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Narrowing down the wish list is always so difficult. A year or two ago, the Mednikow catalog had a $575,000 diamond ring on its front cover, complete with a little cutout so you can try the ring on for size. Difficult to duplicate online.
Make sure your People create and adhere to a Santa Budget; otherwise, it can be very difficult to make a profit on Christmas. After all, you've got your family to think of, and yourself of course, your pets, and don't forget your favorite charities, in addition to people at work.
My neighbor, an OB/GYN, gives his wife a new Jaguar with leather seats every year. If he ever has a hard day at the office, she isn't asking.
Office giving is as complicated as international diplomacy, with delicate customs and preferences to consider. Offending someone would defeat the purpose. Plus, whatever you do this year you must meet or beat next year, so putting someone on your gift list is like giving them an annuity. Develop rigorous screening criteria to ensure that everyone on your list is giftworthy - now and forever. Candidates for corporate gifts include personal assistants, bosses, staff, vendors, partners, journalists who spelled your name correctly in the newspaper, and the person who delivers your mail. Anyone who makes you look good should make the cut.
If you make more than $250,000 per year, give your assistant $500 in cash. Nothing says money like money. Or, make it personal - a celebrity's phone number, a day of skiing, airfare to New York. Don't mix the message, though: even if your assistant has been complaining of muscle aches, don't give a gift certificate for a massage unless you're having an affair. Many all-purpose spas have massage therapy, so offer the Day of Beauty instead.
When in doubt, don't give alcohol or fur. But when you're certain, do.
Never, ever give something practical. Give something that makes you jealous.
It can be fun to think of gifts under $1,000 for Yankee swap meets and Secret Santa extravaganzas (voluntary only, please). Here are some of my favorites.
Time is the greatest holiday gift of all, and it doesn't show up on your credit card bill. One Friday in December, I invite all my People to a catered lunch of toast points and caviar. When everyone is served, I pop the cork on the sparkling nonalcoholic cider and give everyone the afternoon off. After all, my People own an equity stake in me, and I in them. It's in our best interest to stay motivated. And nothing motivates people to work hard like prime shopping hours.
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