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I can’t begin to tell you how many holiday cards, videos, photo greetings, slide shows, and more I’ve received from nearly every company I’ve done business with over the years. Many of them were tasteful and well made, a few were silly, some clever, and one or two just missed the mark.

Almost none of them were useful – useful in the sense that the holiday gift made my life or my work better beyond the entertainment factor. A box of chocolates is absolutely delicious and tasty. A gift basket of meats and cheeses (assuming you have no allergies or dietary restrictions) is wonderful. But at the end of the day, beyond the gustatory and caloric contributions, did it make your life better?

If you’re going to invest time and money into a holiday gift, invest some time and energy into making the gift useful. Consider taking whatever budget you were going to use for consumables and go make something branded on Cafepress. Here’s an example of one I did for SHIFT Communications for my clients, a simple, branded power bank that lets you recharge your phone or any other USB device on the go.


Holiday gifts already made and about to ship? You can still amplify their usefulness with a quick note that includes a link to a free eBook, audiobook, or other media so that the recipient gets some additional value. Did you present at a conference? Share the video of your talk. Did you release a whitepaper this year? Add a quick link that bypasses all of the landing pages and registrations into your note.

Whatever you do for a holiday gift, make the recipient’s life better in some way by sharing something useful with them. Their holidays may be happy, but with your shared insight, their year ahead will be better, more productive, and more powerful because of it.

Think about it this way – when the new year starts, when everything is back to normal, what will help them remember you every time they sit down to do their job?

A very happy holiday season to you.

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