Including gifting.

As difficult and different as this year has been, I cannot believe that it is the end of October as I type this. However, I suddenly realize that the holiday season is around the corner. The holiday season…

I love this season. I love finding great gifts, giving, visiting all those I care about and just overall feeling like a year is wrapping up and another one is starting.

This year… I have a little anxiety about the season. Maybe you do too. It doesn’t look like COVID19 is going away anytime soon. So I’m trying to figure out how to manage it. How do I manage to see my friends and their kids? Yet, this is not what this blog is about.

For this blog, I’m chatting with you about gifting. This is a big season for gifting. Personal gifting and corporate gift giving. Between our customers, staff, tenants, and family and friends, I have to look at gifting differently.

On a personal level… I love to give the gift of experiences. I love to give time. Thus I gift Jenn/Shawn days or family outings. Very few of my 2019 gifts could be delivered in 2020 with many Jenn/Shawn days cancelled. As I look at my 2020 gifts and consider 2021, I will have to consider a different philosophy to gift. My 2020 philosophy: gift local, gift small business or gift making a difference. What will this look like? I don’t exactly know yet. I’m still trying to figure it out. It’s a work in process guideline.

This same analysis is happening with my corporate gift giving. We have historically gifted so that people could share with those in their offices. Big gift boxes full of yummy goodies for many to enjoy. What do we do this year? Likely people are working from home and if they are in office, there is going to be a reluctance to share food. Thus our traditional gifting strategy seems to fall short. I’ve been thinking for weeks of different ideas. I even presented the question during the power seat of our accountability group. We had some ideas but nothing fit within me.

I thought about my guidelines for my personal giving and wondered if we could use it somehow… gift local, gift small business or gift making a difference. I noodled on it.

Then I had a thought… personally, my husband and I give to different charities throughout the year. I have a list and I select and give to one a month. In March, I halted my donations and waited. Then in October, I saw a need. Food Banks. I am blessed, not everyone is. So I funnelled 50% of our donation money to a local food bank. I’ll funnel the other 50% to a different food back in December … could I do the same thing for corporate gift giving?

Historically, I was never impressed with the impersonal letters or emails that a company sent out that said, in lieu of gifts we are donating money to <name charity here>. I just felt that this was your opportunity to say THANK YOU to your client. To express your appreciation for choosing you and continuing to do business with you. Sending a generic letter didn’t feel very appreciative. So is this something that feels right this year?

I’ve thought about it a lot. I’ve considered sending a small gift and making a donation. I tried to think of a unique gift that would support another business and show our appreciation. So far, nothing fits…

I know I still have time. A little anyway. I can still think of, hear of, be presented with or get inspired with the perfect idea. In the meantime, I keep going back to the gift local, gift small business or gift making a difference guideline and a donation to a food bank would support the guideline of making a difference. I’m still going to send a holiday card. I’m still going to appreciate in writing with a personalized, heartfelt, physical touch those that continued to support us through the very difficult year. At the moment that card will include a note that tells them we felt the pull to support those that need a little extra help this holiday season. I’ll choose food banks in the areas of our customers.

It feels right this year.

I value appreciating our clients. More than anything I like to give value to our clients. I believe that if I’ve attracted the right clients, then this year, making a donation of this kind will be valuable to those that are making ends meet and even more to those that might be struggling. I can revisit this in the new year… if things change… maybe we can send an unexpected gift of appreciation just to celebrate life.

I’d love to hear what you are doing this year for your clients. I love to hear if you have any different ideas. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the idea of a donation. Please, share!

“May no gift be too small to give, nor too simple to receive, which is wrapped in thoughtfulness, and tied with love.”

L.O. Baird