T’is soon the season of mass mailings, secret santas, and corporate gifting, a time of year that some might dread. Just remember that the point of gifting, at its root, is to show your appreciation to friends and peers for another successful year of business. Gifting does not have to go by any particular template. One of the advantages of running your own business is that you can decide how you want to handle it.
For starters, re-evaluate the whole card thing. Chances are, your card will just end up in a landfill. Best case scenario, the recipient of your card will shred it up and use it as packaging filler before it ends up in the landfill. So why not send an electronic holiday card? Save yourself some postage. If you really absolutely must send a paper card, try using a company like Watabaran or non-profit like Ten Thousand Villages, which offer lovely cards while encouraging fair trade.
For clients, it’s always nice to offer an experience rather than a product. For one, you can avoid wasteful wrapping and packaging. But more importantly, an experience is more memorable than material. If your business can afford it and you know your clients well enough, try giving them tickets to a show or game, or offer them a dining experience at a local restaurant. When they’re bombarded by stuff at the end of the year, your client is likely to appreciate something a bit out of the ordinary.
For employees, instead of the typical communal holiday food basket that stays fleetingly in the office but forever on the hips, why not offer workmates a cool plant in a swanky modern pot for their workspace? Leafy plants are great as air filters and terrariums are excellent for desktops that only get indirect sunlight. Unconventional gifts like this bring a bit of the outdoors in and will last longer than the holiday season, provided none of your employees have the black thumb. By buying them from sites like etsy, you can also support creative individuals, as opposed to a large corporations. Alternatively, if you’re not a huge group, consider an excursion or a show together. If budget is an issue, consider something as simple as a bottle of organic wine or champagne for everyone.
By going green with company gifts, you might actually be able to save yourself a bit of cash and give your clients and employees something that’s both more thoughtful and less wasteful. But the real point here is to enjoy the season of giving!