• 05.29.2024

Gift-Giving Etiquette: What to Do and What Not to Do

Nurturing connections is important in the corporate world, and corporate gifting is a potent tool in this endeavor. It's a way to show genuine appreciation and build goodwill with clients, colleagues, and employees. Corporate birthday gifts, in particular, offer a unique opportunity to celebrate milestones and strengthen relationships.

However, the quest for the ideal gift can often be challenging. Striking the delicate balance between demonstrating care and avoiding discomfort due to over personalization requires careful consideration.

Read on to explore some essential do's and don'ts of corporate gifting to ensure successful gift-giving experiences in the corporate world.

Do's of Corporate Gifting

The secret to becoming a pro at corporate gifting lies in understanding what makes a gift truly impactful.

Below are the five essential do's of corporate gifting that will help you master the art of thoughtful gift-giving:

1. Choose Practical Gifts

Choose Practical Gifts

When it comes to corporate birthday gifts, make sure you select items that are both meaningful and useful to the recipient.

Consider their interests and preferences when choosing a birthday gift, but also prioritize practicality. Whether it's a personalized desk organizer, a high-quality pen set, or a subscription to a professional development service, opt for items that align with their professional needs and will enhance their daily work life.

2. Evaluate the Recipient’s Choices and Preferences

Birthday Gifts for Colleagues

Personalization is the key to choosing the perfect birthday gifts for colleagues.

When you consider the recipient's interests or hobbies, the gift becomes more than just a formality—it's something they'll truly enjoy.

For example, you can gift a Deadline Chaser Gift Hamper to congratulate a colleague on a project well done; it shows you appreciate their hard work and their personality. This thoughtfulness goes a long way in building strong relationships.

3. Assess Cultural and Religious Sensitivities

Understanding a client or colleague's cultural and religious background can be incredibly helpful when choosing a gift. It shows you care about them as a whole person and avoids any accidental offense. 

So, when selecting birthday gifts for colleagues, make sure you consider cultural and religious sensitivities. This means taking into account factors such as dietary restrictions, religious beliefs, and cultural practices.

Avoid gifts that may be inappropriate or offensive based on the recipient's cultural background, and instead opt for inclusive gifts that everyone can enjoy.

4. Add a Personalized Touch to Make an Impact

Eco-Employee Gift Hamper

The best corporate gifts go beyond just the item itself. A personalized touch, like a handwritten note or inscription, can elevate the experience. 

Take, for example, our Sharp and Steely hamper. This carefully curated collection features sleek essentials such as a metal phone holder, a metal water bottle, and a metal coffee sipper. But what sets it apart is the inclusion of a customized note card. With this addition, you get the chance to convey your gratitude in a manner that speaks directly to the recipient.

5. Verify the Company’s Gifting Policies and Guidelines

Avoid Alcohol and Related Gifts

Last but not least, knowing your recipient's work environment and company values is vital to thoughtful gifting. It shows respect for their brand and solidifies business relationships.

Many companies even have gifting policies; a quick check ensures your present aligns with their guidelines. This way, you can be confident your gift is well-received, whether it's a birthday gift for a colleague or something for a special occasion.

Don’ts of Corporate Gifting

While giving personalized gifts shows care, knowing where to draw the line with gifting is important, too. 

Follow the points mentioned below to avoid common pitfalls and ensure your corporate gifting efforts are well-received:

1. Avoid Overly Personal Gifts

Professionalism is key in corporate gifting. The goal is to show appreciation, so it is best to avoid overly personal gifts. Think beyond items related to the recipient's appearance, like jewelry, cologne, or clothing, as these can feel intrusive. 

Especially when it comes to corporate birthday gifts, selecting a gift that is overly personal can be inappropriate and may make the recipient feel uncomfortable.

Avoid items that are too intimate or revealing, such as clothing or accessories that could be misconstrued as romantic gestures. Instead, focus on gifts that are professional, practical, and universally appreciated. This ensures that your birthday gift is well-received and strengthens your professional relationship with the recipient.

2. Don't Go Overboard

Showing appreciation to your team is a great thing, but the key is keeping it genuine. Overly expensive gifts can sometimes send the wrong message, like you're trying to curry favor. A thoughtful, simpler gift shows your gratitude perfectly.

Think about something like the Eco-Employee Gift Hamper —it is full of useful office essentials, nothing that will raise eyebrows. It's filled with practical office essentials like a cork cover journal, a set of cork coasters, a pen in wood finish, a glass coffee sipper, and a custom note card. This selection is both practical and thoughtful, which will help you avoid any potential discomfort or misinterpretation.

Sticking to a reasonable budget shows respect and keeps your intentions clear. This builds trust and strengthens your team by fostering fair partnerships.

3. Avoid Alcohol and Related Gifts

It is best to avoid gifting alcohol and related products in a corporate setting. Certain recipients may abstain from alcohol use owing to health/diet issues, religious convictions, and/or personal choices.

Additionally, gifts related to alcohol consumption (like wine glasses or a brewery tour) might be misconstrued as promoting alcohol use. Therefore, you should opt for non-alcoholic gift options to demonstrate inclusivity and avoid any potential discomfort for the recipient. 

Wrapping Up

Mastering corporate gifting can be a powerful tool to strengthen business ties and professional networking.

While you can choose common gifts like branded merchandise or gift cards, incorporating personal touches and considering the preferences and sensitivities of your recipients can elevate your gifting game to new heights. By following these do's and don'ts, you can ensure that your corporate gifting efforts are well-received and make a positive impact.

Need inspiration for gifting? Explore BoxUp Luxury Gifting's wide range of corporate hampers—a perfect way to show appreciation, respect, and trust for those valued colleagues and clients in your network.


1.  Can I give homemade gifts to my colleagues?

While homemade treats can be a sweet gesture, it's best to tread carefully in a corporate setting. There could be allergies or dietary restrictions you might not be aware of.  Opting for professionally prepared gifts ensures everyone's safety and allows the recipient to enjoy the present without worry.

2.  What is a preferred gift option if I do not know my colleague well?

At times, picking the perfect gift can be tricky, especially if you're unsure of someone's preferences. In those situations, classic options, like gift certificates to well-known coffee shops or bookstores, can be reliable. 

3.  Can I give a gift to my boss or supervisor?

While individual gifts can be a nice gesture, consider the team dynamic, too. A collective gift from the team can be even more impactful, as it shows the supervisor your appreciation while fostering a sense of togetherness among colleagues.

4.  What if my recipient refuses the gift?

If your recipient declines the gift, respect their decision gracefully. It's possible they have personal or professional reasons for doing so. Politely acknowledge their refusal and reassure them that it's perfectly fine. If appropriate, express your gratitude for their consideration and maintain a positive, professional demeanor to preserve the relationship.

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BoxUp Gifting was created in 2017 with the thought of crafting premium luxury gifts for every occasion, big or small to express appreciation and make someone feel valued. Our hampers are thoughtfully curated and personalized to each individual, ensuring that each one is truly special.

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