Gifts: A concise guide to gratitude

How to thank every person on your radar in a manner that is at once appropriate and awesome.

The Star Performer

The challenge: Recognize an employee for closing a big deal with a gift “on par with what they have accomplished,” says Wendy Davis, CEO of Zebrano, a Toronto-based executive concierge service. Consider presentation, too — public gestures can mean a lot.
The gift: These double-walled champagne glasses from Alissia Melka-Teichroew’s InsideOut collection keep the bubbly chilled for hours. Pair them with a bottle of Cristal. US$60 for set of two

The Retiree

The challenge: “It is easy to fall prey to stereotypical gift with retirees,” Davis warns. Stay away from DVD collections that imply long, leisurely days on the couch ahead. “The gift should recognize their personality and at the same time transition them into their new life,” says Davis.
The gift: For an art and travel lover, Wallpaper* City Guides: World Cities Art Fairs set, packaged in a special-edition ribbon-tied box, contains guides to five cities that play host to the world’s most prestigious art fairs and events — Basel, London, Miami, New York and Venice. $60

The Frenemy

The challenge: You work together, you compete on everything. Consider a gift that will honour the nature of your relationship: make it a challenge.
The gift: Legendary hot-sauce guru Dave Hirschkop will deliver the “hottest culinary experience known to man” to the recipient’s doorstep with his gourmet Ultimate Insanity Basket. Includes ghost pepper hot sauce, habanero powder and Dave’s Burning Nuts. US$80

The Devoted Assistant

The challenge: It’s not uncommon for the person keeping everyone else on track to go unsung. Aim for a touch of personality here, says Davis, and how about a little “wow” factor.
The gift: Nothing says “I appreciate you” like a colourful box of macarons — the traditional French meringue cookies, available at fine patisseries including MoRoCo (Toronto), La Maison du Macaron (Montreal), Ganache Patisserie (Vancouver) and Yann Haute Patisserie (Calgary). $16 — $30 per dozen

The Big Client

The challenge: With this sort of gift, you not only want to get noticed, says Davis, you need to get noticed. “Make it attention grabbing — and the more fun the better,” she says.
The gift: Designed by a former head of industrial design for Apple, the Feugo 01 is the slickest outdoor grill on the market, made of brushed stainless-steel. It features a retractable lid, three-inch swivel castor wheels, and hidden compartments to keep its lines clean. The best part: grill-masters can switch from coal to infrared gas with the swap of a drawer. $3,200

The Boss

The challenge: The boss can be tricky to buy for — no one wants to come off as a suck-up. Davis suggests showing your appreciation with something understated.
The gift: L.A.-based fashion label Figs designs neckwear in a range of fabrics from Italian silks to fine wools. The best part: for each tie purchased, Figs donates a uniform to a child in East Africa so he or she can attend school. US$125

The Fixer

The challenge: How do you properly reward an employee who knows it all, keeps all your secrets, and always manages to get you out of a jam?
The gift: Spyware! The IronKey Personal S200 16 GB flash drive is the world’s most secure info storage device. It’s waterproof and tamper-proof, and features military-grade encryption. But don’t lose your password — after 10 failed attempts in a row, this device self-destructs. US$300

The Really, Really Big Client

The challenge: When you want to make an impression on the person who has everything, your best bet is to drop the showy act. Inconspicuous, ultra-luxe and mind-blowingly expensive are the only way to go.
The gift: This outlandishly priced three-piece luggage and gloves set by Tom Ford is hand-crafted in Italy from genuine alligator skin. Includes a document portfolio and an attache and duffle bag, both with gold engine-turning locking mechanisms. $65,000