5 Steps to Successful Corporate Holiday Gifts in 2023    

During the holiday season, corporate holiday gifting is an important aspect of expressing appreciation for employees and business partners. To ensure successful corporate holiday gifting, research needs to be conducted about the best holiday gifts for any budget. Additionally, understanding individual tastes and preferences is necessary when selecting holiday gifts. When providing employee holiday gifts, employers should invest in quality corporate gifting that reflects the values of the company. Holiday gifts should show that an employer has taken time to think about employees’ personal interests and professional successes. Overall, corporate holiday gifting results in improved morale among those whose loyalty contributes so much to a company’s success.

As 2023 nears the end it is time to start thinking about employee holiday gifts.   Holiday gifts for staff and clients is a great way for a company or organization to show their appreciation for everything that was accomplished in 2023. 


Five Steps to Successful Business Holiday Gifting

Most companies don’t employ a Director of Corporate Gifting.   Generally, an executive assistant or someone from the HR team is tasked with coordinating the company holiday gifts.  Unfortunately, that individual still has all of their other responsibilities in addition to the gifting campaign, which can be stressful.  If you have been asked to coordinate the company gifts this year you are in the right place.  In this article we will provide you with the information and tools you need to make your 2023 holiday gifts the best the company has ever sent out.  By following the five steps below you will be well on your way to gifting greatness. 

  1. Start Your Corporate Gifts Early
  2. Determine Your Gifting Budget Budget
  3. Involve Key Stakeholders in Your Organization
  4. Select a Theme for Your Gift Contents and Packaging
  5. Pick the Right Gifting Partner

1) Start your 2023 Holiday Gifting Plans Early

September 2023 Calendar

Starting to plan employee and client holiday gifts in September can make all the difference for the success of your gifting program. The earlier you begin, the more time you will have to find a reliable gifting partner and build up a personalization strategy. It could also give you an opportunity to take advantage of early-season discounts that may become available as retailers seek to control their inventory levels. With plenty of time to research gift options available, including customizing individual pieces if necessary, you can be sure that each employee or client will have something special and appropriate for this particular holiday season. Planning your gifting program as early as possible is a wise decision that could save many headaches later on down the road.

Most years we encourage our corporate clients to finalize their large holiday gifts by early October.  This year we are recommending that large gift orders be placed by early September to ensure gift items can be sourced from our partners in time.  While we will do everything possible to prepare and ship corporate holiday orders placed later in the season we may have fewer choices of items for the gifts and costs may be higher for those products.   The key takeaway should be start as early as possible.

2) Determine Your Budget

The first step in planning your holiday gifting campaign is to set a budget.   As you think about your budget there are a few things to consider:

Shipping costs.   If your workforce is still working from home and you are planning to ship gifts directly to employees homes, a greater percentage of your overall gift price will go to shipping.   While shipping costs vary based on the weight and dimensions of your gift, as well as the destination address, you should plan at least $12 to $15 per gift in shipping costs.  If your overall budget is $50 for example, shipping will account for 20% to 25% of the cost of the gift.  Many carriers charge a shipping premium during the holidays so plan for that in your costs.

Gift packaging.   A great holiday gift is about much more than just the contents of the gift.   The presentation can be just as important.  Branded gift packaging can make a lasting impression on the recipient.   There are countless options when it comes to gift packaging and your gifting partner should offer multiple options in your budget.  Gift packaging can easily account for 20% to 25% of your gift price or even more if you choose a keepsake packaging option like a branded pine crate or branded backpack as your gift packaging.  

Gift contents.  If you prefer premium brands in your gifts you should plan to either increase your budget or reduce the number of items in your gifts.  For example, in 2020 many of our corporate clients wanted some type of tumbler with their company logo or employee's names in their gifts.  To some of those companies the brand of the tumbler was very important.  For example they may have wanted a Yeti branded tumbler.   The Yeti tumblers are great but they are also about 3x the cost of an equivalent generic tumbler.     As you determine gift contents you may have to balance the total number of items in the gift box with the specific branded items in the gift.

Average Amount Spent on Holiday Gifts for Employees

If you are not sure where to start with your budget, the following information may be helpful.  This information was compiled from our 2020 corporate holiday orders.

Amount Spent Per Employee on Holiday GIfts:

  • 18% of companies spent $49 or less per employee on holiday gifts
  • 42% of companies spent $50 to $74 per employee on holiday gifts
  • 21 of companies spent $75 to $99 per employee on holiday gifts
  • 14% of companies spent $100 to $149 per employee on holiday gifts 
  • 5% of companies spent $150 or more per employee on holiday gifts

With inflation the past three years you can safely add 10% to 20% to these costs.  

