‘Tis the season! While spiced cider, turkey, too much pumpkin pie, and loud family gatherings might distract us from the true spirit of the holidays, it all comes back to giving thanks. But the season of giving isn’t just for family and friends; it extends to our professional lives, too.

For many brands (especially agencies and B2B companies), it’s common to send holiday gifts to clients, ranging from fruit baskets and bottles of bourbon to invitations for out-of-town trips. Yet it’s often the much smaller and more thoughtful expressions of gratitude that mean the most — and this type of giving is appropriate year-round. Read on for four ways to impart gratitude in your everyday interactions.

1. Welcome Clients with Onboarding Treats

scented candle stock photo
Bouquet of white flowers in a vase, candles on a copper vintage tray, old rotary phone, retro home decor by Daria Minaeva

Entering a new work arrangement can be tedious for even the most experienced of clients. They’ve just put their own neck on the line by taking on a new partner, spent a significant portion of their budget, and bared all of their vulnerabilities and challenges in discovery. A soothing or fun gift right after beginning a new project can help to break the ice and set minds at ease.

Consider a treat related to the project scope — one that is on-brand for both you and the client. For example, if your project is a redesign for a meditation center, consider sending a soothing scented candle in your client’s brand colors. Creative and appropriately priced options are easy to come up with when you use the project and your client’s identity as inspiration.

2. Recognize Great Clients with Thoughtful Surprises

flower bouquet stock photo
gerbera, tulips and mix of summer flowers bouquet by fotozitta

The most appreciated gifts of gratitude are the ones that are least expected and most thoughtful. Recognize your client’s commitment to your company by marking their hard work. For example, you should thank clients who…

  • Stay up late with your team through a tough site launch
  • Advocate on your behalf for a larger budget
  • Stay with you every step of the way, even when they’re spread thin between work and personal commitments

These are all moments when we feel grateful for our client’s dedication and partnership, and it’s an appropriate time to acknowledge their efforts. For the overworked or stressed out client, consider sending a spa gift certificate. For the client in need of a real night off, make reservations for them and their spouse at a romantic restaurant and hire them a babysitter. Flowers and baked goods always do the trick, too!

3. Make Gratitude a Part of Company Culture

friends toasting drinks stock photo
Food Table Healthy Delicious Organic Meal Concept by Rawpixel.com

While client gifts are a great way to express gratitude, it means very little if the thought isn’t a genuine expression from your entire team. That’s why you should cultivate a culture of gratitude within your larger team and company. Fostering a general feeling of goodwill not only improves client relations, but it can create a happier, more congenial work environment, which benefits everyone involved.

Take time to toast your clients at company gatherings, lunches, happy hours, and events. After all, your clients are the reason that you’re able to treat the team so well.

4. Say It Loud, Say It Clear

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Portrait of a young woman walking and sending text message on cell phone by mimagephotography

Of course there’s nothing more classic than actually saying, or even writing, the words “thank you.” Whether it accompanies a sincere look in the eye after a meeting, a personal call, or a hand-written letter, actually saying these two words to acknowledge your gratitude can mean something special. Be specific with your thanks, and your gratitude will go a long way in solidifying the relationship with your client, customer, or partner.

How does your team show gratitude into their day-to-day business relationships?

Top image: Woman wrapping authentic holiday gifts at home by Peter Bernik