A bad present. A present that communicates “I really don’t care about you.” You know the ones, where someone at the very last minute on the 24th said, “Oh, pick something up for the staff, but we have no budget for it! So make it sure it’s GOOD!”
We’ve all been there. We’ve all witnessed the sheer dissatisfaction on someone’s face because they realize how shitty their present is. But because it’s a “present,” you can’t tell them that. You can’t say anything, especially if the boss came up with the idea. You’re stuck between a rock and a shitty present.
A Gift Communicates an Emotion
A present sends a message to whom you’re giving it. Sometimes no present is better than an ill-thought-out present. When it comes to corporate gift-giving, people judge you based on what you buy and put your logo on. Maybe not consciously, but deep down inside, every time you give someone a gift they form an opinion about you (whether it’s true or false). That’s why it’s wise to understand what message your “gift” is sending.
The Best Corporate Christmas Gift Ever
The best corporate gift I’ve gotten would have to be one I received from Creative Options Regina. One year, they put their logo on a Roots sweater. Yup, that Roots. It was a high quality bunny-hug that didn’t have their logo plastered all over it; they actually put a small logo at the bottom of the sweater, barely showing. At their Christmas party, they gave them out and you should have seen the look on people’s faces.
When you care about your people, you want them wearing your logo. When you care more about your people, you know that they don’t want a big logo on the chest, but a subtle logo instead, which shows confidence in the brand and demonstrates an eye for design. I wore my COR sweater a lot, to the point that I wore it out several years later. What an awesome Christmas gift! Since then, COR has done water bottles (not the cheap ones either!), bags and socks. I can hardly wait for what this year’s will be.
Above are the shirts Creative Options Regina gave away for 2019 COR’s 100 Acts of Kindness Campaign, rewarding 100 people in Regina for being kind.
The Worst Corporate Christmas Gift Ever
Last year around Christmas, I accidentally went to a leadership team’s Christmas lunch. It was fine, until the presents were handed out. I don’t think I was supposed to get one but they had an extra, so they said “yes take one!“. Little did I know what I would uncover in that fateful Christmas bag.
I got to my car and opened the bag. It was a homemade wooden cutting block that no one would use (does anyone use “wooden” cutting boards anymore? Everyone knows they’re a nightmare to clean!). And the kicker was the brie cheese to go along with the cutting board THAT WAS 50% OFF?!? No jokes. They gave away discounted cheese to the half dozen people who were running the organization.
Could you imagine giving the people who you work with the most – the people making your organization tick, the reason you’re still here – HALF-PRICE CHEESE? The savings were literally $3-4 per gift. Was it worth it? Was it worth sending a message to your executive team that they’re worth 50% less than normal?
Now almost a year later, half of those people aren’t with the organization anymore. We aren’t with the organization anymore. Being cheap with your Christmas presents sends a message that you don’t care about the long-term or people, you just care about saving money. I don’t want to point fingers, but the discounted cheese gift could be a sign that other things are going wrong for the organization.
Giving someone half price cheese really makes them feel like they’re a half-price employee. Gifts matter, and you can do better. And if you’re still wondering what to get your team, just ask COR – they have some great ideas!!