The Executive Gift Guide for the Holidays

Manila Bulletin, November 28, 2010 | Go to article overview

The Executive Gift Guide for the Holidays


It's the holiday season and that time of year when corporate gifts clutter executive offices all over the country. I have nothing against the generous spirit behind these presents; it's just that I've always wondered how many of these umbrellas, coffee mugs and journals actually end up being kept and used. My suspicion is that most corporate gifts end up like holiday fruitcakes-rewrapped and passed on to neighbours and officemates at the bottom of our Christmas lists.It doesn't have to be that way. Better to give a hand-written card than a tacky present that only manages to hurt your image in the process. Christmas gifts, after all, are more than just annual tokens of remembrance and kindness; that holiday present you wrap every year reflects the amount of respect you have for the person on the other end.Which is why corporate gifts are among the trickiest to give. Unlike presents to friends and family, a gift to a boss, business partner or colleague is never accompanied by an explanation. Corporate gifts are received in a vacuum and therefore need to be self-evident. Too generic and they fail to make an impression; too personal and things get uncomfortable.Basic RulesIf you don't want your gifts to end up the same way fruitcakes do, it's best to follow some general rules governing holiday gift giving. For one, clothing, jewelry and fragrances are better kept off the list. These items are too subject to personal taste and style and a gift this intimate could send the wrong signals and backfire.Turning gifts into self-serving advertising is another big mistake you want to avoid. Except maybe for umbrellas, I doubt most corporate bosses will find any use for that jacket or towel with your company slogan on it.Big-ticket items and large appliances are also a no-no. Save them or a wedding because anything that comes in too huge a box is bound to be met with suspicion at worse, and discomfort at best. Remember Christmas presents are tokens of remembrance not bribes.ClassicsThe best corporate gifts are often understated items of luxury-pieces that are universally cherished, in short, stuff you can never have too many of. The following gift suggestions may seem a bit cliche but they are called classics for a reason.* Necktie by Hermes. Truth is, neckties don't make good presents since not everyone shares the same taste in patterns and colours. …

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