Both. I try to recognize significant dates and events in my clients’ lives by sending a card or personal note (not sure if that really qualifies as a ‘gift,’ but some may consider it one). I may also give a small ‘exercise gift’ (e.g. small piece of exercise equipment like tubes, or a free session etc.) when one of my clients reaches a significant milestone. I work with a lot of middle school, high school and college-aged girl athletes, and have given Senior Night game gifts, graduation gifts etc. because over the years that I’ve worked with them they have become like family to me – I like that, and it’s one of the things in my practice that really makes me feel good.
I’ve received gifts from clients throughout the years as well, although I never solicit or expect them. Someone thinking enough about me and feeling close enough to want to acknowledge our relationship and what my service has meant to them is an honor in my opinion. Definitely unexpected and unnecessary, but certainly something that I would graciously accept as something that they felt moved to give.