What Are The Rules on Gifting?

Julie Shenkman
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'Tis the season to show your appreciation for colleagues and clients. Unless your company has a policy prohibiting gift-giving, buying holiday gifts is a great way to thank clients for their business or show your colleagues how much you appreciate their efforts. If you decide to buy holiday gifts this year, be sure to choose appropriate presents that don't violate any boundaries.

Before buying corporate gifts for your clients, check your contracts to make sure there are no gift restrictions in place. Some clients can't accept gifts from you due to ethical rules, while others only accept gifts valued at less than a certain dollar amount. If there aren't any restrictions, try to pick holiday gifts valued at $25 to $100. It's important to choose a gift that matches the client's needs and interests. If you know one of your clients has a particular hobby, an item related to that hobby is appropriate.

When purchasing holiday gifts for clients, consider buying something with your company logo. A branded gift shows your appreciation, but it also reminds clients of your business relationship. Calendars, coffee mugs and desk sets are examples of appropriate corporate gifts. Donating to charity in a client's name is also a good way to maintain profitable relationships. If you go this route, be sure to choose a charity that is not too controversial.

If you buy holiday gifts for your employees, the value of the gift should match the amount of time each employee has worked for your company. An employee with six months of service might get a gift valued at $15, while an employee who has been with the company for 20 years might get a gift valued at $50, for example. Gift certificates, scarves and gift baskets are appropriate holiday gifts for employees. If you have had the same assistant for several years, you may want to consider something more personal.

In a business environment, gifts usually flow downward. This means you are not obligated to buy for your boss. If you feel it's the right thing to do, however, there's nothing wrong with buying holiday gifts for your manager. Just be sure to choose something that is not too personal. Office stationery, ties and gift certificates are appropriate gifts for managers and executives. Don't buy wine or spirits unless you know for sure your boss drinks alcohol.

If your company doesn't do a gift exchange, you may want to give your colleagues holiday gifts to show your appreciation for their work. If you decide to give gifts to your colleagues, make sure you spend roughly the same amount on each gift. Purchasing a $50 gift for one person and a $10 gift for another is sure to lead to hurt feelings. Movie tickets, candles, bath sets and gift certificates are usually a safe bet.

Giving holiday gifts is an easy way to share the spirit of the season with your clients and colleagues. If you decide to give gifts this year, be sure to avoid anything too expensive or too controversial.

Photo courtesy of photouten at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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