Figuring out gifts for anyone can be daunting on its own, but figuring out gifts for co-workers, business partners, and vendors is even more daunting. Sometimes the closer we are to someone, the easier it is to know what to get them, but it gets challenging when your relationship is professional. You probably don’t know the professional relationship on a personal level, or very little, but you still want to get them something that shows that you value the relationship.
While gift cards and food baskets are always appreciated, they just don’t scream authenticity. If you’re trying to impress this season, or show your appreciation towards a team that’s been amazing this year, it might be time to think outside the typical fruit basket. To help get your creative juices flowing and thinking about options, we’ve put together a few ideas that we think are pretty great for those business Christmas gifts.
Think about some of the most raucous and exciting evenings of your childhood. Chances are, most of the examples you can think of are playing games in the streets with your friends, or hovering over a board game with your family. Nothing brought out competition quite like an extended game of Monopoly or whatever game of your family’s choice was.
You can recreate these bonding and team-driven moments by buying games for your staff and co-workers. If you’re in a leadership position, encourage an afternoon of game playing if possible to alleviate some stress and let people laugh together. Use this list of the best games of this year to get some gaming inspiration.
Other options are to provide a game room with items like a ping pong table, pool table, or even some old school video games like these best retro Nintendo games. Play is just as essential to adults as it is to children, so try and cultivate an environment that allows for it.
- Food and wine
Okay, we know we just got done saying that those food gift baskets are a bad idea, but there are some situations where they’re great. If you’ve ever had conversations about favourite foods, wines or snacks with your staff, partners or vendors, capitalise on that by buying them a basket of it. By doing this you’re proving that you actually listen and take an interest in their lives.
If you don’t have that personal connection to a food or drink item, then you’re just purchasing the go-to Christmas gift that doesn’t have much meaning. If you’re really struggling with finding a gift, even after this list, then better to give a basket like this than nothing at all. Try to ensure the basket is filled with high quality items and will last longer than a day or two.
- Things your people have been asking for for ages
You know that NZ laminating machine that your administration staff have been asking for the last few months? Now is the time to buy it! Even little gestures, like a label maker where staff can make their own label design, or replacing old machines with new NZ binding machines are things that make your employee’s lives easier, and will make a difference on their day to day.
Gestures like this also show that you listen, and pay attention to what your employees need rather than ignoring the more trivial requests. Try and make sure that the item you’re giving isn’t something that would be expected regardless, like the usual order of bulk cardboard boxes, but rather something that wouldn’t normally be in the budget, like changing to a perhaps more expensive but preferred box supplier.
- Personalised items
Admit it, we all love a good personalised item with our name on it. While this one isn’t nearly as special as some of the other items on the list, it is still something that is individual to each person you’re giving it to. Things like headphones, briefcases, luggage items, or even umbrellas are great starts. These items are also easier to give to a large group of people.
- Give your company!
What better way to advertise your company than to offer your own employees to partake in the services or products? Whatever it is you’re selling, you want your employees to be your best salespeople. They are the ones doing the work and potentially talking about it to their family and friends, so making it a positive experience is important.
Offer them a trial of your service, or free products of their choice. For similar reasons, it’s also a great idea to offer free services or products to your vendors or potential business partners. This is more than just a sampling of what you provide, it’s offering a gift that your employees and partners can use and review on their own time.
- An event to remember
Providing individual Christmas gifts can be quite the undertaking. Avoid this by giving a mass gift of a great Christmas party or event that they won’t forget. Christmas parties are one of the best ways to get staff to mix, mingle, and get to know each other, which builds better teams over the long run.
Make sure that you plan ahead and make your reservations, entertainment, and catering plans ahead of the rush. Consider who you are inviting, and how large you want the event to be. For example, are you trying to build team bonds within your department only, or are you a smaller business wanting to integrate everyone? Whatever your goals and reasons are for the party, remember that it’s also about appreciating your employees, and helping them kick back and relax for the upcoming season.
If you’re still strapped for ideas, remember that the best gift you can give as any type of manager or leader, is your time and appreciation. Employees, partners and anyone else you interact with will know a genuine Christmas greeting when they see it, so do your best to be kind and loving this Christmas season.