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Who exactly is that holiday gift for?

Posted by Colleen Wainwright on

I’m in the final stages of putting together my own holiday gift (delivery delay due to due circumstances kinda-sorta outta my control), so I’ve had the chance not only to read Ilise’s posts on the topic but to see what’s landing in my own mailbox from various vendors.

Not to put too fine a point on it, they’re…underwhelming.

As Ilise said, it’s less about how much they want to spend on me and more about the thought that goes into it. Things like real-life utility and a personal touch are way more important than how much someone laid out. But what’s really irksome is the gift that’s both, um, cheap and virtually entirely self-serving.

For example, via my clients, I spent thousands and thousands of dollars with a CD-production vendor. To celebrate that, they sent a desktop calendar that, while lovely, is not only completely useless (I don’t use desktop calendars) but also mildly insulting: each month is designed by someone on their staff, to entice me to use their design services next time. And I’m…a designer. Who brought them business.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for showing off skills, where appropriate (and well done). But how much would it have taken for the account rep (who did sign the accompanying card, so, points for that) to say, "You know, she’s a graphic designer herself; maybe we could stick a $5 Starbucks gift card in there instead." Even a CD or two of interesting music would have been more special, and could still have been an example of them strutting their design stuff, albeit a lot less offensively. Same investment, with an effect that’s better by an order of magnitude.

My own gift is a consumable item that, yes, was partially designed by me. Accompanying it will be more or fewer doodads, as appropriate. Possibly a couple of the CDs I designed—I’m proud of the design and my clients’ own work, and love the idea of spreading the word.

Am I a total Grinch here? Worse, am I self-deluded, hypocritical Grinch?

  • More in: Connecting, Posts by Colleen, Pricing & Marketing, Self-Promotion

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