The holiday season will creep up quickly on the unsuspecting small business owner and before you know it, it’s time to start buying and delivering holiday gifts to your clients.

Many small business owners want to give their clients a memorable—but not too pricey—gift around the holidays to show appreciation for their business. Food is often the go-to choice. After all, who doesn’t like cookies or chocolate truffles?

But if you want your gift to stand out from all the other truffles arriving on your clients’ doorstep, consider thinking outside the, ahem, gift box. Here are five unique holiday gift ideas that will make a more lasting impression:

1. Reusable tote bags.

Reusable shopping bags are hot right now, especially since California has passed a law requiring stores to charge for disposable bags. Consider having your company name and logo printed on the bags. “Not only will your customers appreciate and use it, they’ll be carrying around an advertisement for you,” Janice Slater, owner of Concepts in Advertising in Jacksonville, Oregon, told USA Today.

 2. Small, handy gadgets and gizmos.

Many businesses hand out tchotchkes to their clients, whether calendars or coffee mugs. But try to come up with something creative that your clients don’t already have 50 million of. A lighted pocket screwdriver, a wristband that doubles as a USB port and a travel scale are three useful gifts suggested by Small Business Trends—all selling for under $10 a pop.

3. Healthier treats.

Rather than doling out sweets, consider giving out healthier—though still delicious—food items. Edibles are, after all, the way to people’s hearts. Fine olive oil, flavored popcorn, and gourmet granola are just a few possibilities.

4. A unique experience.

Like most Americans, your clients probably have plenty of stuff. So, consider giving them a real experience—whether that’s a gift certificate to a local restaurant, movie tickets or a culinary tour. Of course, experience gifts can run the gamut, and often aren’t cheap. So you might want to reserve them for your most valuable clients. But even if you give someone a $10 gift card to a local coffeehouse, it may be an experience they will relish.

5. Personalized gifts.

If you want to go all out—and put more time and energy into your gifts—consider giving your best clients gifts tied to their personal interests. After all, this will show that you really know them and pay attention. “If you have a client who golfs every weekend, send him or her a set of personalized tees,” suggests Jacqueline Whitmore, an etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School on Entrepreneur.com. “Or if your client is a coffee aficionado, gift a tasty, hard-to-find variety.”

Whatever gift you decide to give your clients this holiday season, make sure to stress  your appreciation. Give them a holiday card with a personal message thanking them for their business and their loyalty. Grateful and generous words, after all, can be the most lasting gift of all.

 

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