Productive Holiday Gifts to Give (and Maybe Receive)

They are responsible for our good years and our continued hope for the future. They are our clients, but also our teachers and friends. A card is not enough to express our gratitude. Every year at this time, we look for ways to tell our clients what they mean to us.

Here are a few ideas to please the solo entrepreneur, the small office, and the individual client. As for your own inspired ideas, please post them in the comments.

Note: Not all of these ideas fall within the $25 limit set by the IRS for tax-deductible gift limits. Too bad. While money is not the point, we would like to express our full thanks. Write your senators and representatives to raise the limit on tax-deductible gifts next year, but for now, forget the cost — just let them know how you feel.

(photo courtesy of

The 1.3 liter Menu Water Pitcher provides “spa water” at the office – add lemon, mint or basil sprigs, apple slices, or other flavorings. It’s healthy, it’s beautiful. Find it at  fitzsu in Los Angeles. (About $70)

Strike a blow for Urge the world toward greater civility! New York Times columnist Philip Galanes has written SocialQ’s, an entertaining and useful guide to 21st-century etiquette. Emoticons in your business correspondence? Silver spoon missing after the neighbors come to dinner? Sister re-gifting what you gave her, and giving it back to you?? Galanes addresses modern social quandaries with wit and intelligence. (Publisher’s price $23, sells for about $16 on

Eco-friendly. Fun to use. Helpful. Ships flat. (Did I mention fun?) the bamboo desktop dry-erase board from Three by Three, available at SeeJaneWork will please lots of clients, and bring warm thoughts of you every day. (About $ 14)
Are your clients equal parts analytical and creative? Or do you need a nifty gift that travels well? The Revolver notebook is a sturdy, attractive, and useful example of the book inder’s art. A quick flip of the covers changes the Revolver from plain paper for free-form imagination to ruled pages for no-nonsense jotting. Mails neatly. (About $ 12-19, depending on size)

Maybe you and your client have achieved the extraordinary this year – slain dragons together. Or maybe you happen to know they don’t want another “thing” in their office – but new experiences are always welcome. Maybe this is the year for Edward Tufte’s information design class, “Presenting Data and Information.” Tufte, a retired Yale professor and a towering figure in information design, has created a class that will forever change the way you think about a PowerPoint. (About $380 per person)

Just when I thought chocolate could not get any better, enter Recchiuti, San Francisco’s chocolatier supreme. Conveniently, they offer a “sharing box”  that let’s everyone have a mind-blowing taste. Don’t be surprised when they start dropping hints once they’ve run out. (About $100)

I wish you all the very happiest of holidays!


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