Recent Posts

HR: Gift-Giving: Holiday Etiquette 101 -Tips for Gift-Giving at the Office

Choosing the right holiday gift for your colleagues, your boss, or your clients can be one more overwhelming task to add to your plate during the holiday season. That’s because gift-giving in the business environment has its own set of rules and guidelines. Author and etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore has put together the business gift-giving tips and advice you need to know before beginning your holiday shopping. Below are Whitmore’s “Whit-Bits” that every businessperson should keep in mind this holiday season.

Set a spending limit for gift-giving exchanges. Once a price limit is set among coworkers or for your office’s holiday gift exchange, make sure you stick to it. Limits help participants select an appropriate gift at an affordable price. Whenever you overspend, you run the risk of looking like a show-off. On the other hand, spending considerably below the norm might come off looking stingy.

Give thoughtful and useful gifts. Whether it’s for your boss, colleague, assistant or client, gifts that lend both organization and style to an office environment are always appreciated.

Tailor your gift to the taste and personality of the receiver. Keeping track of your clients’ and colleagues’ likes, dislikes, interests, and hobbies is always helpful at gift-giving time.

Consider corporate culture. Before sending any gifts to clients or vendors, it is best to check the receiver’s corporate policy guidelines on gift-giving. Otherwise, a well-intended gift may be returned to you.

Bring coworkers together to get your boss a gift. Brainstorm gift ideas with your colleagues and have everyone chip in on one group gift for the boss. If you work in a small office or know your boss well, it’s acceptable to give a smaller but personal gift, like a gift card, book, CD, or gift for his/her family or pet.

Personalize but don’t get too personal. Personalizing your gift shows your creative side while letting your recipient know that you’re an attentive listener. Just be careful to stay away from items that are too personal in nature, such as perfume, clothing, red roses, alcohol, or tobacco products.

Beware of humorous or gag gifts. Avoid giving a humorous gift if you don’t know a person well. What you might think is cute or funny may be offensive or insulting to someone else and could quickly damage or even sabotage a business relationship.

Always remember a personal note. The hand-written note adds a nice touch to any gift. Those deserving a note of thanks include anyone who’s given you advice, their time, or a helping hand this year. Appropriate wrapping paper and presentation are also very important, and whenever possible, try to give the gift in person.

Jacqueline Whitmore is the founder and director of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, the author of Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work, and the gift giving etiquette expert for Sam’s Club. To subscribe to her monthly e-newsletter, visit her Website at

-Peggy Duncan, SCORE Atlanta
View more posts by Peggy

I'm a productivity and technology speaker, trainer, author, and consultant. I own The Digital Breakthroughs Institute in Atlanta GA.


Managing: Ask Questions to Solve Problems

Arrive at Solutions Through Mentoring

solutions_sign_greenIt’s amazing how generous people can be–just ask. A colleague shared a quote that people may not give you money, but they will give you advice. And, then you can create your own wealth.

1. Test Your Idea. Entrepreneurs create wealth with new business ideas, a new efficiency, a niche product/service and sometimes with a radically new business model. If you have a great idea, talk to a mentor to look at its potential. Get feedback that help you fine tune your concept. Try the eMyth Entrepreneur’s Assessment Tool.

2. New to Consulting? When the economy dips, many professionals consider consulting as an option. Evaluate the idea carefully. Does it suit your workstyle? Are you ready to really market yourself to get clients? What is your strategy–short-term until you get another position or long-term, this is your new path. A mentor can help you set your course and plan next steps. Ask SCORE online.

3. Already in Business? Look at your sales forecast for 2009. Now is the time to plan ahead and really look at sales goals. Projections create problems, if they are too conservative or too optimistic. A mentor can help you look at scenarios and plan realistic sales targets. Download the sales forecast template and Find SCORE near you.

Get a second point of view to test your assumptions. This is the kind of feedback that offers solutions.

-Christine Banning, SCORE
  View more posts by Christine

For 50 years, SCORE has helped aspiring and current small business owners achieve their dreams. Through a network of over 11,000 volunteer business mentors in 340+ chapters across the country, SCORE connects decades of business experience and knowledge with those who can best use it. | Facebook | @SCOREmentors | More from SCORE


More Blog Topics