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Glassbaby candle holder
<p>Glassbaby candle holder</p>

Gift-Giving Is Complicated—Especially When Related to Meetings and Incentives

It was the last night of the conference, and I was thrilled when I returned to my room to find a gorgeous glass oil lamp—the organizer’s thank-you for attending. It was a thing of beauty indeed—I had a spot all picked out for it in my living room.

The next morning, I came down to find a lobby in chaos. Word had filtered back from the attendees who left first that the airlines weren’t allowing the lamps on board. Even though this happened pre-9/11, airlines still weren’t happy with the idea of filled and combustible oil lamps in the cabin. At the hotel, attendees were scrambling to find safe ways to pack and ship the lamps home—or deciding to leave them behind and hoping they’d find good homes with housekeeping staff.

Yes, even the best of intentions can go awry when it comes to gift-giving—especially when you’re trying to find something that will resonate with a large group of people.

Over my 18 years as a MeetingsNet editor, I’ve been given all kinds of interesting gifts beyond that poor oil lamp—destination promotions that arrive in the mail, cool tchotchkes collected at trade show booths, and gifts waiting on my pillow at an event.

Some went immediately into the trash (I'm so sorry, but it's true). Some I greedily gobbled down (love those in-room welcome local-food samplers!). Some I brought home to share with kids, friends, relatives, and local shelters. Others, like the lamp, I adored but couldn’t bring home on the plane. And then there are those I still use every day—while thinking good thoughts about the organizations that provided such useful or beautiful or just plain interesting items.

While it’s true that you can’t please all the people all the time, there are some gifts and incentive rewards that will hit the sweet spot for most. We recently grilled our contacts to come up with ideas that will really ring with those you want to please. Check out the 2015 Holiday Gift Guide and the Great Gifts Inspiration Board—there might be just the right thing for your group (or maybe yourself?).

And thank you for being a loyal MeetingsNet reader! It is the greatest gift you could ever give us.

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