At Club Med the official policy has always been no tipping. This goes back to the traditional Tahitian customs which shaped the early days of Club Med over 50 years ago. It's a social insult in Tahiti to "tip" a friend & GO's historically have been considered your friends rather than your employees. That's why they eat with you in the restaurant, dance with you in the disco, and generally enrich your experience.
That said, though, any GO's will always welcome any friendly gesture of appreciation. What would make these friends happy? Invite them to join you at the nice table you've reserved with other friends at the annex restaurant for dinner. Offer drinks at the bar. Take the time to get to know these interesting people with such varied backgrounds from around the world. The GO's are what makes the Club special.
As far as little gifts go, one of our regular dive buddies brings boxes of Oreos (which, believe it or not, are highly desired, despite the availability of all the pastry in the restaurant). Recent magazines are appreciated, as will be any recent best-selling books you may finish while you're there. (The further the particular village is from "civilization" the more such things are appreciated.) Extra supplies of good-quality sunscreen & insect repellent, in fact any expensive hair products, toiletries, etc., which are hard to obtain in the area or too expensive to buy locally on a GO's wages, will be appreciated; and that also saves you the trouble of schlepping it home. (We always bring extras, though.)
If we already know people on the GO team we e-mail them before the trip to ask what specifically they'd like us to bring. (I always tell them to only ask for things which are small, easy to pack, and legal.) Requests have ranged from Nutella & beef jerky (not for the same person) to camera batteries & film. But you don't have to act like Santa Claus handing out gifts. Just be as generous as you'd be with your other friends when you're out having fun.
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