To gift or not to gift? And if to gift, what's appropriate?
Words of caution: 1) Do not violate RESPA laws and 2 )Consult with your tax adviser! Now that that's out of the way...
Here are some ways to show your appreciation not only during the holidays, but during the entire year.
1. Make a charitable donation on behalf of the recipients. One significant donation to American Cancer Society, AIDS Project LA, The Humane Society, ASPCA, World Vision, UNICEF or to another worthy organization is always appreciated!
2. A festively wrapped houseplant or a fruit tree or rose bush can be planted and enjoyed for a long time with continual thoughts of you.
3. A magazine subscription is another inexpensive and unique way of creating a monthly "touch". Tailor to the taste and interest of the recipient. Great magazines include Architectural Digest, Sunset Magazine, Gourmet, Conde Nast's Travel and Leisure, The New Yorker, Elle Decor, or Success Magazine are wonderful examples that offer tremendous value.
4. Candy, food and wine or other spirits are always great gifts! Champagne, a beautiful bottle of vodka or liqueur, gourmet chocolate...who doesn't love any of these? Doorknocking your past clients with a wrapped bottle of wine gives you an additional "touch" opportunity with a followup phone call if they aren't there and you've needed to leave it at the door.
5. Special gifts such as theater, concert, event tickets or restaurant gift certificates are best reserved for special clients or occasions.
Ultimately, the gift itself is not as valuable as the special thought given to what the individual would enjoy. And if nothing else, the simple gesture of a handwritten holiday card wishing them well and expressing gratitude for their past and future business is perfect.