The holidays bring office parties, family parties, and parties that include business associates and friends. More than that, if you are a business owner, you might need to gift your employees or even clients with just that little individualized touch so that they will keep you in mind over the holidays and into the New Year.
You want to hand out the cool Christmas gifts, not the tired old gifts of calendar magnets, poinsettia topped pencils, or a cup stuffed with tissue paper and topped with a thin layer of candies.
Below you will find a list of 12 cool holiday gifts to wow your co-workers, boss, employees or even your clients.
Read on to combat the eternal coffee mug or calendar and become known as the gift guru.
- Give a Gift Card
But don’t give just any old gift card. Abandon the big box department store or online retail giant card and give a specialty card. Here are just a few ideas for gift cards from start-ups. The coolest Christmas gifts are those that are not only original, but that keep on giving throughout the year.
- ClassPass - A gift card that gives the bearer access to local clubs and spas, often for $15.00 or less per class. It is a fantastic way for someone new to an area to sample local attractions at a fraction of their normal cost.
- Colored Organics - A company that makes ethically grown, harvested and manufactured clothing for children. Quality fabrics that are free of the pesticides that can harm the ecosystem, the workers or even the wearer. These clothing sales also contribute clothing to children in need.
- Daily Harvest - Give a $25.00 certificate to the perpetual dieter on your list. The meals-in-a-cup are easy to prepare but are planned by a nutritionist and frozen to lock in nutrients. Not only are they a boon to someone who is trying to lose weight, but they are also handy for anyone perpetually on the go.
- Society6 - The perfect gift card for that person who already has everything and is beyond difficult to buy for. Society 6 helps artists from around the world to market their designs. Their work is uploaded and can then be used as prints on everything from coffee mugs and T-shirts to throw pillows and shower curtains.
These are only four of the many cool Christmas gift cards that you could give that will not only allow the receiver to select something that will be personally enjoyed but to also be of benefit to many other people.
- Give a Box Subscription
While a gift card requires the recipient to select or perhaps to find something that is available online, a box subscription comes to the receiver’s door. This means that you, the giver, need to be a little more involved in the gift giving process, but it can be well worth it. A truly cool holiday gift shows that you’ve given thought to the gift, making it something that will be well received.
- Atlas Coffee Club - If you know someone who would like to be a world traveler, and who requires a stout morning brew to get going, this is the perfect gift. For three months, that person will receive a selection of micro lots of coffee, along with a postcard from the region of origin. The coffee bag designs reflect local traditional patterns or landscapes.
- Modsy - The perfect gift for someone new in your company, especially if they have relocated to take on the position. Modsy is an app that will use dimensions and pictures of an existing home or apartment and select furniture to create a special look or feel for the room. It will even populate a shopping list for items to fulfill the ideas. Give a gift certificate to help buy items on that list for a truly cool Christmas gift.
- PlateJoy - It can be so difficult to manage balanced meals, especially for a busy business owner or executive who is always on the go. PlateJoy is an app that connects the subscriber to nutrition experts, takes personal taste, allergies and more into account. It will create a custom meal plan, and even populate a shopping list if you wish. Oh, and don’t forget the gift certificate for those yummy goodies.
- CrateJoy - The perfect gift for readers. Each month a “crate” containing at least one book and perhaps other items arrives. The choices ranged from the “Blue Spider,” which contains gently used paperbacks, to “Earthlove,” a box that contains a book and seven other ecologically sound selections. In between are crates for young adults, crates for children or tweens, mystery lover crates, and even a crate for Wiccans - so this one rates a “cool holiday gift” rating. Crates typically contain at least one book and, quite often, a tasty treat to enjoy while reading.
- Send a Special Gift Box That Also Gives to Charity
You can be the good guy and help the person who receives your gift box feel special, too, by sending a gift that also sends a charitable donation. You really can’t beat that for a cool Christmas gift, because it is a gift that gives twice.
- Bombas - Put a new twist on giving socks by sending a gift box of socks that will also give an additional gift to someone in need. Bombas socks aren’t just any old sock. They incorporate features such as a honeycomb support system and seamless toes. But more than that, they operate on a system similar to Tom’s Shoes. Socks are the #1 most requested item at homeless shelters. One pair purchased equals one pair donated, so when you give the gift of Bombas, you are really giving two gifts.
- Toms Shoes - This might be a stretch as a business gift, but it would be hard to pass up the “special gift that gives” section without mentioning this company. It started with shoes. Every pair sold gifted a pair to someone who didn’t have shoes. Now, Toms has expanded to eyewear to assist those who need eye care and more, and to other clothing such as socks and t-shirts. Perhaps you could purchase your next company sports shirts from Toms. They give to a variety of causes and are most recently addressing gun violence.
- Give the Gift of Connectivity
In today’s mobile world, there is little that is of more importance than staying connected. One of the easiest ways to do this is to give a Skyroam bundle, which includes a mobile hotspot that will handle up to five devices as well as a power stick that can extend your devices’ energy level by several hours.
If one of the feedback items you frequently receive from your employees or colleagues is that they are looking for a Wi-Fi hotspot, this could be the perfect gift, especially since it includes a year’s subscription to Skyroam’s GoData per Gigabyte pay as you go. While it won’t connect everywhere, Skyroam is valid in more than 130 countries. It is hard to imagine a gift that could be cooler than that, for Christmas, birthday or any other holiday.
- Advent Calendars
Kids’ advent calendars come in just about every style and size from brand name toys to traditional religious themes. The best ones contain a little gift or treat.
Your employees with children will appreciate these.
Permanent advent calendars are a charming family gift, great for that employee who has a new baby or a recently adopted child at home and is looking forward to celebrating the first Christmas.