3) Involve Key Stakeholders in Your Organization

Corporate Gifting Committee

While you may have the primary responsibility for the holiday gifts it is important to involve the key stakeholders early in the process.   Key stakeholders may include but are not limited to:

Final Decision Maker.  This is the person who will ultimately approve cost and gift design
    Human Resources Team.  Work with your HR team to start verifying employee's home addresses to ensure gifts are delivered properly.  About 10% or more of your employees have moved in the last year and may not have notified HR. 
      Account Payable Team.  Many gifting companies will require a deposit to start your campaign.   If your gifting company is not already set up in your system as a vendor it may take a couple of weeks to make that happen. 
        Peers.  Even if it is not official you should create a holiday gifting committee with some of your peers to solicit their input on gift design.  It is good to get many ideas and opinions early in the process.

          4) Select a Theme for Your Gift Contents and Packaging

          Starting with a theme for your corporate holiday gifts will make it much easier to select the items in your gift boxes as well as the gift packing itself.  You can select anything for your theme but the list below includes some of the most common themes we see from our corporate clients:

          Holiday Theme.  These themes often include winter themed gifts such as hot cocoa, peppermint treats, blankets, cocoa or coffee mugs, etc.    

          Savory Snacks.  Popular items in this theme include meats, cheeses, nuts, cracker and other savory items.  

          Self Care.  In addition to tasty treats this theme might include scented candles, bath or spa products, and other relaxing items.  

          Home Office.  This option was very popular in 2023.   Items in this theme might include branded water bottles, notebooks and pens, power packs, blue light glasses, etc.  

          Sweet Snacks.  Always a popular theme this theme includes chocolates, wafers, cookies candy and other sweet treats.   

          For the Home.  With everyone staying home this past year this is also a popular theme.  Potential items might include items for the home like personalized cutting boards, coffee mugs, succulents, diffusers, candles, etc.

          Virtual Cocktail Hour.  With many companies choosing to send holiday gifts after Christmas the virtual cocktail hour is a great choice for ringing in the new year with personalized glassware, unique cocktail mixes, sparkling cider, etc.

          This is only a small sampling of themes to consider.   Other themes we worked with in 2020 include; around the world theme (food from around the world), western theme, DIY theme (hands on gifts), binge watching theme, etc.

          5) Pick the Right Gifting Partner

          Sending holiday gifts to your employees can be a significant expense.    You want to make sure you are maximizing the ROI for your campaign.   Picking the right gifting partner can make all of the difference.   With so many choices the list below will help you know what you should get with your gifting partner.

          Experienced Partner.  Make sure the gifting partner you choose has the experience and expertise to successfully execute your campaign.    Ask for examples of similar size gifting campaigns they have worked with in the past.  Ask for examples of other client's campaigns and if desired check references with those clients.

          Dedicated Account Manager.   A single point of contact for your organization that is easily accessible whenever you need them including weekends.

          Tools and Technology In-House.  Your gifting partner should have access to the tools and technology they need for a successful campaign such as in-house engraving/personalization, address verification, package tracking, etc.

          Fulfillment and Shipping Capacity.  Does your partner have a large enough warehouse to store your gifts until they are ready to ship?  Can they prepare  and ship hundreds of gifts a day?  Do they have heavily discounted shipping rates that they pass on to you?

          Committed Delivery Dates.   You want a company that will guarantee delivery dates and provide package tracking for each gift shipped.

          100% Satisfaction and Post Delivery Support.  Does your company have a toll free number for recipients to call if there are problems with their gifts?

          Small Extras Make a Difference.   The little details can make a big difference for your gifts.   Free personalized greeting cards, charitable donations for each gift and much more.  


          Corporate Gifting with Shadow Breeze

          With tens of thousands of holiday gifts shipped for corporate clients of all sizes, Shadow Breeze is your preferred partner for corporate gifting.  Our gift design, fulfillment and shipping expertise combined with our world class customer service truly makes gifting a breeze when you partner with Shadow Breeze.  Take the burden of corporate gifting off your shoulders and put it on ours this holiday season.   Reach out to one of our corporate gifting experts to see what we can do for you.  


          Corporate Holiday Gifts | Shadow Breeze


          August 19, 2021 — Matt Graham

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