Business Gifts That Cost Less but Mean More

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

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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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