In Season: Holiday Gift Ideas
Each year holiday cards fill up our mailboxes and we worry about how many pounds we’re going to (or already have) gained as a result of eating too many goodies. But are we really complaining? Receiving a sweet note or a sweet treat from a business associate is a nice gesture and we still enjoy it no matter how often (or how many) we receive.
According to a study by 4imprint, 75 percent of organizations plan to host an employee holiday party this year. Of the 25 percent that will not, 28 percent will give business gifts to employees. Of the companies that will use promotional products at their holiday parties, 15 percent will give them as thank-you gifts to employees, and 12 percent will use them as party favors.
Just in case you’re looking to switch it up and want to send a different holiday card or snack this year, we spoke to Jason Evans, president and chief financial officer of Birchcraft Studios, Rockland, Mass., and Eileen Joy Spitalny, co-founder of Fairytale Brownies, Phoenix, to learn why these items are holiday promotion staples and how to mix it up each year.
Holiday cards have been sent to relatives, friends and business associates for centuries, and the delight of getting a card in the mail still exists. “You go to the mailbox and you get a couple cards a day instead of just bills,” Evans said. “I know, personally, [I] get much more excited about going to the mailbox in December than every other time of year because there’s actually something in [the mailbox] that’s exciting.”
For holiday cards, Birchcraft Studios currently offers offset printing, foil stamping and fully customized full-color, digital printing. A relatively new method, digital has expanded offerings and has become a printing version in high demand. “Back in the day, all we did was put words in the inside of the card,” he said. “Now, in addition to offset printing or foil stamping the inside of cards, we can also create a fully customized, digital card from scratch.”
Additionally, the supplier offers a variety of paper options, envelope recipient addressing (which can print personalized recipient addresses on the front of each envelope), and about 1,200 cards from which to choose. “Every year we will repeat some of the best-selling ones from the year before, but we always have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of new designs every year, so there’s always new things to choose from,” Evans said.
A new, interactive feature that Birchcraft Studios launched last year called stkr.it (pronounced “sticker it”) helps to customize cards even more. A QR code is printed somewhere on the card, allowing the sender to customize what that code shows the recipient. “When the person gets the card, they can read the verse, they can read the imprint and then if they scan the QR code, it could be a video of their employees singing “[We Wish You a] Merry Christmas,” Evans said. “Or it could be a picture of their building or a picture of their employees, so it just adds the ability to have a little more interaction with people, more than just words and a name on a card.”
The holiday season is not only a great time to push your clients to order greeting cards, it’s also an ideal time to send your clients holiday cards—to wish them happy holidays and to thank them for their business throughout the year. “Cards can be used as an inexpensive way to get the door open and introduce yourself to a company that you’ve been trying to gain access to. It’s also a great way, obviously, to stay in touch with your active accounts, but also inactive accounts. … Maybe you can drum up some business.”
Delicious food makes a great gift. Maybe not fruit cake or green beans, but chocolate? Everyone will gladly accept chocolate. “Food is such a great item at the holidays as it is the season of sharing, and [there are] lots of festive gatherings and parties at home and work,” Spitalny said. “Also, food—and chocolate—makes people so happy and [it is] easy to bring to an event as the holidays can also be such a hectic time with family, work and back-to-school. Our varieties of flavors create fun conversations and all items are individually wrapped, so no sticky fingers or double dipping.”
Those individually wrapped items are convenient, but variety also helps to avoid sending the exact same gift each year. For example, Fairytale Brownies offers multiple food choices (brownies, cookies and blondies), packaging (towers, tins and boxes) and flavors (coconut brownies and chocolate chip cookies are new this year). The decoration is also an additional feature that can be altered each year. “Some companies have us insert their holiday card or calendar, and that can go with a different gift each year,” she said.
Once again, they make great gifts for your clients to give, but also for you to present to your customers. “Ordering bulk boxes and having [them] sent directly to you at your office so you and your sales reps can hand deliver them makes such a memorable impact,” Spitalny said. “[It provides a] reason for the rep to stop by the client or prospect’s office with their card, thank them for the business during the year, mention a new service and say, ‘Talk to you in January.’”
Amanda L. Cole is the editor-in-chief of NonProfit PRO. She was formerly editor-in-chief of special projects for NonProfit PRO's sister publication, Promo Marketing. Contact her at email@example.com.