holiday gifts

Plan your gifts to avoid this happening at work

Giving someone a gift, whether a friend, customer, employee or co-worker, is an action meant to create a moment of happiness, both for the sender and the recipient. However, when that process gets interrupted unexpectedly, it has the potential to create the opposite effect for the sender.

We witnessed this recently when a potential customer came to us for help with her Holiday Gift plan. We were one of several vendors and the person in charge did a considerable amount of work putting together samples, pricing, lists, etc. Alas, the program was canceled at the last minute when someone cut the budget. While she was professional in every way, I could hear the sound of disappointment in her voice.

Our Holiday Gift Planning Guide

If you have worked on any project at a company only to have your work discarded, the project cancelled, or the budget cut at the last minute, you know how this can kill your motivation. Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University did some interesting studies on what really motivates us at work. And as it turns out, it’s not money, although that does play a role. One of the most devastating and de-motivating things people face in the world of work, is to pour their heart and soul into a project, only to have it canceled or discarded.

Professor Ariely gave this TED talk on his research into what really motivates us:

Professor Dan Airely discusses what really motivates us at work.
Professor Dan Airely discusses what really motivates us at work.

Or you can read a summary in this blog post if you prefer:

What motivates us to work?

For individuals who send out our cookie gifts, this type of situation does not really apply. But, as we head into the season where companies traditionally send out gifts, chances are this situation has the potential to come up more than once. In addition to the desire to be generous with employees and customers during this time of year, there is also pressure to make sure that expenses don’t exceed revenues.

At Anna’s Gourmet Goodies, this is an important time of the year for our business. We certainly want to help individuals and companies create an experience that generates a moment of happiness that lasts well beyond the season.

We can’t magically create ‘budget dollars’ for any company, but we can help make sure that what we do is a good fit for each of our customers. Our menu is pretty simple – two types of cookies and chocolate brownies. We offer a variety of packaging options to fit a range of gift budgets. If what we have on the website doesn’t exactly fit, please ask us for options. And if you ask us to do something we can’t or doesn’t fit our business, we’ll tell you straight up.

To help our customers (and even those who choose someone else for gifts) think through the process, I’ve created a simple (4) step guide to planning a project around sending gifts. It’s not complicated, but worth thinking about, especially if you are delegating this task to someone in your company. I’ve updated our worksheet template to include some new macros and sorting options that help categorize gifts and recipients. (If you have any questions or issues after downloading, please give me a call).

You can get all the details and download your copy here.

I’ve always believed that sending gifts should not feel like a burden. Everything we do at Anna’s Gourmet Goodies is designed to make our cookie and brownie gifts easy to send and always well received. And if it is your task to take on this project, we hope that you (and/or your company) have the budget in place and we’ll work with you anyway we can to make sure the end result is worth the effort you put into the project. Making people who send and receive our gifts happy, is what motivates us every day.

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Holiday baskets in the warehouse?

On Saturday, Anna and I made our weekly trek down to the ‘warehouse’ store to stock up on supplies for Anna’s Gourmet Goodies. I’ve noticed displays of those ‘cookie tins’ (the ones that stay fresh for months or even years) showing up over the past few weeks, but they have now rolled out the gift packs in quantity. I guess the early season for holiday shopping has begun – I spotted a large center isle display of those shrink wrapped gift baskets with candy canes in them. Is it really time to see this in stores?

Like most companies in the gift business, we are already taking reservations for the holidays. Everything we do is baked to order, so we reserve ‘oven time’ to bake and ship our gourmet cookies for customers. We plan ahead, we just don’t bake ahead. Our family gave up foods with chemical additives and preservatives when we went on the Feingold Program and had our cookies certified. We use no ingredient that contains any petro chemicals, dyes or preservatives, and we simply don’t make anything that can be left out for weeks, let alone months. The holiday season is a crazy time for us, but we think the results are worth the effort.

The financial upheaval we are all watching unfold will most certainly have an effect on our economy and spending over the coming months and years. I expect retail businesses will start the push earlier than ever this year and it will be interesting to see how this season shakes out. I guess I’m okay with candy canes in September, but if I see a Valentine display of any kind, I’ll know we’ve gone a holiday too far.

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