It’s true… the holiday shopping season is at last (again!) upon us. If you haven’t before, now’s the time to think about holiday gift giving for those in your personal and professional lives. Choosing gifts is no easy task at any time of year, most especially when tiresome things like budgets and hectic schedules get in the way. Reports say that we’re all in a bad mood as we set our holiday budges — worried about the economy and a recovery that feels like anything but.
But then, what people say, and what they do, are often different things.
The good news is that with a bit of planning, some time and effort, you can be one of those annoying people who finishes shopping early, on budget and is free to enjoy themselves for the rest of the season. Boo (oh, that was yesterday, sorry)
Anyhow, when it comes to holiday shopping the first thing is to create a list. The list is your ally in this, so put some time in here. As you might imagine, there are apps galore for this. The best ones are always free. But I find that pen and small portable note pad work just as well as the high tech approach. Start by getting a handle on just who you really, truly need to buy a gift, and then what that item might be. Hobbies and interests are a great place to start. Essentials based on things you know about their lives are also good.
If you’re a business owner, and you’ve spent the year with some hardworking employees, thinking of them at this time of year is a must. Don’t assume that working for you is gift enough… let me tell you, it isn’t. When a boss (or a company) remembers employees with a gift, even something small like a scarf or knit hat, people notice, they feel appreciated… sometimes in spite of themselves. You’ve taken a single step (hopefully one of many) toward building a relationship.
Of course finances play into the gift giving. Just as in your personal life, you can only spend so much. Then there’s this… an expensive gift doesn’t bring you any more goodwill than a simpler, but more thoughtful or personalized one, in costly trinkets might well do the opposite… foster resentment on how you could afford a nice gift but no raises this year. Spending on something simple, but everyday useful, is often the longer lasting, more appreciated gift.
Once you’ve got the who and how much sorted out, it’s time to go shopping. You’ll want to get the best your money can buy, as this item will represent the value you place on the relationship to the person who gets it. Quality counts, but you don’t need to overpay, just as you shouldn’t jump at every discount that comes your way — restrictions and trade-offs in service are often not worth, in the end, what you saved.
Getting the gift is only part of your task, putting something of yourself into the gift makes all the difference. You might:
- include a personal note of gratitude just for the employee
- add smaller items to larger gifts of home made goodies
- enclose with gift cards for local restaurants, the movies, things you KNOW your customers do/like
- deliver the gift in person, a quick, smiling stop, no selling, and you’re on your way
Keep checking off items as you get them, and store everything in one place. The list is your master, you must not stop until everything on it is crossed out. If you apply effort, this really doesn’t take as long as complaining about shopping/wrapping does.
Speaking of wrapping… this can be done depending on your gift list of course, in a matter of hours, longer if you’re like me and like the presents looking especially festive. Doing this job all at once generally works best. Be sure you’ve gotten some supplies, in the right sizes, for what you have and be sure to have enough tape… blast the carols and get to work. How the gift is presented is yet another opportunity for you to put part of yourself in the gift… to show the other the value you put on the relationship.
And then there’s this — the gift spends a good deal of its time wrapped and ready — a festive, fun holiday display for home or office.