Do you have any holiday gift ideas for the office?
This is my favorite time of year, as thinking of gift ideas for
others always reminds me of me. One December years ago I received
an ostrich from a client after helping him survey his New Zealand
ranch. I had to get rid of him after Dickie became allergic. The
ostrich stayed for five years.
down the wish list is always so difficult. A year or two ago, the
had a $575,000 diamond ring on its front cover, complete with a
little cutout so you can try the ring on for size. Difficult to
sure your People create and adhere to a Santa Budget; otherwise,
it can be very difficult to make a profit on Christmas. After all,
you've got your family to think of, and yourself of course, your
pets, and don't forget your favorite charities, in addition to people
neighbor, an OB/GYN, gives his wife a new Jaguar with leather seats
every year. If he ever has a hard day at the office, she isn't asking.
giving is as complicated as international diplomacy, with delicate
customs and preferences to consider. Offending someone would defeat
the purpose. Plus, whatever you do this year you must meet or beat
next year, so putting someone on your gift list is like giving them
an annuity. Develop rigorous screening criteria to ensure that everyone
on your list is giftworthy - now and forever. Candidates for corporate
gifts include personal assistants, bosses, staff, vendors, partners,
journalists who spelled your name correctly in the newspaper, and
the person who delivers your mail. Anyone who makes you look good
should make the cut.
you make more than $250,000 per year, give your assistant $500 in
cash. Nothing says money like money. Or, make it personal - a celebrity's
phone number, a day of skiing, airfare to New York. Don't mix the
message, though: even if your assistant has been complaining of
muscle aches, don't give a gift certificate for a massage unless
you're having an affair. Many all-purpose spas have massage therapy,
so offer the Day of Beauty instead.
in doubt, don't give alcohol or fur. But when you're certain, do.
ever give something practical. Give something that makes you jealous.
can be fun to think of gifts under $1,000 for Yankee swap meets
and Secret Santa extravaganzas (voluntary only, please). Here are
some of my favorites.
Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection, with 75 of the
20th Century's greatest pop arias performed by vocal legends living,
dead, and Canadian. Worth its weight in velvet. I'm listening
to it now.
silver-plated computer mouse, just $25.
scented candles. Fabulous.
socks of the month. Muy guy.
bags. A little place to tuck small secrets when the business day
lotion. It says, "You are flesh and blood, and that makes
you a person in my book."
A four-pack of Italian mineral water. Remember, water is moisturizer
for the inside.
you baked yourself. Everyone will want to be your friend.
the corporate expense account, my very favorite gift to give or
get is a basket of those individually wrapped pears. A person cleaned
and presented each one just for me - I mean you, or your recipient.
My personal shopper at Saks
recommends these ethically safe commemoratives too.
or crystal. Engraved silver-plated bells were recently the rage.
with your company's name on it. Those Swiss army knives come with
ecumenical ornament or collectible. A business incubator once
gave me an art glass egg. Get it?
frames. Can you guess whose photo goes in here?
edibles. Oh, Linda, please send me more of those management-themed
chocolates this year!
wrap any of my gifts; I have People to do that for me. I much prefer
them to the saintly, underappreciated holiday help in the department
stores, whose oeuvre is so perfect you can hardly tell human hands
were at work. Even if you adorn your offerings with the latest corrugated
crepes or animal prints, the tape should be asymmetrical and the
bow slightly askew.
is the greatest holiday gift of all, and it doesn't show up on your
credit card bill. One Friday in December, I invite all my People
to a catered lunch of toast points and caviar. When everyone is
served, I pop the cork on the sparkling nonalcoholic cider and give
everyone the afternoon off. After all, my People own an equity stake
in me, and I in them. It's in our best interest to stay motivated.
And nothing motivates people to work hard like prime shopping hours.