Business etiquette for buying Christmas gifts

What's appropriate when it comes to giving Christmas gifts? Read on to find out.

At Christmas time, it is time of giving and sharing, and as we give presents to those we known as a token of generosity, you may also decide to apply this to those you have business connections with. However, you may be unsure as to whether it is entirely appropriate to give someone at the office or a client a gift. Or, if you have decided you are going to give one, what should you give?

It is easy to see how gift giving with clients or coworkers can end up becoming a stressful experience, especially as there are many things that could go wrong when buying gifts. However, there are ways you can combat this. Here is our guide to the business etiquette you should follow for buying Christmas gifts this year. A leading financial blog shares their top tips and rules of etiquette.

Check whether gift giving takes place at your work

If you are new to a company, Christmas gift giving can feel like a bit of a minefield. The easiest way to combat this, is to ask around the office to see if exchanging gifts is the norm. Generally speaking, it should become clear over the festive season whether this takes place, as it is likely co-workers will be openly discussing what to buy or whom to buy for.

Don’t spend an extravagant amount

If you are unsure still as to whether gift-giving is something that happens at your business, and it isn’t possible to ask someone else, buying a Christmas card for your boss is a fail-safe option. What isn’t, is buying extravagant gifts for them, or other co-workers. Giving gifts should be about showing appreciation for others, rather than making other feel potentially uncomfortable about the amount you have spent on them, feeling the need to compete or to impress someone for a raise or job promotion.

In a professional environment, it is inappropriate to expect the receiver to buy you a present in return. A gift should be given willingly, and the business relationship you have with them shouldn’t end up being affected by whether or not a gift is given in return. Gift exchange should always be optional, and it should be noted that there may be personal reasons that could decide whether they give presents, such as financial or religious reasons.

Be appropriate

It should go without saying that you should never buy anything for your co-workers or clients that could be deemed inappropriate in any way. It is not worth the risk. Even if you have a good working relationship with them, buying a gift that could be offensive, personal or inappropriate is a no-go. This includes gifts that are political, personal hygiene-based, religious in nature or crude. Even the funniest of personal jokes can easily be taken the wrong way in a business environment.

What should I choose as a business gift?

The present for a client of business associate as previously stated shouldn’t be inappropriate in anyway. The safest and most appropriate gifts are listed below:

  • Chocolate or other Christmas food such as biscuits or cake
  • Flowers
  • Hamper
  • Scarf or tie
  • Briefcase
  • Book by client’s favourite author
  • Wine
  • Tickets to an event

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