Advent calendars for adults include alcoholic spirits or wine samplers, Lady Godiva chocolates, and quietly contemplative calendars with daily devotionals.
Amazing as it might seem, there is a little bit of kid in everyone. Even if you are just counting down the days until there is a little extra time off or until the grandchildren come to visit, an advent calendar is a fun way to get through the first gray days of winter and can be thirty days’ worth of super cool Christmas gift for anyone.
- Kid or Adult Creative Toys
Socks, underwear, gifts that give and stuff to eat, those are all good, but a super cool holiday gift that keeps on giving is one that encourages creativity. It doesn’t get much more creative than Makey Makey, the circuit board that allows you to turn almost anything into a computer. It is a wonderful way for kids to learn about circuitry and electronics, or even a way for a puzzled adult to begin to understand how those crazy gadgets really work. But be prepared for part of your holiday feast to get hooked up to the circuit board!
Or you can pick up Game of Phones for your tweens and teens who seem to be connected by the thumbs to their smartphones, or even use the game as an ice breaker at your next holiday office party.
If you can’t separate your employees from their digital tethers, you might as well get them using those little rectangles of digital gadgetry to engage in some face-to-face fun.
- Give an App
This can be another gift certificate or credit. With so many people having smartphones, credit to purchase apps can be an excellent gift for young or old. Be sure to point the recipient toward a reputable provider. The holiday season provides ample opportunity for unscrupulous individuals to develop scams that can turn into decidedly uncool holiday gifts. Here are a few choices from the good guys.
- Webware - Beautiful web designs that offer clarity and navigability to you, your employees, and your customers. Create one website that will tie all your web-based programming and platforms together into a harmonious whole. No searching all over to find your collaborative projects, your payment collection platform, or your product catalog. Even if you use more than one platform to manage your business applications, they are only one click away on Webware.
- My Budget Book - A personal finance program that works offline. It can also work with your financial institutions.
- Invoices and Estimates - A buy it once application that can help the entrepreneur in your life create professional estimates and invoices. Excellent for contractors, home repair companies, lawn care, and similar small business applications.
- Give a Computer Game
If you know someone who is an avid gamer or who spends a lot of time writing or coding using a computer, give them something fun for their computer. “Fun” is one of those relative terms that can range all the way from Dora the Explorer to a collection of skyscapes, or even range over into utility programs.
Here are a few ideas:
- Dragon Naturally Speaking – if you know someone who uses touch types most of the day, this could be a lifesaver. It can also be used by people who are in some way handicapped. Although there are a lot of voice-to-type programs out there, Dragon remains the best. If you know someone for whom typing is becoming a choir, this is an extremely cool holiday gift.
- Age of Empires – a strategy game with realistic illustrations. This is not a new game, but one that has been remastered for modern players. This will be the coolest of Christmas gifts for history buffs or for people who love retro computer gaming.
- Farming Simulator 19 – Operate name brand farm machinery of all sorts, raise crops, tend livestock and ride horses. The closest you can get to farming without getting hayseeds down the back of your shirt. This is a cool Christmas gift for someone who really has a farm and loves it, or for someone who wants to farm.
- Traditional Games
Chess, checkers, marbles, Parcheesi and more can be a way to get people talking to each other. At your next office party, collect the digital appliances in a basket, and point people toward games that will have them bonding and interacting with each other. Give copies of those games, which can often be found for a minimal cost, as door prizes or game prizes so that everyone goes home with a cool holiday gift to share with their family.
- Donations to Favorite Charities
Need is a year-round guest in most areas. The holiday season tends to increase inspiration, but you can help your employees or family to give the kinds of gifts that will keep on giving throughout the year. Since the holiday season also seems to coincide with tax collection season and higher fuel bill season, you want your charity dollars to go to organizations that use your funds wisely. You can begin your search for responsible organizations by checking them with the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. Accredited charities are required to use at least 65 percent of funds collected toward the purpose for which they are collected, and that is 65 percent of cool Christmas gift giving.
Here is a brief list of charities that can feedback into your local community:
- United Way - United Way is a charitable organization that almost always keeps donated money within the community where it is given. However, not all local United Way programs are created equal. By checking with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, you will be able to tell if your local chapter is accredited.
- ASPCA - American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is accredited.
- Boys and Girls Clubs of America - Accreditation, and efficacy will vary by location, and this is true of most youth groups.
- Your local charities and support groups, which will vary from community to community
Avoid dealing with professional fundraisers, but instead give directly to the organization you wish to support. When employers match the funds donated by employees, this increases the assistance to a community.
- Digital Picture Albums
Few of your business associates will lack family or at the very least, collections of pictures of a vacation or favorite project. A digital picture album is an excellent way for a business person to carry evidence of a recent project. It is also a way to keep on hand the pictures of those dearest to the heart, nicely displayed on a desk or locker.
- Desk Nameplates
Sounds crazy? It isn’t. There are very few things in the workplace that wage earners can call their own. By giving a nameplate for their desk, you grant them ownership of their small part of the workspace. Similar recognition could be a unique nameplate for an office door or even for a personal locker.
Gift giving is an art form, whether it is to business associates, clients, family or friends. The key to giving those really cool Christmas gifts or giving at any time of the year is to consider the personal tastes of the recipient.
If giving a gift that requires a computer or smartphone, either give a download code or program that can be used on more than one type of computer or phone, or find a way to discover the brand, type, and age of the appliance owned by the recipient.
In all gift giving, strive to give something that the receiver will truly enjoy. Keep in mind that while some things might be terrifically useful, holidays are a time for enjoyment. The very best cool Christmas gifts or cool holiday gifts are those that are truly enjoyed and are something the receiver wouldn’t think of getting for him or herself.
Let us know some cool business Christmas gifts you’ve received throughout the years below!