The Gift

christmasgiftAs we approach the holiday season business owners begin struggling with how to “recognize” the holidays and not be offensive to anyone.  This includes me as I do not want to spread any type of uneasy feelings to others.  Everyone has this problem and everyone handles it in their own way.  Plus there is the expense factor in what you can actually afford to send or do for those who are important to you – your clients, your suppliers, your employees, and your family.

Here is an easy solution that costs little but will be treasured by all.

For clients, send a quick note thanking them for allowing you to provide the product or service you provide as a matter of business.  This does not take a lot of time and is always appreciated.  If your handwriting is anything like mine your clients will thank you for using your printer to actually make the notes.  I do try and sign mine in a legible manner.

Your suppliers should also get the same treatment.  If you have not had a positive experience with some of your suppliers this is a good time to tell them you will no longer be requiring their services.  Nothing says “have a great holiday” like severing a relationship.  Just remember this is the time you have to make decisions about the next year, and that means some suppliers stay and some go.

Employees are a little trickier.  Putting something in writing to them can come back to haunt you.  That “Job Well Done” holiday card stuffed into whatever you do for gifts can be used for a wrongful dismissal lawsuit later.  The best idea is the company lunch, either brought in or at a local eatery, followed by whatever type of gift exchange or giving you feel is appropriate. 

Your family is another matter.  What you do personally for them is personal and not the subject of this blog.  What I am suggesting is that you write each family member that you love a personal letter, just from you to them.  Put this in your holiday celebration display (Menorah, tree, stocking, or place at the table) for them to open on your celebration day.  What you need to tell them is exactly how you feel about yourself, your business, your relationships, and your dreams as you see them today.  I have asked newly wedded couples to do this before their actual wedding as they will remember the anniversary but not the intensity of the feelings leading up to their wedding.  Imagine how you would feel if you could read a letter from your parent that was written by each of them before you were born about how they felt at their wedding.

I have written a letter to a new born child about her mother every Christmas as she was born on December 26.  I have indicated that the letters are to be given to this child on her 18th birthday.  These letters will detail how I met her mother, and how I continue to work with her over the years as long as I am able to do so.  I may not be here on this earth when she gets them, but I hope it brings a little joy and understanding of who her mother was 19 years ago.

May your holidays be bright and cheery.  Spend time with those who are important to you.  These times will be only a memory way too soon.

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