The best alternative holiday gifts for small businesses

Love them or hate them, greetings cards are a staple of the holiday season in the business world. While they can be a nice touch if done well, they’re also predictable, and as such, may just be ignored or not even opened! Deviating from them to surprise your customers can really help your company stand out.

We’ve pulled together some of the most original and thoughtful ways to give your customers a gift they actually want, and to keep your business on your customers’ minds.

Gift bundles and hampers

This may be a popular idea, but there’s a reason for that—it works! With the holidays becoming increasingly expensive for consumers, gestures like giving out free products, however small, will be gratefully received.

If you’re smart about what you give, it needn’t cost you much either. Gifting your own products is an opportunity to make a positive impression and reach out to new customers while simultaneously clearing old stock or market testing upcoming products.

Gifting regulars with extra items ‘on the house’ is an even easier way to reward loyalty and, done spontaneously, will definitely make their day and increase the chances of them talking your business up.

Long-running gift campaigns

A similar idea to free bundles, but spread out over time, and with sound logic behind the format. Putting together a campaign that runs over a few days or weeks in the run up to Christmas or in the new year and is an exclusive offer for loyal customers and subscribers works wonders.

Do it on a daily basis as a way to drive brand loyalty and make checking your site or store a habit for people in the run-up to Christmas or during the month of January when sales can be notoriously difficult to generate. If you can make them excited to log on to your site, pop in to the store, or read your emails, you’ll definitely see some rewards.

Re-usable water bottle

There's a reason that pens, calendars and diaries are popular gift ideas, because they find their way onto desks or walls and stay there all year long with their branding on show. In other words they are a great way to keep your company's name in your customer's mind. However, lots of people do these and it can be expensive to create a product that really stands out so you know your customer chooses your calendar or agenda over someone elses. Instead, put your company name (and maybe website and/or social media handles) on a re-usable bottle that is attractive enough for them to want to use again and again, either in their workplace or at the gym, or anywhere else! This is also a good gift for companies and customers that like to be environmentally-friendly.

Tea or coffee subscription

If your customers or clients are other businesses, why not consider giving them a gift they will actually use. Nearly all companies have some kind of kitchen with tea and coffee making facilties so why not help them save some money from their drinks budget by treating the company to a monthly tea or coffee subscription that means they will have new and different types of tea or coffee to try each month.

To ensure they always know it's from you, you could send over a collection of mugs branded with your company name along with the gift certificate showing the subscription you've bought for them.

Share helpful and entertaining content

This might not be considered a gift per se, but it’s a key aspect of marketing for any business and you can definitely put a Christmas theme on your material. With so many companies shouting about offers and giving out pens emblazoned with their logos, this is a softer approach.

Present-wrapping videos are becoming more popular and offer a medium to show off your products - including how to best wrap those awkwardly-shaped ones - that people might actually want to watch. If you can’t think of anything relevant to share, why not just let people in on a video that’s being doing the rounds at the office, or a comic that made you laugh recently. They’ll appreciate the insight into the personalities behind your business if nothing else.

About the author

Jake Waller is a wordsmith who plies his trade here at Findmyshift. He uses his background in engineering to simplify complex topics for a variety of tech firms. When not writing for Findmyshift he blogs under a pseudonym at My Name is Skylance and has a passion for creative writing and editing, about which he's always talking on Twitter.