty of options and won’t get stuck paying rush fees.

Show Thanks; Don’t Sell

A holiday gift is a way to show your appreciation for your customers’ business the past year, says Deb Byrne Johnson, founder and owner of PrintFusion, a promotional marketing business. Don’t use your gift to sell your service or a house. After all, clients can see through an advertisement for your business versus a thank-you gesture. For example, if you include your company’s name and logo in your gift, make sure it doesn’t overpower the gift itself. Otherwise, your clients may never use that holiday platter if your logo is in bold, all-capital print placed front-and-center.

Stay Within IRS Guidelines

For tax purposes, make sure you review business gift-giving regulations through IRS Publication 463. In general, you are allowed to deduct no more than $25 for business gifts to each person during the tax year.

Not All Gifts Have to Be Equal

Johnson encourages businesses to think in tiers. Gift your top 20 most loyal customers a pricier item, your next 100 a more moderately priced gift, and send prospects a custom holiday card. It’ll keep your gift-giving more affordable.

Know What Your Clients Celebrate

If your client doesn’t celebrate Christmas, then a Christmas greeting will seem out of place. If you’re not sure which holiday your client celebrates, take a generic holiday approach, such as “best wishes for a happy 2014.” Otherwise, save the specific Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas gifts for the clients you know will appreciate them.