ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Business Gifts: How to Decide Whether to Give for Holidays or Not

Updated on February 13, 2019
heidithorne profile image

Heidi Thorne is the author of "SWAG: How to Choose and Use Promotional Products for Marketing Your Business."


When the economy is challenging, small business owners and entrepreneurs struggle with the question of whether to give holiday business gifts to customers. Which ones have been naughty or nice? Should everyone get something? How about cards?

Let's get real. Unless they're family or very close friends, is anyone expecting gifts from vendors? Probably not. There are a few reasons for this. First, people are busy and getting goodies from vendors is a nice surprise, not a necessity. Second, in light of economic challenges of the past several years, many companies have either decreased or completely eliminated their holiday gifting programs for customers. This is becoming more of a norm than an anomaly. Lastly, people are becoming more sensitive to green issues (of the eco friendly kind) and many view unnecessary holiday gifts as wasteful.

Since the holidays are at the end of the year, conserving cash is a priority. Don't waste it on gifts that may be unnecessary or even unwanted. Here are some tips for making business gift decisions.

3 Ways to Decide Who Should Get Business Gifts

All that being said, giving gifts to top clients is a great way to thank them for their loyalty and support. But even then, some sort of ranking of customers should be used to make decisions on who gets gifts. One of the following strategies can be used to rank customers:

  • Percentage of Total Revenue. For those customers who represent a large percentage of total sales for the year, some gift is appropriate.
  • Top 10 Customers. Similar to using percentage of total revenue as a guide, a business can easily take the top 10 (or whatever number) customers in terms of sales and elect to send them gifts.
  • Dollar Value. Looking again at sales from each customer, a decision can be made to give gifts only to those who have purchased a certain dollar amount. For example, only customers who have spent $5,000 or more will get a gift.

To Card or Not to Card

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs worry that because every customer is valuable, customers will feel slighted if they don't get something, even a card. Wrong! Remember that sending cards can be a significant expense. Good quality imprinted holiday cards can run up to a couple bucks each, plus postage and the cost of signing, stuffing and shipping out the cards, even if the business owner does them herself. Again, using one of the above decision strategies can help make the cuts on who should get cards.

Also consider that for smaller customers, a variety of lower cost greeting solutions are available. Online email broadcast services offer customized postcard mailings for cents, not dollars, each.

And don't forget email! This reduces the holiday spend to pennies each. Keep the greeting in the email, as opposed to "Click this link for our holiday greeting." Who has time to click that link? And if it really is a link to a funny or entertaining video, make the email and its subject line a good teaser of what they'll find when they click (example, "You always wanted to see Rhonda dance, right? Here ya go!"). Realize, too, that many people may note that an email is a holiday greeting and not open it. But yet they'll note that the business did send them a greeting so the email still has value even if unopened.

Getting Lost

Also consider that gifts given during the traditional holiday season can easily get lost in the shuffle. So consider giving business gifts at lesser holidays. Giving gifts around New Years, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and Halloween can gain bigger impact since they may be the only gift received at those times.

Giving gifts on other minor holidays may also be in line with the business' market, cause or industry. For example, an organization that supports moms may wish to give gifts around Mother's Day. However, exercise caution when selecting these holidays so as not to appear to be capitalizing on the suffering of others, i.e. avoid days that commemorate someone's death or a tragedy.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 Heidi Thorne


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)