Gift, Cash Or Greeting Card?


Cash, Gift or Greeting Card?

Ah, the age-old question during the Holiday season: Cash, gift or greeting card? A question that has plagued even the best and most prepared Holiday shopper. When it comes to this dilemma, there are certain guidelines that you can follow to help you answer that question without suffering the stress of the final decision.

The two biggest categories of business gifts given are:

  • cash (gift cards or gift certificates equal to a certain dollar amount are considered a cash equivalent)
  • physical items

You’ll have to be the one to decide which makes more sense.  Although as a general rule:

  • clients get gifts, not cash
  • employees and/or service providers can receive cash (including gift card equivalents) or gifts
  • some businesses (especially larger companies) still follow the American industrial tradition of giving all employees a food gift, such as a turkey.  In recent years some have started substituting a gift certificate to a local grocery store, to allow employees to choose their own food preferences.

The experience gift

A trend in recent years is to give an “experience” in place of a physical gift.  Keep in mind that experiences rather than physical gifts can impress the recipient. Sporting event tickets, theater or museum tickets create an experience and leave an impression that they’ll remember far longer than a candle or decorative item.  So consider a gift of a terrific event for top sales performers in your company, or for your very best clients.

Greeting cards

If you’re on a tight budget, a greeting card (i.e., Christmas card or increasingly, a Thanksgiving or New Year’s card) can be an alternative for clients.  It shows you care enough to think of them and do something to reach out and thank them for their patronage.

Greeting cards are nice for employees and service providers, but try to do something more than a card for them unless your financial situation is dire.

Paper greeting cards are still the norm, although electronic greeting cards have been a growing trend in recent years. A custom designed electronic greeting card makes a nice statement.  But if you haven’t created something custom, electronic cards from are tasteful and unique enough to feel almost like a gift versus an ordinary card.

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Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

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