Last Minute Corporate Gift Ideas for When Time is Running Out

No one has to tell you that your business relationships are important. Saying thank you and showing your appreciation creates a good rapport with your colleagues, partners, and clients. One of the best ways to do this is with thoughtful and timely gifts. But often in the busy business world it’s not possible to spend a great deal of time picking the perfect gift for every person you work with.

Below is a list of easy and flexible gift ideas you can find even if you are down to the last minute.

Gift Baskets

Gift baskets might seem overdone but people still enjoy receiving them. They are a great idea if you just don’t know what the recipient might like. For example, cheese and crackers, chocolate, coffee, and other delectable goodies are pretty universally appreciated. And gift baskets usually are comprised of consumable items. So you don’t have to worry about burdening someone with an unwanted gift that will only collect dust.

Another advantage of the gift basket is the large variety of items it can feature. This can be handy if you are buying a single gift for several people. Think of a colleague with a family or an entire office. Many stores carry gift baskets too, so if you are in a hurry you can purchase one quickly. Another plus is that they come already wrapped, saving you time. Pick one that is elegantly packaged and packed with treats anyone would love.


A nice watch with classic design makes a thoughtful and useful gift too. It’s also something you can quickly buy at a store if you are short on time. Buying accessories for someone else can be tricky, of course. That’s especially true if you are not familiar with their personal tastes. However, don’t shrink away from the idea because of that. Gifting a watch may be simpler than you think.

Try looking for watches in more timeless styles. Leather or metal bands are good. Avoid plastic or rubber since these materials can look cheaper. Look for solid color faces and neutral finishes. Remember, this is a business accessory to be worn with casual business attire. It doesn’t need to be fancy. It just needs to look nice.

Serving and Kitchen Ware

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The popularity of hosting and entertaining opens up another avenue of gift giving. There are so many options when it comes to kitchen and serving ware. You can find a countless number of beautiful, useful items in a large range of prices. Even better, these items are easy to find whether you shop online or visit a nearby store.

Consider gifting a rustic wine trough or maybe a hand carved serving bowl. Stemware is always a nice option, too. Bottle tags, elegant utensils, interesting serving boards, tea infusers — the list seems endless. Try to choose items made from nicer materials like wood, ceramic, glass, or crystal. It will make a bigger impact and often won’t cost any more than a plastic version. The point is to choose items that are as nice to look at as they are useful.

Food and Wine

Wine’s popularity and ready availability makes it great for any occasion, and everybody eats food. Couple these two together and you’ve got the perfect last minute gift. Even separately, it’s hard to go wrong with this gift idea. You can find lovely options at just about any grocery store or beverage retailer. If you have a little extra time, you can even track down a specialty shop for something a little fancier.

You may not know much about wine. But you can ask an employee at a wine retailer to help you select something suitable. When purchasing a gift of food, look for attractive packaging and items a little out of the ordinary. Ethnic food shops, gourmet stores, and local delis will have a better selection of unique options. However, if you just don’t have the time, even something with attractive packaging from the local grocery store will be appreciated.

Flowers and Plants

A bouquet of flowers or a houseplant make a beautiful gift and are easy to find anywhere. You can order them online and have them delivered if the recipient lives far away. It’s also easy to visit the the local florist and select an arrangement. Even many grocery stores carry bouquets and potted plants. So if you are really short on time, you can pick up a gift while doing your regular shopping.

If the recipient has a love of plants and likes greenery in his or her office, consider the potted option. It’s a gift that will remind the recipient of you year round. Bouquets and arrangements are better if you are not sure the person wants the responsibility of keeping a plant alive. Either way this is a great idea that brings a little nature indoors.

Office Decor

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If you are really short on time and need a gift fast, office decor is another option. Gifting decorative items can be a little daunting, but office decor need not be. You are not looking for items that coordinate with the recipient’s home decorating, so you can be a little more generic. Avoid art, pictures, linens, pillows, or cheesy novelty items. Think paperweights, calendars, desk organizers, clocks, and name plates.

