Corporate gift-giving is making a comeback.

Companies are spending more than $40 for employees and $30 on clients on average, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute, and spending is the highest it's been in four years. 

Gift cards, cash bonuses, food and beverages, and apparel are top gifts. However, choosing the best gift depends on the recipient, not on what’s trending right now. A $40 gift certificate to a store might be nice, but might get lost in the shuffle if it doesn't really resonate. Here's how to make a lasting impression over the holidays and beyond. 

Give something meaningful. 

Perhaps it’s a round of golf or tickets to a game, or a cookbook or framed photograph. The key is really knowing the person and getting something that has real meaning. They'll think of you when they're using the gift and really appreciate it. Which is a good thing since people like doing business with people they trust

Express your company's values. 

This winter at SurePayroll, we gave our employees a branded carrying bag with a branded winter hat, a cup from our parent company, Paychex, and gloves with fingertips that allow you to keep using your smartphone. We wanted to reflect our love of technology, the wintry weather in Chicago, and our parent. And besides, it's free advertising. 

Build a relationship.

Survey respondents said some of the best gifts they received were a handwritten thank you, a wall calendar with personalized photos, and a plaque with an inspirational message. So take them to dinner or a sporting event. You'll have several hours to talk and build rapport outside of your business.

Should You Give Holiday Gifts to Your Employees?