By Caroline M.L. Potter, Yahoo! HotJobs
Tightening your belt but still want to open your wallet to spread some cheer among clients and colleagues? You can give fun gifts that won't break your bank account but will still leave a lasting impression on recipients.
"When it comes to colleagues, it's important to pay attention to price," says Ella Goldin, founder and president of Chic Inspiration, a personal shopping consulting firm. "In such hard financial times, most aren't expecting gifts, let alone expensive gifts."
Michelle Madhok, founder of SheFinds.com, a popular online shopping blog, agrees. "I think modest gifts are a good bet this year," she says. "Especially around the office, it might be uncomfortable to buy extravagant presents and get coworkers thinking about how much money you make or how secure you are in your job. Even if you can afford to give something over-the-top, this year is a good chance to be thoughtful instead of lavish."
Ideas for Clients
Goldin suggests shopping at the online MoMA store for hip and affordable gifts. "They carry unique things for all age groups, interests and genders," she says.
Ideas for Coworkers
Madhok knows that giving gifts to professional associates can be tricky. "Unless you're extremely close with a coworker or are friends outside of work as well, very personal gifts are inappropriate," she says. "If you plan to get many versions of the same gift for a group of coworkers, it's best to err on the safe side, with things like candles, soaps or holiday candy."
Her suggestions include:
- For Stressed-Out Cube Dwellers: Origins Peace of Mind On-the-Spot Relief. "This minty formula helps refresh and recharge when placed on pressure points," says Madhok.
- For the Office Recycler: Envirosax Greengrocer Bag. Reusable shopping bags from a socially conscious company, these are great for a green client or office," she says.
- For the Workplace Stylista: Gap Women's Long Gloves. "Classic styling in six colors, so you can personalize the gifts a bit," Madhok says.
- For Anyone: Slatkin & Co. Filled Winter Candle. "Burning up to 50 hours, this comes in an attractive silver holder that celebrates the season," she says.
Even though gift cards can be risky in a weak economy (because a store could go out of business), Madhok says there's "no reason to stay away from a Starbucks gift card if your cubicle neighbor's favorite indulgence is double-shot gingerbread lattes."
And if presents are beyond your budget, "the most appropriate thing to give out is a holiday card with a personal message inside," Goldin says.