Should You Play Santa?: Gifts for Freelance Clients

The holidays will be here faster than you can say “reindeer games,” and while you might have gifts chosen for your loved ones, it can be trickier knowing if you should buy gifts for your clients.  The short answer is yes, but there are some things to keep in mind:

The nature of your relationship with this client.  Are they a client for whom you only completed one project?  Or are they a client whom you’ve formed a lasting relationship with?  It’s a great idea to get long-term clients a gift to encourage a positive relationship and show your appreciation.

The nature of your business.  If you’re a website developer, it might not be as crucial to buy clients gifts at the end of the year, since your relationship with them is in terms of single projects.  However, if you’re in a service-based industry, fostering good client relationships becomes more important and gifts are one way to show your appreciation.

Don’t forget potential clients.  Get a little something for a potential client – it shows you’re thinking of them this season, and could lead to a new piece of business.


Now that you’ve decided who to gift, it’s time to figure out what to give them.  It’s important to make it meaningful – this isn’t the time to deliver something cheap and call it a day.  However, you don’t have to break the bank either.  Here are a few guidelines when you’re thinking of that special something:

Where you can, personalize it.  Does your client love a good cup of coffee?  Get them a personalized blend.  How about nice stationary?  Personalize that too.  For the clients you’ve had the longest, a more personal gift shows that you value them beyond your standard freelancer-client relationship.

When in doubt, calendars, mugs, etc. are safe bets.  Who’s ever turned down a free calendar?  There may be some people, but they’re few and far between.  Branded collateral makes a great gift for a newer client or potential piece of business.

Give a sweet treat.  The holidays are full of food, but a box of chocolates or peppermint bark is hard to pass up.  Just make sure your client doesn’t have any food allergies that could put a damper on your gift.


Will you be getting your clients something this season?  Leave your suggestions in the comments below!