Janet McKean's Lost & Found Gift ConsultancyJanet McKean is a 25-year gifts industry expert. Her company, Lost and Found, brings trend-setting products from established and emerging designers to the marketplace. Janet provides representation and consulting to artists, retailers, galleries and wholesalers. She's one of my original clients, a great friend and my go-to gal when I need to find cool gifts for business or personal giving. Seemed only natural to ask her to weigh in with some gift-giving guidance.

Tips for holiday business gift-giving

Corporate gift-giving during the holidays is always a bit of a challenge: It’s the perfect opportunity to say thank you so you want to do it well. When it comes to business gift-giving, whether it’s inner-office or office-to-office, think thoughtful but not too terribly personal. Here are some tips:

1. Buy local.

I like giving something local because it means supporting your community while thanking the people who have worked alongside you all year long.

2. Make it shareable.

For group gifts, choose something that everyone can enjoy together for a nice way to celebrate and connect during the holidays. How about sending breakfast or lunch from a neighborhood deli or arranging for a food truck? Group tickets to a sporting event, concert or performance are good, too.

3. Personalize it.

Try to personalize your gift. Coupons for car washes for commuters who drive to work. A gift card for their favorite coffee or lunch place. Homemade cookies or other goodies for foodies or non-cooks. [Some tasty ideas from Grist.org] Movie passes for film buffs.

4. Avoid miscues.

Finally, it bears repeating: Nothing political, nothing religious and no alcohol unless of course you work in these industries!

For more business gift-giving etiquette, consult the Emily Post Institute. And speaking of politics, if you’re giving a gift with an elected official, make sure you know the rules. Here are the gift-giving guidelines for members of Congress.

Looking for some inspiration? Here are some ideas:

holiday gift-giving