Choose items with neutral colors and natural finishes. You don’t want to give anything that will feel cheap.Instead, look for products made from stone, wood, glass, or ceramic. A hand blown glass paperweight might be one example. There are also desk calendars made from heavy paper and featuring vintage art. A granite desk organizer could also be a great gift. So could a glass name plate. There are lots of elegant and attractive options to be found in any price range.


Not everyone may be a reader, but books, depending on the type, can still be good gift. A motivational book or one full of business tips and tricks would both make great gifts and are not subject to individual tastes. If you have a favorite book that has influenced you, this might be a good place to start. Cookbooks are also a great idea, if you aren’t sure the recipient will want to read a business book.

You can peruse your local bookstore’s motivational section to identify different options. Department stores will also sometimes have a book section. Even some grocery stores carry books. If you are in doubt about a title and haven’t read it yourself, never fear. It’s easy to look up reviews online. There are so many options available it’s hard to go wrong.

Candles and Bath Sets

Candles and bath sets make great last minute gifts. You can find them just about anywhere and pricing varies from a few dollars to those in a much more expensive range. Pick up a candle and some bath salts, wrap them up, and you are good to go. Or maybe buy a gift set that is packaged for you. It’s a flexible gift idea with a lot of options.

And just because candles and bath sets are viewed as generic gifts doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to make them special and unique. Consider finding a specialty shop, or a locally made option. Maybe you know of a health food store that has a candle section. Or look for a retailer selling handmade soap. Seek out items that are special and unique. Try goats milk soap, soy or beeswax candles, or specialty bath salts. Even everyday stores can carry some options. The sky’s the limit with this gift idea.

Gift Cards

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If all else fails a gift card is an easy and quick idea. It may not be appropriate to give a gift card to some people on your list, but in many cases it works just fine. Gift cards might also be the ultimate last minute gift idea because you can purchase them almost anywhere. It’s hard to find a store or restaurant that doesn’t carry them. And some grocery stores even have a gift card section with options from larger retailers and restaurants.

You can try to make a gift card more personal, if you know some of the recipient’s tastes. For example, consider one from your  recipient’s favorite restaurant or local boutique. If he or she has a hobby or interest, you could focus your search there. It’s even possible to purchase gift cards for online retailers like Amazon. This gift idea may be last minute, but you can make it special with a bit of care.

Use some strategy and creativity and you can give a great gift without stressing yourself out or spending too much time. Hopefully this list of corporate gift ideas inspires the perfect gift to express your appreciation for those important relationships in your business.

Shutterstock images: Gifts, Bowl, Hand Blown Glass, Gift Card

Check out our Business Gift Giving Guide for more tips about holiday trends.

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Tabby McFarland

Tabby McFarland Tabby McFarland is a staff writer and web researcher for Small Business Trends. As a staff writer she specializes in social media, technology, special interest features, and e-commerce. A geek at heart, Tabby loves to be online interacting with the blogging community. Tabby is a WAHM (work at home mom) and is also an avid Pinterest enthusiast with a strong sense of style and creativity.

5 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    For our office that has more women than men, kitchen ware is a good idea. But it should be carefully chosen or it will not be used. For me, I also like giving personalized items.

  2. Yes gifting is always considered as best way to express feeling towards the well wishers or customers. But a corporate needs to be selective in choosing the best for their loyal clients, at the same time budget also needs to be considered. That is why watches or books are best way to make the clients feel good & happy.

  3. Gift giving is a pretty thoughtful thing to do, business or not. I’d appreciate anything given, just for the mere gesture of it – but if I was given a choice, a gift basket or gift card would be lovely. 🙂

  4. Last minute corporate gift giving is our thing. These are all great suggestions but clients usually prefer sending gifts that are personalized and, since you don’t know the personal or religious preferences of the client, something that is almost universally useful and appropriate i.e. silver pens, scarves, thermal mugs etc..

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