It seems far too early to even begin thinking about Christmas, but the truth is that it will be here before you know it and the sooner you can get your holiday shopping done, the better!  This is especially true if one of your tasks at work includes doing holiday shopping for your clients or employees as many of these gifts need to be ordered ahead of time.  If you’re looking to get your shopping done early this year, we’ve got some great tips and ideas for you!

Specialty Items

Specialty items, including imprinted and screen-printed apparel and promotional products such as pens, mugs, coolers, and duffel bags, are great ideas for client and employee gifts.  Not only are they nice, high-quality gifts, but it’s also wonderful branding for your business as most specialty items are imprinted with your company’s logo and/or contact information.

“The time to order specialty gift items varies dramatically depending on the item or items you’ve selected as a gift,” states Chad Krause with Art F/X.  “To be safe, you should order 30 days before you want to start distributing them.  Many items can be ordered last minute if you get into a time crunch, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.”

“Clothing is our core product line, so we see many corporate gifts of apparel purchased for the holiday season, both for employees and for clients or customers,” continues Krause.  “The cost of purchasing screen printed apparel varies widely, ranging from less expensive items such as t-shirts and towels to high end items such as leather coats.  It all depends on the message you want to send and your budget.  When it comes down to it, if you’re considering specialty items for gift giving, ask yourself if it is an item you would enjoy receiving.  If that’s the case, there is a pretty good chance your associates or customers would enjoy receiving it as well.”

When planning corporate gifts, keep in mind that you don’t have to get everyone on your list the same thing.  Many business owners choose to send larger gifts to their bigger or more long-term clients and smaller gifts to new clients or those who don’t do as much business with them.  You can also consider pairing the specialty item with another, non-specialty item gift, such as food (think a bag of specialty popcorn or candy in an imprinted mug), gift certificates (a windbreaker with your company logo on it paired with a gift certificate to a golf store, for example) or other items.

Another good idea when it comes to giving specialty items as corporate gifts is to hand deliver them whenever possible.  If your clients live in the same city as you, there is no reason why you can’t take an afternoon off from work and take the gifts directly to your client.  Not only will it impress them that you took the time to come in yourself, but it also gives you a chance to make that all-important client contact and strengthen your relationship.

Gifts for a Vehicle

If you’re looking for that perfect personal gift for the person on your list who seems to have everything, you need look no further than their vehicle.  “Not only is it nice to hop in a vehicle that has been cooled off in the summer or warmed up in the winter, but remote car starters are the only safe, legal way to do this on Omaha’s streets,” states Rick Quistad from Jones Automotive.  “It is a proven, unfortunate fact that a tremendous amount of vehicle theft is due to people letting a vehicle run unattended with the keys in the ignition.  When using a Remote Starting System, your vehicle remains locked while running.  And, if someone broke into it, as soon as they hit the brake (to take it out of park), the engine stops and they go nowhere.  There can also be optional features such as door lock and unlock, trunk release, alarms and more.  However, what is really getting a lot of attention recently is the ability to use your smart phone to operate the system, giving you virtually unlimited range.”

Remote car starters make great gifts for students, elderly people who don’t like leaving their homes in the cold and getting into a cold car or those who live on busy streets and are not able to warm their cars up in the morning.  However, it’s likely that you won’t find anyone on your list who wouldn’t enjoy a gift such as this!

Woodworking Classes

If you have someone on your list who has always wanted to get into woodworking or who already does some woodworking in their free time, you should consider getting them some classes for Christmas.  “We have a wide variety of c lasses available and they are typically $69.00 per session,” states Gerry Phelan with Midwest Woodworking.  “The classes are hands-on and limited to four or five participants.  In most classes, you event get to make a project you can take home with you.  We offer classes on carving, scrolling, pen turning, cabinet building, bowl turning, sharpening, finishing and more.”

Want to make the gift even more special?  Consider getting a woodworking class for both you and the recipient so you can learn the skill together!  This is an especially good idea for daughters or sons to give their fathers as they get to spend more time with their parent while learning something new and fun that will bring them closer together.

If you’re not sure what type of class your woodworker needs or would be interested in, you can also get a gift certificate from Midwest Woodworking that can be used for classes or anything in the store.

Unique and Fun Gifts

Have you got someone on your list who loves to have fun and be fashionable?  It’s easy and enjoyable to go shopping for these people!!  Try visiting a local boutique that not only carries clothes, but also accessories and other items for great ideas.  You can shop for clothing, accessories, handbags, shoes and even gift items they will be sure to enjoy.  This is also a fun way to get out there and see all the new styles for fall and winter and you can introduce someone on your gift list to some of the great local boutiques the city has to offer.  If you’re unsure what to get, try working with some of the staff at these boutiques.  Explain the person on your gift list, what she likes, how she usually dresses, and they will be likely to help you find the perfect gift for her!

A note to keep in mind if you are considering buying clothing for someone on your list: if you aren’t sure about their size, you should consider buying items where size doesn’t matter (socks, accessories or purses, for example) or rely on getting gift certificates.  Buying the wrong size of clothing not only runs the risk of offending the recipient, but it’s also a possibility that they will never take the item in to exchange for the right size and your gift will be wasted.

Whether you want to get all of your corporate gifts checked off the list or you want to make a dent in those personal gifts, there’s no better time to start shopping than now!  If you get an early start, you won’t have to worry about standing in line, rush deliveries or the stress that comes along with last minute gift shopping.  Enjoy the holiday season as stress-free as possible by shopping ahead of time!