Editor's Desk - November/December 2013

Give to Receive

There are gifts, and then there are gifts, you know what I mean?

Some birthdays, holidays, etc., it seems like you open gift after gift, and are forced to smile and say thank you, all the while listening to that voice in the back of your head whisper, "What were they thinking?" "When has my mother ever seen me in hot pink?" Or, "Doesn't my boss remember I had to give up coffee?" Or, "Great, yet another office desk doodad I don't need." For most of us, manners take over and we feign appreciation (though I've known a handful of people in my time who will tell you exactly what they think of a gift-gone-wrong).

Other times, someone just knocks it out of the park and gifts you with something so perfectly attuned with your deepest desires that you can't find words strong enough to express your gratitude. Those gifts stay with you, too. Years after the gift was given, you remember such presents. And they can continue to set the standard for what gifting can be.

Sometimes, you're lucky enough to be the person who thought up such a gift. You might even know beforehand that the recipient is going to be knocked out of their socks, and you sit by, waiting, anticipating their reaction. You watch eagerly as they open the thing up so you can capture in your memory the progress of delight as it crosses their face.

Other times, you know you're just phoning it in. You picked something out because it was time to pick something out. You hand it over, knowing you're about to be the recipient of feigned thanks.

I think the vast majority of us have been on the giving and receiving end of both of these scenarios. And that's one of the reasons experts in this market advise taking so much care when selecting business gifts.

If you really want to build that relationship and be remembered, you can't approach the process halfheartedly or haphazardly. You have to take the care to select a gift that will be received and celebrated with all the goodwill you intended. And when you get it right, there's no underestimating the power of a business gift.

Chosen well, business gifts can help make a good relationship even better. But, of course, it's not just about the gift. It's also about the ongoing attention one gives to the business relationship. When you put in the time to understand your client or partner or employee's needs—when you make the effort to understand a little bit more about what makes them tick—it not only makes it easier to select a gift, but it also makes it easier for you to maintain that good relationship.

This month, we've got stories covering many aspects of gifting, from a look at the business of business gifts from some of our expert columnists to a rundown of some last-minute ideas for those of you who have reached the 11th hour and still haven't made a choice.

And we hope that all of your gifts this season—both tangible and intangible—are the kind that bring you years of delight.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,