Choosing the right Christmas gift is never easy, especially when it comes to finding presents for staff or clients. In this article we look at some useful suggestions and guidelines to consider when shopping for corporate Christmas gifts.
Corporate gift ideas for clients
Fruit baskets are a very common corporate gift, but you could give them a special touch by including sweet treats, speciality teas, or a product that your region is well known for. Flower bouquets are another option, although if you are planning on sending flowers to an international client do some research first to ensure that you are not sending “unlucky” flowers.
Another popular option is to give your clients tickets to events (theatre plays, sporting events, etc.). However, it is advisable to avoid giving tickets for events that take place in December, as your clients may already have plans or may be busy attending other social events.
Other original ideas include tea or coffee growing kits, eco-friendly gifts (like organic goods, fair trade leather photo albums, or no-electricity espresso makers), artwork, personalised paper weights, or decorative items.
Gift ideas for staff
Christmas hamper baskets and stationery items are popular staff gifts, but there is a wide range of options that includes luxury goods (such as wine, fountain pens, fine chocolates, etc.), electronic gadgets (digital photo frames, USB chargers, iPhone accessories), tickets to events or concerts, and day out experiences (like weekend breaks, distillery tours, paintballing, spa treatments, etc.).
Gifts to avoid
Although each company has its own guidelines in terms of what is and what isn’t acceptable as a gift, there are some general principles that must be taken into consideration when choosing a corporate gift. For example, some companies in the United Kingdom avoid giving cash or cash equivalents to their clients (like gift cards or gift certificates), as the economic value of these gifts is too evident.
It is also recommended to avoid giving promotional items (such as pens, calendars, or any other item which carries your company’s logo) as Christmas gifts. This type of gifts are part of a company’s marketing strategy, and mixing marketing with the festive Christmas spirit could be awkward. Alcohol is best avoided unless you know the preferences of your client. If you are in doubt, you can always check your client’s corporate gift policy in order to avoid embarrassing situations.
As for staff gifts, it is better to avoid clothing or personal items like jewellery or perfumes.
The protocol of giving and receiving gifts from clients
When it comes to gift-giving in the corporate world, there is an additional consideration that must be taken into account. Some companies and organisations have a corporate policy that governs the giving and receiving of gifts and hospitality. In some cases, this policy is incorporated into the company’s Code of Conduct.
The main purpose of having a Gifts and Entertainment corporate policy is to ensure transparency and to avoid misunderstandings. This is particularly relevant if your company has foreign clients or business partners, as in some cultures the giving of certain gifts could be interpreted as bribery rather than as a gesture of goodwill. A corporate policy on gift-giving usually specifies things like what types of gifts are acceptable, what is the maximum value allowed, or who the authorised providers should be. It is also wise to keep a log detailing all the gifts given and/or received, what their nature was, and who was the recipient.
Tax information on business gifts
In some cases, gifts and hospitality given to clients and employees are tax deductible expenses. Companies can claim VAT back on goods or services that have been given as a gift if:
the value of a gift does not exceed £50 and / or has the company’s name on it (the £50 limit applies to the total value of any gifts that you may have given to the same person over a period of 12 months). It is important to note that items like gift tokens, tobacco, food, and drinks are not tax deductible
you provide entertainment for employees (like a staff Christmas party or a day out). However, the total cost per person must not exceed £150
For further information, please refer to the HM Revenue and Customs website.