Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Clients + Tips

Iced Christmas cookies in a tin box.The holidays are a nice time to give a gift of thanks to those people responsible for your pay check – your clients.  It can, however, be hard to think of the perfect holiday gift to give. You want the gift to be special but at the same time you don’t want it to be so over-the-top that it comes across as inappropriate.

The best gifts are the ones that are thoughtful. A thoughtful gift is one that…

• Fulfills a desire your clients mentioned in passing

• Relates to the work you are doing for them

• Helps them with some everyday task

You should only give gifts to current clients with whom you have an established relationship (not necessarily ones you have just recently met and definitely not ones you are currently negotiating with). You don’t want your gift to appear as a bribe.

Be sure good past clients who you haven’t touched base with in a year are on your list.  You don’t, of course, want to give anything to former clients who ended their relationship with you on bad terms.

And don’t leave out the people who refer lots of clients to you and with whom you have a good and ongoing relationship.

If you are still struggling to think of the perfect gift to give, here are some ideas…

The Gift of Food

Gifts in a Jar

There are all kinds of layered mixes for soups, cookies, cakes, Chai tea and anything else you can dream up. Layer the ingredients in a mason or canning jar. Make a decorative label with instructions. These gifts are fun, decorative and personal.

Vanilla Extract

It tastes so much better than store-bought and all you need is a good vodka (or rum), vanilla beans, and a jar. The beans need to be split in half and you should use about 3 vanilla beans for each cup of vodka. Store in a dark cabinet, shake every few weeks and in about 8 weeks you’ll have vanilla extract. You can either leave the beans in or take them out. If you leave them in the flavor will continue to mature.

What’s nice about making your own is you can experiment with all the different vanilla varieties and even come up with your own special, signature vanilla blend.

Spice Rubs

These would be a welcome treat and make seasoning meat and fish so much easier for your clients on the days you don’t cook for them.

Pickled Vegetables from Your Summer Garden

And if you don’t have a garden, you can pick up some vegetables from your local farmer’s market. All kinds of vegetables pickle well including carrots, radishes, cucumbers, onions and more.

Spiced Nuts

There are so many different spice combinations you can use. Experiment and make your own recipe. Spiced nuts often have a combination of the following kinds of spices and flavors:

Hot and Savory Spices: Tabasco, chili powder, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, rosemary
Sweet: Maple syrup, honey, sugar
Salty: Sea salt, soy sauce

Marketing Tip:
Double whatever you give to your clients so they have an easy gift to give to someone else if they want to. You will make your client’s life easier and you end up promoting yourself and your business too as long as you include a label or tag with your contact information.

Always package whatever you do in a creative, decorative, fun way. Special packaging will make your gift all the more special.

The Gift of an Experience

Instead of giving a homemade food gift, consider giving some kind of experience since experiences are known to give more satisfaction than things. Perhaps give a free pass to your clients to attend one of your upcoming cooking classes. Or maybe host a holiday party for your clients and tell them they can bring a friend. This way you are treating your clients to something special, but you are also getting a chance to introduce yourself to their friends who may become future clients.

Keep your receipts. Gifts for clients are tax deductible. You are allowed to deduct up to $25 worth in gifts for one individual per year.

Want more ideas? Below are some links to websites with all kinds of holiday food gift ideas along with decorative packaging concepts.

What gifts are you giving your clients this year? Please share in the comment section below.

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