As I sit here looking out my window into my garden, overflowing with beautiful hydrangea blossoms and lilacs abloom, I struggle to imagine this view awash in blustery snow and empty branches. With just over six months left in the year, it’s really hard to think about the coming winter season and all that entails: gatherings and celebrations, holidays, year-end recognitions, and yes, gifts.
Nearing the end of May, we have already received 3 (three!) requests for holiday gift proposals. To be honest, my first reaction was, “whoa! Too soon! We just sent out our last Mother’s Day gift. School isn’t even out for the summer. How on Earth am I going to find holiday products already?” But my tune quickly changed.
I started reaching out to various vendors and suppliers to source and price various components of our proposals, and I was rather taken aback when more than once I was told that if I wanted to guarantee availability or price, I need to place the order for our selections soon. Like real soon. One of our box suppliers informed me that there was a 14-week turnaround on boxes. Our hot chocolate supplier told us they were already taking preorders to gauge interest in this year’s upcoming product line. Our crinkle supplier let us know that they were having difficulty finding the crinkle we use. Another supplier told us that they were expecting a nearly double increase in the price of paper by the end of the year. One of our favorite companies for holiday candles told us they were having trouble finding glass jars and they didn’t expect to recover until early to mid-fall. What’s going on?!
What does this mean for you as you think about holiday gifts for clients and employees? As counterintuitive as it sounds, it means that you need to start the process now, before the height of summer, and probably before you ever hit a beach or light a firecracker.
Things to consider as you start planning:
Who will you be gifting to this year?
Will all your employees be getting a holiday gift or will each department decide? Are you sending gifts to all your clients? How about your top referrals for the year? Don’t worry about getting all the names and addresses at this point (Linden Square can help with this so don’t stress), but start making a detailed list of who you want to gift to.
Set your gifting expectations.
What type of gifts do you want to send? Are you going for a luxury feel or something fun and casual? Do you want to include branded items or simply on-brand items? (If you don’t know the difference, head here to read our thoughts on branding versus on-brand)
Determine your budget, and be realistic.
I’m going to be brutally honest here. If you want custom boxes and branded elements and hot chocolate from France and air pods from Apple, you’re going to need to set an appropriate budget. Twenty-five dollars is not going to cut it. (That’s like trying to go to the moon in the model rocket kit you bought at the neighborhood hobby shop.) Don’t forget to think about the entire gift, including packaging, shipping, printed collateral you want to be included, but also labor. It takes a good amount of time to design, source, procure, assemble, pack and ship. A good gift company will do all this for you, making your job seamless and stress-free, but don’t neglect to consider them when making quantity or budget decisions.
When do you want to send your gifts? Do you send them early before the hustle and bustle of the holidays overwhelms people? Do you send them at the perfect time, so that they arrive in time for a holiday opening? Or, do you wait until the craziness of the holidays dwindles, and send them in the New Year? It will set you apart and will likely ensure your gift is remembered far longer and more affectionately than one that comes amid an abundance of pre-holiday deliveries. (We often recommend this to our clients. If you’d like to learn more or discuss this option, contact us here.)
Contact a gifting partner.
Now. The closer we get to the end of summer and the end of holidays, the faster their available gift slots will fill up. A good gifting partner will handle all the things you don’t know or want to deal with. As I stated above, it takes a chunk of time to design and source a gift. Then there’s the product ordering and tracking the shipments to make sure they arrive on time, and what happens if your delivery arrives and half your candles are broken or melted in the back of that hot delivery truck? Do you have time to negotiate box pricing or find the perfect color ribbon, or pack and ship 1000 gifts? Do yourself a favor and hire someone. They will save you so much time, energy, and resources and you’ll be much happier. A good gifting partner will be able to take your vision, budget, and goals and create beautiful works of gifting art, making you look phenomenal in the process.
These suggestions aren’t meant to be a scare tactic, but they are a genuine concern about your and your goals and needs for the upcoming holiday season. The sooner you start the process, the further ahead you’ll be and the better chance there will be to fend off any potential unforeseen issues before they negatively impact your gifts. With a little planning and plenty of time, you’re sure to have a phenomenal response to your holiday gifts, and isn’t that the point? To awe and amaze those that keep our businesses running?