The Worst Christmas Gifts Ever, and 5 Tips for Corporate Gifting this Holiday Season

    When it comes to the worst Christmas gifts ever, I can’t help but think about the 1989 holiday movie classic, “Christmas Vacation.” In one of the final scenes of the movie, the lead character finally receives his much-anticipated holiday gift from his boss. He excitedly tears into the gift only to realize… drumroll please… his boss gifted him a subscription to a jelly-of-the-month club. Womp, womp! It may have been a gift that kept giving all year long, but I think for most of us, monthly jellies would easily top the list of worst holiday gifts!

    I’ve received a few doozies over the years myself. None, however, compared to some of the horrible Christmas gifts you all told us have ended up on your desks! 

    We asked on LinkedIn about the worst corporate gifts you’ve ever gotten, and these were some of the highlights (err, lowlights!):

    - A branded company calendar

    - The ever-present stress ball

    - A frozen turkey with a company logo sticker on it

    - A mouse pad with the boss’ face on it (I sure hope it was a gag gift!) 

    There’s something to be said for being memorable, but I’m pretty sure being remembered as the person who sent a 12-pound frozen hunk of meat wasn’t what any of the gift-givers in the above examples were going for!

    So what would it take to pull off one of the best corporate gifts ever? After designing and shipping gifts for over a thousand clients over the past several years, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to wow your recipients with a gift they’ll love. And it may be simpler than you think! Here are 5 easy tips for nailing your corporate gifts this holiday season:

    Tip #1

    Start Early!

    I know thinking about holiday gifts doesn’t always make it to the top of your to-do list before December, but leaving your holiday gifts for the eleventh hour is a recipe for a holiday gifting disaster! Although you may not have even planned your Halloween costumes yet, October really is the best time to select and order your holiday gifts! Impactful, memorable gifting takes time to execute well. And this is never truer than in Q4, when other factors, like shipping delays and inventory shortages, come to play. With a supply chain that’s still reeling from the effects of a global pandemic, starting on your gifts early is more important than ever!

    Tip #2

    Incorporate thoughtful branding

    Think about a gift that you would like to receive from your boss or someone else you work with. What does it look like? Is it full of branded tchotchkes and trinkets? I’m guessing probably not! You wouldn’t be alone in your answer, either—according to a recent business gifting study, only 15% of respondents said logoed gifts make them feel special. We’re all for including some branded elements in holiday gifts, but we find the gifts that receive the best responses connect with recipients in a thoughtful way. Rather than slapping your logo on every single item, think about how you can be intentional with your branding and try to gift some non-branded items your recipients will enjoy! Remember, the best holiday gifts are the gifts that people actually want to keep.

    Tip #3

    Tell a story

    Holiday gifting provides such a great opportunity for your company to communicate its values and connect with recipients in truly meaningful ways. Rather than just sending a gift for the sake of it (or because you feel obligated during the holiday season!), try to think strategically and create goals for your gifts that will help guide the gift concept. In our experience, gifts built around company values or gifts that tell a story are the ones that are talked about for many holiday seasons to come. Need some inspo? Check out some of our favorite past projects.

    Tip #4

    Include a thoughtful note

    It may be tempting to skip or gloss over writing a note to pair with your gifts, but this is really your chance to shine and make your recipients feel extra-special. Did your employees rock a tough year? Tell them how awesome they are! Did your clients come back time and time again? Thank them for their loyal support! Thoughtful words + a thoughtful gift are ingredients for a gift that easily reaches “best gift ever” status. If you want to turn up the wow-factor a notch higher, try adding a QR code to your notecard—this could take recipients to a special holiday message on your website or even a holiday playlist that you’ve curated. Bonus points if you or your team film a holiday video and tell the story behind the gift! It’s fun, interactive and gives you more time and space to convey just how much you appreciate your recipients!

    Tip #5

    Have Fun!

    Holiday gifting is a chance for you to show your company’s personality and celebrate your gift recipients. Yes, we hope you’ll include thoughtful branding. And yes, we love to see gifts that tell a story. But don’t forget to have a little fun with your gifts, too! Let your company’s unique characteristics, quirks and sense of humor shine through, and your recipients will surely thank you for a gift that stands out from the crowd!

    Finally, because I always love a bonus, I’ll leave you with one last bonus tip: holiday gifts don’t just have to be for end-of-the-year holidays! I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes sending corporate gifts outside of the normal holiday deluge can be even more impactful. Have you ever thought about sending a Happy New Fiscal Year corporate gift? Or even a gift for a more random “holiday,” like National Juggling Day? With just a little bit of creativity, the possibilities for memorable holiday gifting are truly endless!

    Want to see EXACTLY what we do for clients?

    Check out our case study on Warner Music Group's holiday gifts! See how they used our tech solutions so employees could choose their favorite gift.
    Read More

    Looking for help with holiday gifts this year?

    Learn more about our corporate holiday gifting capabilities and what it's like working with us.
    Learn More