Good Conscience At Christmas

What really shows employers care at Christmas?Alyssa Jade McDonald-Baertl explores what ‘giving’ to your Suppliers and Teams at Christmas should really mean.

‘Tis the season to be giving, and although we often connect giving to altruism, the commercialisation of our holiday season seems to have created an element of bad conscience that now comes with the giving.

If you're the type who LOVES to give at Christmas, to your suppliers, partners and employees, as well as friends and family, you might want to see my 3 steps to reviewing your giving and see how your appreciation can go further than just an amazon order and delivery.

1. As you receive into your office “ANOTHER” chocolate advent calendar made so cheaply it can be sold for cents, or chocolate nikolaus, or other plastic novelties from suppliers sending gimmick gifts, send them a note back letting them know if you really do appreciate it or not and why.

Corporate gifting of the cheap and nasty does nothing to improve connoisseurship or health; it just makes people sick and fat. (I won’t tell you how those chocolate Santa Clauses are made!). It’s not about being ungrateful, but rather feeling grateful that they have thought of you and taking the time to let them know if you have some other ideas on how they could spend their cash.

What about appreciation of their employees? If they are your supplier, do you think their employees would rather the money was spent on showing them some gratitude at the giving time of year?

I’ve sent back a lot of corporate Christmas gifts over the year, thanking them, but also advising them about what I would really prefer for Christmas, like a donation to a cause that they care about, or a day off for their employees.

2. Watch out for green-washing. It is the term given to companies who use small ecology elements to promote themselves as “green”, or even use the colour green to imply they are good to the environment.

You have to use your ultra-keen connoisseur eye during giving season because this is exactly the time where over-use of a trendy topic becomes even more prevalent. See what Wikipedia says:

Green-washing (a compound word modelled on “whitewash“), or “green sheen,” is a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims and/or policies are environmentally friendly. Evidence that an organization is green washing often comes from pointing out the spending differences: when significantly more money or time has been spent advertising being “green” (that is, operating with consideration for the environment), than is actually spent on environmentally sound practices.

Green-washing efforts can range from changing the name or label of a product to evoke the natural environment on a product that contains harmful chemicals to multimillion dollar advertising campaigns portraying highly polluting energy companies as eco-friendly. While green-washing is not new, its use has increased over recent years to meet consumer demand for environmentally friendly goods and services... Critics of the practice suggest that the rise of green-washing, paired with ineffective regulation, contributes to consumer scepticism of all green claims, and diminishes the power of the consumer in driving companies toward greener solutions for manufacturing processes and business operations.

3. Think about your own giving and consider what your recipient would really love. Although I proudly make chocolate that I would love you to give your family and friends, I would ask you to think if there is anything they would love MORE than my hand crafted, cold ground, single bean virgin chocolate.

Although my chocolate is awesome, I think that your time is probably even more valuable to your family and friends, even to your suppliers and customers.

Taking the time to just make a phone call or a personal visit is the most precious resource you can give.

Efficiency has given way to person-less-communication. Automated Christmas mailings and cards with just a signature on them are so human-touch-poor. You can really make a difference to your family, friends, and your business with just a drop of your time. I promise you, it will take a bit more time than just ordering a box full of things from amazon and having them shipped, but it will yield more in your life for the coming days, weeks and months.

Let me know via @BLYSS_choc what you decide to do. Think about your conscience and your events. Think about your time and what you really want from the next year.

Maybe if you want more from those around you, you need to be the one who gives more first.

Wishing you well and a beautiful holiday season if you celebrate it.

Alyssa Jade McDonald-Baertl  is the founding MD of BLYSS GmbH. The name BLYSS comes from her name and the English word “bliss“, which literally describes a state of profound happiness and joy. After years of corporate life which had shattered her health, Lyss began looking for the best solutions for her stomach, environment, and community. She completed the Ironman world championships and threw a handful of naked cacao beans into the ocean off Kona and promised freedom to chocolate.

In awe of the intense properties of cacao, she was determined to bring chocolate back to being the food of gods, and find a way to protect it. Three years of research and trial and error sessions in the kitchen eventually led to the science of turning cacao into high quality chocolate through the virgin process. For more information on Alyssa, see her profile.  

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