That is the question I see asked in web design communities across the interwebs: Should I send my clients a gift during the holidays?

Here is my perfect answer: it’s up to you.

For me, as I get towards the December season, my wallet faces a lot of competition: charitable giving, gifts for family and friends, holiday food, drink and decor (I like a big tree and lots of poinsettia’s, no apologies), school fees due in January, taxes on the horizon, etc etc etc.  So when I think of another expense AND the abhorrent thought of going to the post office, it gives me pause.

Over the years I have both sent gifts and not, and I can’t say that either one was particularly met with overwhelming positives or negatives, but, on the pro side:

  • It is a very nice way to gently touch base with your clients.  It lets them know that you are thinking of them and appreciate their business.
  • It pulls you out of the perception of “freelancer” into a proper business category.
  • You can write off gifts as a business expense.
  • When you consider that you can probably get something thoughtful and nice for $20 per client and you have been paid thousands, it’s really not that much of an expense.

Some things I have done in the past:

  • Trade.  One year I did a website for a woman who owns a bakery and does mail order shipments.  I bartered cookies for time and she sent out all my gifts.  This ticked a lot of boxes for me: I skipped the post office and didn’t have an out of pocket expense.
  • I sent everyone 1lb bags of coffee from a local friend owned company (Jim’s Organic Coffee) they have a holiday blend and the proceeds go to an elementary school in South America.  I had them print out a little story about the school to let them know about the donation and explain the holiday blend.  By the time I bought the boxes, the tissue for the inside and went to the post office I had doubled the cost of the coffee.
  • I did a bulk order of car phone chargers and sent them out with a little card.  Very inexpensive, but I ordered at least 100, and I think I needed to send out 20 – anyone needs a charger, send me a note 🙂

If you are going to gift:

  • I would avoid giving something that is branded with your logo.  Maybe it’s fine, use your judgement.  If you are going to give away coffee cups with your name on them, I would say send those after your launch a website, not during the holidays.
  • Consider giving your time.  A gift certificate for an hour of your time, or make them holiday banners, or offer a workshop for SEO, how to use Canva, MailChimp, be a better blogger, use social media, etc.
  • Go back to my idea of trade.  The cookie client was a perfect fit, perhaps you have a strategic alignment you could use.

[The Smallest] Jackery Mini 3350mAh Portable Charger – External Battery Pack, Premium Aluminum Power Bank, Portable iPhone Charger for iPhone 7, 6s, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S6 (Black)

Bluelounge Cableyoyo Lime verde

Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Generation)

editorial comment: I gave this last year as a gift, I bought it on Black Friday and it was on SALE and it was a HUGE hit.  If you don’t have Alexa, it super cool and the Dot is a low entry cost, maybe even get it for yourself 🙂

Water Bottles

editorial comment: we all need to hydrate more!

Build-On Brick Mug Coffee Cup DIY Type Plastic Creative Building Blocks Coffee Tea Beverage Drinking Funny Gift

editorial comment: The mug idea has been done to death, because it is actually a good idea.  This combines the mug with a toy, which could be fun for playful clients.


2 Gallon Tin of Gourmet Butter Popcorn

editorial comment: gifts that can be consumed are nice, especially if there is an office full of people.

Please weigh in and let me know your thoughts, if you are gifting, price points and of course, what you are sending!  I love your feedback,

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

EIleen Lonergan
Eileen Lonergan was an integral part of this company. Unfortunately, Eileen Passed away on the 31st of October 2018 after a short battle with Cancer. She leaves behind the legacy of the Divi Theme Users Group and hundreds of people that she helped through coaching, building outstanding websites and just being - accessible. We miss her every day!
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