Think about the service you received all year from your support team. The dry cleaners made sure your clothing was pressed just right. The print house made sure your resume was always printed on the good bright white Strathmore, not the unassuming 20# white copy paper. Your babysitter made sure the children were soundly asleep while you were moonlighting. Your personal trainer gave you extra attention after the holidays.

There are businesses, individuals, and even family members in your support team who were instrumental in your success this year, which sometimes came at their loss for your gain. They made sure you looked the part of a professional. Don’t just thank them verbally, do something tangible for them—give them a gift.

Here are some inexpensive yet considerate gift ideas you can use to thank your vendors. Remember, not everyone celebrates Western holidays, but I believe everyone can accept the close of another calendar year as a reason to celebrate and reflect.

  • Give them a gratuity. $20 cash in a blank card with a handwritten note is a great way to show your thankfulness.
  • Buy them a few bottles of sparkling cider in a variety of flavors. Believe it or not, not everyone drinks spirits. Someone may be battling substance abuse and unsolicited alcohol may put them over the edge this time of year.
  • Introduce a few close friends to your favorite vendors as customers. The income they bring to the vendor over the course of a year will surpass the $20 cash you put in a card. Your vendor would certainly appreciate the favor and business, and your friends will appreciate a new reliable vendor.
  • Offer your services as a one-time gift. Someone can always use what you offer. Tax services? Voice lessons? Yoga classes? Business consultations? Handmade accessories? Custom baked goods? Restorative massage? I’ve worked with so many creative small business persons over the years and I know there are many unique services to offer.

Showing appreciation to the individuals, businesses, and family members who support you confirms their worth and encourages them to continue treating you with professional respect. This may encourage them to spread their altruism to other individuals they come in contact with. That, ultimately, will help make this world a better place for us all.

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