Professional gifts that say NO REALLY THANK YOU SO MUCH
November 13, 2020 10:43 AM   Subscribe

I need COVID-friendly thank-you gift ideas for two extremely overworked Chicago-based conference planners!

My professional org just had our big annual conference. I co-chaired the planning committee. We worked with the same Chicago-based company that we do every year, but it was a MUCH heavier lift this year due to the switch to virtual. Two staff members in particular have been doing a massive amount of work to pull this off, and we truly couldn't have done it without them. One is a new mom who got the job a few weeks into COVID lockdowns, and we adore her. We've been thanking them publicly every chance we get, but the planning committee additionally wants to get them something to thank them. A lot of the gifts we might normally consider (spa/restaurant gift certificate) are out right now, and my brain is so fried from 2 weeks of online conferencing that I can't think of what else we could send other than a gift basket. If that's the move, do you have recommendations on a specific gift basket? Or other ideas?
posted by quiet coyote to Shopping (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If cash feels weird, a Target/Amazon/Visa gift card for $100 (or any amount, really) has always made me feel appreciated!
posted by WaspEnterprises at 10:51 AM on November 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

Gift basket with cash/gift card. This year being what it is, money is really really appreciated this year.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 10:51 AM on November 13, 2020 [6 favorites]

Also, your kind comments in writing should accompany whatever gift route you decide to go. Spoken words are lovely, but they can quickly fade; a letter or card with heartfelt sentiments from your team will really support the gift you give.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 10:55 AM on November 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

Gift card to Spotify, Disney+ or similar download service?
posted by calgirl at 10:58 AM on November 13, 2020

if you know where they live you can see if a supermarket near their home offers gift cards. Grocery stores offer treats as well as Things Everyone Needs.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:01 AM on November 13, 2020

Some people shop at WholeFoods and some at Walmart. But most will eventually buy something from Amazon. So an Amazon gift card might be a good idea.
posted by WizKid at 11:40 AM on November 13, 2020

i am one of those staff members who had a 5000 attendee/2500 presenter conference shift from live to virtual with 6 weeks notice and put in 90+ hour weeks every week to get it done. what would have been most appreciated, even beyond cold hard cash, was a letter or email to the higher ups at my company praising me BY NAME and explaining how i helped get that shit done, and done well. that could help with a raise when the salary freezes are over. (we of course did not get thanked by anyone, as is standard for my company.)
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:40 AM on November 13, 2020 [32 favorites]

My rule of thumb is to give generic cash cards plus a token gift that's usually a consumable (food, candle, stationery) and a card with a warm note of appreciation. It sounds like you've already raved about them to their higher-ups, which is also appropriate.

Unless you know specifically that these people do patronize certain specific stores (like if you know one of them loooves Target or has a semi-secret Taco Bell habit) and it's a thing you've discussed, anything else comes with a certain amount of baggage and not least of which political baggage that you'd probably rather avoid. And even grocery stores feel a little pushy, again unless you know they're enthusiastic fans of one.

Generic visa or mastercard cards spend very nearly everywhere and are generally not too hard to use online and run the least amount of risk of someone feeling like "oh, thanks for the card to the online megastore I boycott as human rights violators" or "what are you trying to say about my taco consumption" or whatever.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:46 AM on November 13, 2020 [10 favorites]

Veruca Chocolates seem to have made people happy in the past and are local.
posted by eotvos at 11:47 AM on November 13, 2020

Also, Sweet Mandy B's bakery (who make cakes, cookies, cupcakes and such) is what my workplace for now uses for thank-you gift cards. I have no idea if they're any good or not, but it's worth a look.
posted by eotvos at 12:00 PM on November 13, 2020

(Sorry for the terrible grammar in the above comment. It's been a long week. And year.)
posted by eotvos at 12:23 PM on November 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Cash or equivalent with a small, additional gift (ex: plant, chocolates, tea, etc). With the holidays coming up and so much financial pressure in general happening right now, cash is a great way to show appreciation. It would also be great to buy the small, additional gift from a small business if you can.
posted by quince at 12:33 PM on November 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Restaurant gift cards can be perfect right now—most restaurants that are open during the pandemic offer delivery or pickup now, and it would be a great way to support a local restaurant and give the planners nice gifts.
posted by smich at 1:38 PM on November 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

People are still doing restaurant take-out, but you'll want to make sure it's a restaurant they like?
posted by suelac at 2:19 PM on November 13, 2020

My previous boss would periodically give us American Express gift cards after big projects and they were awesome. Easy to use practically everywhere, and you can get exactly what you want.
posted by bookmammal at 2:42 PM on November 13, 2020 [3 favorites]


It’s like a whole thing for them.
posted by Mizu at 5:54 PM on November 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yes, this year get something that basically = cash. If you want to accompany it with a treat, Terry's Toffee is wonderful.
posted by BibiRose at 7:26 AM on November 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

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