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Business Gifts That Cost Less but Mean More

Don't have the budget to go all out this year? Here a few creative ideas.

It's that time of year when the gift baskets and candy boxes begin arriving almost daily. But what if you don't have the funds to send out your normal high-priced holiday gifts to employees and valued customers and staff? Not to worry. These 9 budget-conscious ideas will let people know you're thinking of them during the holidays.

  1. Gift cards make great business gifts. According to a recent holiday survey by Office Depot, 72 percent of respondents prefer a gift card over any other gift from co-workers or business colleagues.
  2. A great book or magazine subscription that suits the recipient's interests is a nice touch.
  3. Museum memberships provide year-long cultural delight at a minimum price.
  4. Go green this holiday by purchasing a potted plant, an ideal universal gift for clients or staff members.
  5. Buy a photo frame (traditional or digital) for recipients to display in their cubicle or office.
  6. Noise-canceling headphones are great for the frequent air travelers on your list.
  7. Need another idea for the business travelers you're shopping for? Sign them up for a travel newsletter--it'll get them thinking about how they can use their frequent flyer miles.
  8. A beautiful pen is a useful gift: Call it a "deal pen," and write a nice note that offers your wish that it will bring them luck in the coming year.
  9. A local restaurant guide, such as something from the Zagat series, is a common gift, but you can personalize it with a selection tagged with a Post-it note that reads "I'm taking you here."

Hillary Mendelsohn is a shopping expert and the founder and president of thepurplebook: The Definitive Guide to Exceptional Online Shopping, an annual resource guide for online shopping.

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