5 unique holiday gifts ideas for your professional contacts

The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, but they can be a bit fraught with stress for those trying to find the perfect gift for professional contacts. Gift-giving etiquette can be a minefield for the inexperienced freelancer. Who should be on your gift list? How much should you spend? What type of gift is appropriate to your situation? Read on for some tips for stress-free gift giving this season.

Basic Professional Gift Giving Etiquette

Here are some quick do’s and don’ts for professional gift giving:

DO put some thought into your gift. While you are not expected to know every little thing about your professional contacts, everyone appreciates a gift that shows you know at least a little about the recipient.

DO use your creative skills to personalize your gift. If your freelance work revolves around creative design, show off your skill set with a bit of personalization in your gifts. Your gift will then be unique, and may also serve as a mini-advertisement of sorts for your clients.

DO equalize the gifts you give to fellow team members. If your freelance work involves interaction with a creative team, resist the urge to play favorites. Whether they intend it or not, your team members will naturally compare the gifts they receive from you. Keep tension low by gifting everyone on the team equally.

DO give gifts for special colleagues privately. If there is a standout member of your team that you need to acknowledge with more than just the standard gift, be sure that you offer that gift privately.

DON’T forget to thank others for the gifts you receive. This may sound like a no-brainer, but a genuine smile and verbalized thank-you never goes out of style. For gifts you receive from professional contacts, it doesn’t hurt to send a thank you note, email or holiday card thanking them for the gift.

The Delicate Question of Price

How much should you spend on holiday gifts for your professional contacts? There are no hard-and-fast rules for this. It is largely dependent on what type of budget you have for gift-giving. Before buying your first gift, decide on a budget for each type of professional contact you have on your list, including: team members, clients, and suppliers.

Once you have set your budget, stick with it no matter what. SmallBizTrends.com gives these figures as guidelines to help you stay within budget and still give respectable gifts to your contacts:

Clients: You will likely need to determine your gift amount by the value of your client. While you do not want to go overboard with any client gift, it is only logical to choose a more expensive gift for a client that nets you $100,000 annually than you might choose for a client that nets you $1,000.

Team Members: Keep these gifts within a standard range of $25 to $50. That way, everybody is acknowledged, and everybody is happy.

Service Providers: Gifts and tips to service providers may be determined by the policies of the companies for which they work. Here’s a basic rundown:

  • Mail Carrier: In the US, for example, mail carriers are prohibited from receiving cash gifts. They can, however, accept non-cash gifts worth up to $20. Similar laws may apply in other countries.
  • UPS and FedEx Drivers: If you receive special deliveries daily from UPS or FedEx, you may offer them a modest gift. According to company policy, your UPS driver may accept a non-cash gift worth $25 or less, and FedEx drivers are allowed to receive non-cash gifts worth $75 or less.
  • Courier or Newspaper Carrier: $20-$30.
  • Other Service Providers: Offer the equivalent of one hour’s service.

Unique Gifts for Professional Contacts

When choosing gifts for your professional contacts, resist the urge to simply give them branded promotional items. If you want them to have such items, choose another occasion to offer them. For the holidays, you need something a little less cliché.

Here are 5 unique gift ideas for this holiday season, with international shipping options for your global clientbase:

  1. Fudge or toffee: If your budget is tight but your heart is wide, a gift of toffee from may be just the thing. It is more unique than chocolates, and can be ordered in various quantities and packaging to match your budget. Check out Julie’s Gourmet Fudge or Pop Organic which ship worldwide.
  2. A cute mug: If you know your contacts on a personal level, you can buy a mug that fits their hobbies or humor. If not, get them a mug you’re sure the’ll enjoy drinking from anyway, like this neat constellation mug that changes when filled with a hot beverage.
  3. A great book + a great deed: Give a good book and do good at the same time. Better World Books makes a donation to international literacy funds and libraries with every book sold. The selection is huge, and what’s more – free shipping worldwide.
  4. Travel charging station: Pros on the go will appreciate this travel charging kit offered by RAVPower, which sports four USB ports for charging up to 4 electronic devices at once. Perfect for international clients, as both
  5. Personalized mouse pad: Design a personalized mouse pad or include an inspirational image or quote. Check out this option and many more from Shutterfly, or get in touch with a local printer near you.

Giving the Gift of Convenience

As a freelancer, you know that maintaining good relationships with your professional contacts will keep you in business in the coming year. There is one more gift that you can give to all your clients – the gift of convenience. Payoneer streamlines payment processing for your clients all year long. Check out our payment processing solutions for freelancers here.

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