By Susan Guillory

Your business is built on the foundation of clients who trust you with their money and their projects. Doesn’t it make sense that at the end of the year, you show a little appreciation? Giving your clients gifts is a fantastic way to show your gratitude. And yet, you don’t want to offend or end up feeling awkward about the gifts you give.

To that end, here are the errors to avoid.

1. Giving Alcohol to Someone Who Doesn’t Drink

While one client might appreciate a carefully curated bottle of red, another client might not drink, and then you would have not only wasted money giving a gift they can’t use, but you also run the risk of offending your client.

Be safe by not giving alcohol gifts at all, or only giving them to clients who you know drink. And don’t make assumptions about the types of alcohol they drink; if you do give a bottle, make sure it’s the liquor or wine you’re sure they will enjoy.

2. Sending Christmas Gifts to Someone Who Doesn’t Celebrate

While, yes, the majority of Americans celebrate Christmas, not all do. The last thing you want to do is offend someone who either celebrates no holiday this time of year, or who celebrates Hanukkah or Kwanzaa instead of Christmas.

If you want to send a gift, use terms like “happy holidays” rather than focusing on “Christmas” to keep it PC.

3. Sending Overly Lavish Gifts

Yes, you want to show your appreciation, but spending too much can make your client feel uncomfortable. So…don’t buy a client a Tesla. Or maybe not even a $300 gift basket. You can create tiers for how much your clients spend with you and then buy gifts accordingly. For example, for clients who have spent $5,000 with you in a year, you could send a $50 flower bouquet. For those who have spent $10,000, you might send a $100 fruit basket.

4. Sending Inappropriate Gifts

Your sister might have loved the bubble bath and massage oil gift basket you sent last year, but sending the same to your client (especially of the opposite sex) might send mixed messages that can make your business relationship awkward.

Stick to safe categories, like sports or hobbies, and food or flowers.

When researching gifts to buy your clients, make it easy on yourself by getting everyone the same gift, or maybe a few different gifts for all clients (especially if you budget based on their spending). Plan far enough out so that you don’t have to pay for rush shipping for your gifts to arrive before the holidays.