Why we make a year-end gift every year

by | April 24, 2019, 10:55pm

It’s April, and that means it’s time to start thinking about starting to think about our end-of-year holiday gifts for clients, partners, and friends.

Wait, why April? Because we won’t really get started until much later. But thinking about it this early lets ideas simmer on the back burner for a while, and lets us add to the list of possibilities without deadline pressure.

The truth is that summer will ease into fall, and fall will ease into winter, and then we’ll finally feel the crunch and get to work. It’s fun work—passion projects like this always seem so open to possibilities and experimentation. These gifts are supposed to be a joy for us and for the recipients. We can try new things. We can play around. Of course, it’s also an opportunity to thank current customers and ping past clients, to show our appreciation to our hard-working creative Collective and to get the attention of new people and organizations we’d like to be working with.

So yeah, it’s both sides of the coin. Our year-end gifts are like side projects for our team, that act as marketing for the company, and are actually useful (or at least entertaining) for everyone!

Here’s a quick tour through the history of Tremendousness’ year-end gifts…

Tremendo - cheers2013 — Cheers to our first year!

We decided to just be a bit goofy with our first holiday gift. If you’ve ever talked to Lisa, Tremendousness founding partner and operations manager, you know that she loves Keith Richards. So we wrote, recorded, illustrated, and animated a “12 Days of Christmas” parody song called the “12 Days of Keefmas”. In fact, some of our kids sang on it! Then we sent a bunch of people a custom rocks glass and a handy little visual thinking notebook along with the link.

  • What: Music video, glassware, sketchbook
  • Why: To get Tremendousness off to a slightly weird, funny start

Tremendo - giving thanks


2014 — We are thankful

Having survived startup mode we are now in a proper office space and we want to share the love. To do this, we decided to help people show their gratitude as well by designing a set of letterpress thank you cards that we mailed to everyone we knew that November (these are cards the recipients can use—not just a card from us). They feature fun charts and mini-infographics that get at what we do, but are just simply beautiful to hold and see on their own.

  • What: Letterpress thank you card set
  • Why: To give finely-crafted a gift that actually can be used

Tremendo - gateway arch

2015 — Happy birthday, Gateway Arch!

To celebrate the Arch’s 50th birthday (in October) we designed a huge poster featuring everything you never knew about St. Louis’ Gateway Arch. We like it so much we decide to print extras and send them out as holiday gifts (in December). This piece ends up in the AIGA St. Louis annual show, and we write an extensive blog series around our process, using the Arch poster as an example of how we do what we do.

  • What: 24×36” poster
  • Why: To celebrate a St. Louis icon and attract local clients



Tremendo - card decks2016 — Icebreaker card decks

This one was pretty ambitious, and very useful. We designed a deck of 35 cards to be used as icebreakers to kick off meetings, sessions, and brainstorming get-togethers in fun, productive ways. It’s broken into three suits: Share, Draw, and Collaborate, although all of the exercises encourage sharing and interactivity.

  • What: Facilitator’s card deck
  • Why: To capture and share practices we use ourselves


Tremendo - coaster2017 — Wellness is swellness

Conference calls, calendar conflicts, connecting flights, cross-country collaboration, critiques, constant emails… It’s shocking that what seems so simple—just doing your job—can be so complicated. So as 2017 wrapped up and 2018 began we shared a few of our favorite things, things that help us get through the day at work and at home. We designed these gifts for our clients and FotA (Friends of the Agency): laser-engraved coasters, stickers, and cards—all with messages of wellness and positivity for the new year—for any year, or for any day.

  • What: Wooden coasters, stickers, booklet
  • Why: To design a beautiful gift seen in and around many offices


Tremendo - avatar2018 — Let us draw your avatar

After a few years of sending things through the mail we decided to try something different: digital delivery.  It wasn’t that we didn’t want to ship cool things on planes, trains, and automobiles—and who doesn’t like getting a package full of neat stuff?—it was more that we wanted to really customize this year’s gifts. So we sent out a holiday greeting with an invitation to request a 100% original avatar, illustrated by us, based on a favorite photo of yourself. The funny thing is we got such a good response and had so much work going on with really cool customers that we’re just finishing up the last batch!

  • What: Custom avatar illustrations
  • Why: To personalize a gift for individuals (that will be seen!)


So happy spring and happy holidays—finally—to all, and I guess we should get started on our 2019 gift ideas now.  If you want a Tremendous holiday gift of your own this year, let’s work together first.