Ways to share gratitude without breaking the bank or being cliché.

This time of year, it can be all too easy to feel pressured to button everything up — finish projects, finalize billing, and, if possible, get a little time off for the holidays. Somewhere in there, you’re also trying to figure out how to let your team and business associates know you appreciate them. It’s tough to get it all done.

Here are some things you can do to show your team and work associates that you appreciate them and that won’t break the bank or take time you don’t feel you have.

Gifts Ready to Go — Katye McGregor Bennett

Home-Baked Cookies

At KMB our annual tradition is to make and send cookies. It takes a couple of days to prep, bake, and ship the packages, but it always feels so good to take our stack of boxes to the post office. Pro Tip: Click & Ship is the ONLY way to go. We live in a rural area but even still, I save my list and every year all I have to do is log in, make any needed updates, and print away. I call ahead to make sure it’s convenient to drop 30-plus boxes off, which they always appreciate. Others in our circle make baking day an annual event for those who participate.

Shared Experiences

Gifting people experiences has become a popular option and I’m a big fan. Someone in my circle was recently glowing about being gifted a spa treatment for two, another had been taken to dinner and a concert of their choosing, while someone else commented that a team-building day at a driving school had been a hit with all. Gift cards for things people can do outside of work AND the time to do them provide versatile options that you can likely purchase in bulk. Smashhouses are also something that I’m hearing about, and what a great way for teams to release some pressure together.

Put It In Writing

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears mentioning again. The long-term value of a handwritten note is immeasurable. I still have a framed card from Joey Kolchinsky of OneVision Resources and another from Mark Cishowski of Clarity AV from years ago. If that’s any indication, consider this a compelling option for your holiday communications. Let me warn you though, when I say “handwritten” I mean just that — a handwritten note, not just your signature repeated randomly on cards that have a stock sentiment imprinted in Comic Sans to look semi-realistic. Handwriting cards takes time and requires some thought to get the phrasing right. This is something you need to be fully committed to — don’t think you’ll knock out a stack of handwritten cards in 20 minutes before bugging out on a Friday afternoon. Plan for a couple of hours at least.

Shipping Gift Boxes - Katye McGregor Bennett

Better Yet — Break Bread Together

In the interior design world, one of the most coveted invites I’m aware of is the invite-only Thompson Traders soiree that takes place at the family’s home during High Point Market. The table layout and settings alone are a feast for the eyes, but it’s the love put into the evening that I’ve heard takes things to a whole new level. You don’t have to go this deep, of course, but inviting people into your home to enjoy a meal together is a great way to show how much you appreciate them.

Need More Ideas?

I shared some options last year in my December ’22 column, which are all still valid. Take a look and bookmark the page. Better yet, block your schedule for two hours and go do some online research, talk to a local retailer, and place your orders now so you can check that off your list. Then, all you have to do is start gathering thoughts for those handwritten cards. Maybe start stretching out those wrists, too, as your hand WILL get tired, but it is so incredibly worthwhile. Trust me!

Breathing Break

Okay, one more thing before you close the page — let me share one more bit of advice. Give yourself a break, breathe, do what you can, and let go of the rest. Most people are feeling totally overwhelmed right now, but taking a breather and lowering the bar will help get you through the end-of-the-year hustle. Oh, and about THAT. My friend Maddie Ringer’s Mad Yoga YouTube channel is a great place to go to learn how to stretch and let go of stress. Give it a try!

Until next month, cheers to the (almost) end of the year!

Original article can be found here: https://www.residentialsystems.com/features/secrets-of-success/giving-thanks

A 25+ veteran of the residential tech & AV integration industries, Katye McGregor Bennett is the CEO of KMB Communications, a boutique communications firm that anchors the intersection of technology + design by connecting brands, buyers, and prospective audiences through creating compelling content and conversation that elevates and amplifies. In addition to co-hosting Design Uncut with Veronika Miller, Katye hosts two popular podcasts, Connecting Tech+ Design and AV Trade Talk. She is part of the DesignHounds influencer group and also serves on the NAHB Custom Technology Work Group, is a strategic advisor in the CEDIAHTA, and AVIXA communities, a frequent contributor to Residential SystemsConnected Design and founder of the AV Yoga group.