holiday gift guide

8 Holiday Gift Giving Etiquettes You Need to Know

By Martin, Davinci Virtual

Tis the season to be jolly—and generous. The holidays are a strategic time to show appreciation to your best customers. Of course, there are a few things you need to know before you make moves to express your goodwill. Yes, there is gift giving etiquette—even for holiday cards—in an age that celebrates diversity. Consider these guidelines:

1. Make it personal

Personalizing a gift, if possible, may speak louder than the gift itself. That’s because it demonstrates you have taken the time to really get to know them. If all else fails, seek advice from your client’s secretary or look on their Facebook page if you’re connected. If you can’t personalize gifts for all your clients, at least write a personal note in the card.  

2. Don’t overspend

You should have a budget for client gift-giving, but don’t be so extravagant it puts the receiver in an awkward position. Some of your clients may not be able to receive a gift value over a specific amount. Do your homework. Find out what is acceptable before you send the gift.

3. Consider faiths 

Not everybody believes the same as you do. You may celebrate Hanukkah, but your clients may celebrate Christmas, Ramadan, Kwanzaa or some other holiday in December. You don’t want to be offensive when you’re trying to be kind. Find out what your client celebrates if you can, or just send the generic “Season’s Greetings.”

4. Deliver on time

Just as you would deliver a product or service on time, be sure your holiday gift is delivered on time. Typically, a December 20th deadline is ideal because it falls in the sweet spot of the holiday season for people of various faiths.

5. Don’t rely on food and wine 

There’s nothing wrong with falling back on food, wine and liquor if you know your client has a special affinity for a good wine or chocolate, but generally speaking it’s generic and forgettable. Remember, make it personal.

6. Avoid gift cards

If you are dealing with employees, gift cards may work fine. But when sending client gifts, don’t opt for this route. The gift card option basically says, “I couldn’t think what to give you, so I’m giving you cash.” It’s impersonal.

7. Don’t send company T-shirts

Gifts with your logo scribbled all over them are not gifts, they are promotional tools and will be viewed that way. Likely, they will go in the circular file. Instead of classy, you may be seen as cheap and self-serving.

8. Re-gift carefully

Thirty-two percent of all Americans re-gift, which means they give a gift away to someone because they didn’t need or like it, according to an American Express survey. You can easily hurt the feelings of the gift-giver if they find out.


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Martin has been enjoying the creation and successful execution of many technology and service related ventures over the past 25 years. He is very passionate about building businesses from the ground up by leveraging cutting edge technologies, innovation and smart, driven people. Martin currently leads all business operations at Davinci Virtual Office Solutions. He credits his international upbringing and Swiss approach for many of his successes. Stress relievers include skiing, tennis, mountain biking and blue oceans.

Please note that Bookly’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of Bookly.

Your Holiday Guide to Client Gift Giving

Holiday List

The holidays can be a great way to reinforce your relationship with your clients… or a land-mine. Do you send a gift? If so, what? How much do you spend? What will stride that fine line between thoughtful and self-promotional? While it’s up to you to choose just the right thoughtful client gift, we do have some tips and tricks for anyone struggling with this big holiday question. 

Client Giving Tips 

Personalize every gift

How well do you know your client? When dreaming up client gifts this year, think of ideas that will show your client you pay attention and value the continued business relationship. Even if you decide to get all of your clients the same gift, personalize each one with a handwritten card. 

Don’t limit the holidays to December

You’re thankful or your clients, right? Then maybe a Thanksgiving card or gift would be appropriate. Think outside the box to delight your customers this holiday season. 

Be culturally sensitive

And we’re not just talking corporate culture. Be sensitive to people of different faiths and values. For example, avoid sending a leather business card holder to a client you know is Hindu or a Christmas ham to a client you know to be Jewish. 

Reach out to past clients

The holidays can be downtime for many client-driven companies. Don’t limit your holiday outreach to current clients. Use this opportunity to send a card or a small gift to past clients and rekindle the relationship. 

Client Giving Taboos

All but the prickliest of clients will accept gifts in the spirit they’re intended – even if they have no use for a French press or a pound of Argentinian cookies. But keep these client giving taboos in mind to ensure your client is truly delighted. 

Avoid alcohol

Unless you and your client have discussed his love for dry gins, be wary of alcohol. You never know who’s recovering, or even has religious or cultural objections to the hard stuff. 

Watch out for perceived insults

While offered with the best of intentions, a gift card for self-improvement, such as for a spa or a new hairstyle, may be perceived as a slight. 

Keep it professional

There’s a fine line between giving your client a thoughtful gift and giving them an intimate gift. 

Avoid things like cologne or fancy jewelry – these gifts are usually traded between spouses, not business colleagues. It should go without saying that anything sexual or risqué is a no go. 

Deducting Client Gifts on Your Taxes In general, client gifts are tax deductible as long as they were given for the purpose of promoting your business. Gifts to employees are deductible, but to the extent they exceed $25 you must calculate payroll taxes and include the amount in W-2 earnings.