Small Business Help: Corporate Christmas Gift Giving


It’s that time of year again. The weather is getting colder and stores have brought out their Christmas inventory. For small businesses, the season raises a variety of questions: Should I buy gifts for my clients? What kinds of gifts are appropriate? Are we supposed to tip our cleaner and mail carrier? Let’s find out.

Should You Buy Gifts for Clients?

There is no right or wrong answer. Gift giving is voluntary and if you do not feel you are in a position to afford Christmas gifts, or you simply choose not to give them, that’s okay. However, many companies give gifts:

  • To express appreciation for patron’s loyalty and business
  • For networking and as a form of marketing
  • Because they simply love Christmas and gift giving!

If you wish to provide your clients with something cost effective, consider the following:

  • The gift should be useable (coffee mugs, water bottles, chocolates) as opposed to outdated or overtly personal (paper calendars, jewelry, artwork that you choose for the client)
  • The gift should be in line with your company’s goals (if you focus on recycling, don’t give out something non-biodegradable)
  • The gifts should fall within a discussed and approved budget

What Kind of Gifts are Appropriate and Affordable for a Small Business?

Ideas for corporate gifts include branded items from bulk retailers like Vistaprint or donations in a company’s name through organizations such as World Vision. If you are gifting to a large company, consider something the employees can share, like a bouquet of flowers or poinsettia, a boxes of chocolate for each department, or a pizza lunch.

Giving Christmas cards is another option and you can use technology to create a fun, personalized e-greetings. From video clips to animated cards, digital options like Elf Yourself make a fun, positive impression.

Are We Supposed to Tip our Cleaner and Mail Carrier?

To answer this question, let’s check in with renowned social expert Emily Post. On the Emily Post Institute website, it states that tipping is a way of saying “thank you” and if you cannot accommodate cash gifts for your cleaner, courier, mail carrier or other service workers that help your workday flow smoothly, don’t be shy about giving homemade gifts. Check out Pinterest for easy, creative, affordable ideas such as flavoured popcorn or baking mixes. Always accompany the gift with a sincere thank you note.

Are Gifts Tax Deductible?

Some gifts are, but Revenu Quebec and Canada Revenue Agency have a strict set of guidelines for corporate gifts and this applies to gifts you give clients as well as gifts and bonuses for your staff. The way to ensure you properly report and claim gifts is to have a conversation with a Revenue Canada agent, or use AF Accounting’s services. Of course, we are also happy to help you with other accounting services year-round; what better gift can you give yourself than the gift of knowing your bookkeeping and taxes are in the hands of professional accountants?

Enjoy Christmas!

Don’t get bogged down in the politics of Christmas. It’s a joyful time to express thanks and celebrate with friends and family. If you wish to give gifts, do so responsibly. If you don’t, simply wishing your clients and service workers “happy holidays” will certainly suffice.

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