It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And while you may be focused on end-of-year activities within your business—from bookkeeping to strategic planning—there’s another task we don’t want you to forget about: gift giving.
There’s nothing worse than that last-minute scramble (and expense!) to overnight packages to colleagues, clients, and loved ones. That’s why right now, not December 20, is the time to think about your gifting game plan.
Lucky for you, we love this sort of thing. We’ve gotten many requests over the years to help with gifting, so we came prepared! Read on for tips to put your VA on the gifting case, plus our go-tos for socially conscious holiday gifts.
Make a List, Check It Twice
Often, the most daunting part of gift giving is pulling together your list of recipients. To make this mental exercise a little easier, start by creating categories: family, friends, team, clients, kid’s teachers—and anyone else who might be important in your life.
Once you’ve created these categories, add names to your list. If you’ve got a VA, you can ask them to take the first pass at it. They’re embedded in your life and probably have a good sense of who you’d want to include.
Alternatively, you can create the first draft and hand it off to your VA for review. Sometimes they’ll catch a person or two that fell off your radar. Like that big prospect you chatted with a lot back in May? Put them on the gift list and they might just reappear in the new year to restart discussions.
If you have any sort of CRM or contact management software, this is a great place for you and your VA to sort through (and keep updated!).
The other key piece of creating your list is making sure you have the correct mailing address for your recipients. This is especially important now, with people shifting from remote to in-person to hybrid and back again. The last thing you want is to send a package of perishable baked goods to an empty office building while everyone works from home.
Set a Budget
Once you’ve decided who’s on your gift list, the next step is establishing your budget. If you want your VA to identify some solid gift options, it’s important to give them parameters before they start searching.
It’s okay to set different budgets or gift types for each group. Perhaps you want to send cards to past clients but gifts to current ones. Or you may want to spend a little bit more on gifts for your kid’s teachers this year after their incredible work balancing remote and in-person learning and COVID protocols.
No matter how you decide to slice and dice it, be sure to share your ideas with your VA. We love a color-coded spreadsheet, but a good old-fashioned Word doc gets the job done, too!
With your budget in hand, your VA can begin the research process to present you with a handful of thoughtful options.
Know Your Gifting Limitations
One other thing to consider: Are there any types of gifts you don’t want your VA to include in their search? For example, if you’re uncomfortable giving boozy gifts, let them know! That way they’ll omit the champagne from their gift sourcing list.
Aside from gifts you want to avoid giving, there are other factors all gifters should consider.
Food allergies are real, y’all. There’s nothing worse than receiving a big box of peanut butter cookies when nuts send you into anaphylactic shock. If you’re going to send food, make sure you know your recipients’ allergies, and if you don’t, direct your VA to avoid foods that contain these top allergens.
There are other reasons, aside from allergies, that people might avoid certain foods. From health concerns to religious practices to social or political reasons, there are any number of factors that might encourage someone to steer clear of certain ingredients. With food gifts, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Don’t get Bacon of the Month Club subscriptions, lest you send one to a vegan. You get the picture.
Finally, think about religious considerations. You may celebrate a particular holiday during the winter months, but your clients may very well come from a different religious background or tradition. Try to keep your gifts non-denominational unless it’s for close friends or family.
If you know you have a recipient with a special consideration, give your VA a heads up. This allows them to come up with an appropriate option for that person. Plus, sending tailored gifts to some folks will play a role in how your VA searches because it can affect things like bulk order quotas or shipping discount minimums. That’s why it’s important they know all parameters ahead of time.
Companies We Love
Like we said, we love helping our clients give thoughtful gifts. Over the years we’ve amassed a long list of brands we love to support. Besides having well-made and unique products, many of them have great social missions, too. And during the holiday season, isn’t it nice to give back while giving gifts?
Here are a few of our favorites. We’re sharing a wide range of options, so there’s something for everyone on your list!
For the plant parents: Lula’s Garden is a women-owned plant company that designs succulent boxes. They partner with local farmers to source their plants. And if you’re looking for a branded gift, they offer corporate gifting with printed logos on their boxes.
For the wellness-focused folks: Gifted by FreeFrom not only has incredible gift boxes with handmade wellness products like soaps, salves, and candles; all their offerings feature products made by survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). They also employ IPV survivors to package the gift boxes, providing financial freedom to those escaping difficult situations.
For the sophisticated sweet tooths: Sugarfina is a women-owned brand that creates chic candy gift boxes. From chocolates to gummies, they’ve got you covered. We especially love their champagne gummy bears—made with real champagne! 🥂
For the caffeinated clients: Vega Coffee partners with local farmers in South America to cut out the middleman and ensure growers see greater profits from their coffee. Ninety-five percent of their partner farms are women-owned, and each shipment of coffee comes with a card telling the story of the people who grew your beans.
For the pet people: RescueBox sends a box of dog or cat toys to your recipients’ door. Not only will their pet be overjoyed, but for every subscription you purchase, RescueBox provides 142 bowls of food for furry friends in need.
For when you need something for everyone: Knack’s custom gift boxes have something to please anyone on your list. You can find just about any kind of product on their site, and you can create a customized gift box. Or, you can use this feature we love: shop by ethos. Want to find a gift that’s sustainable, BIPOC-made, or produced in the US? They’ve got you covered.
Still not sure what kind of gift to give? Donating to a charity in someone else’s name is always a nice thing to do. Here are some organizations we love to support.
The holidays can be stressful enough on their own. To keep the gift-giving vibes calm, start planning now. By mid-December, you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the egg nog. And remember: There are so many wonderful companies out there. If you’re looking for something special (custom, local, socially-minded), there is definitely a solution for you. Share the specifics with your VA, and they’ll unearth some wonderful gems.
Get tasks off your plate faster with the VA Starter Kit!
Amanda began her career as an actor and now uses that experience to inform her work as a content creator. Years of analyzing text and building characters mean that adapting to a client's voice, tone, and unique needs comes as second nature. When she's not behind the keyboard blogging, podcasting, or social media managing for clients, you can still find her onstage hosting live corporate events. A proud graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, Amanda lives in New York City.
Work superpower: Finding the perfect synonym in Power Thesaurus.
Favorite cheese: Brie
Go-to karaoke song: "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" - Shania Twain
Beverage of choice: Blackberry Spindrift
Ready to meet your perfect VA match?
Focus on your best. We'll handle the rest.