Giving the perfect gift is an art form. You need to consider your personal budget, the recipient’s interests, and remember that conversation you had last month about that thing they want. But wait –– have they bought the thing already? Do they even really want that thing? How do you ask about the thing without making it obvious that you want to buy the thing?!
Woah, woah, woah. Don’t spin into a spiral of holiday stress.Take a deep breath, because I have some good news. I did all the hard work for you! That’s right –– I talked to 20 creatives to learn about the gifts that really pack a punch. And now, I’m bringing the results of that hard-earned research to you.
Ready? Load up that Amazon gift card someone got you last Christmas, and prepare to give a game-changing gift:
The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron –– $13
When we asked people about what book blew their brains open, Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way came up the most. Writer and engineer Sophia Coccia loves gifting a copy of the book alongside a quality journal for some morning pages. (In case you haven’t read it, that’s the practice of emptying your brain onto paper, thereby making space for some juicy new ideas.)
Brownie points if you offer to read the book with your friend! Business coach for creative entrepreneurs, Kate Bagoy, had someone do this with her. The duo discussed lessons learned, held each other accountable for daily journaling, and did some of the exercises together. Hold up –– quality time and learning?! There’s no better gift.
Selling the Invisible, Harry Beckwith –– $13
Jack Kear, owner of the event planning platform, Planning Pod, was given this book over a decade ago...and it’s still the best gift he’s ever received. Who said that small books can’t pack a punch? “It is the de-facto bible on how to position, sell, and market a service-based business,” Kear said. Thanks to the book’s hands-on advice, he gained the confidence to run his own business. High praise, Mr. Beckwith! We tip our Santa hat to you.
On Writing, Stephen King –– $10
Crystal Henry, a contributing writer for Romper.com and Tower Publications, didn’t see herself as a professional wordsmith. But her biggest cheerleader, her mom, thought differently. That’s why she gave her On Writing. "I devoured the book in one night, and the next day I started researching journalism programs,” Henry said. “Still, to this day, I will pull that book out when I need inspiration. Stephen King may be famous for his horror stories, but that book is quite possibly the most comforting and inspiring thing I’ve ever read." Well put, Crystal!
Think a gift can’t help you get further in your career? Ask podcaster Billy Procida, whose listeners have gifted him plane tickets. “They allowed me to record in places that I otherwise couldn’t have traveled to,” he said. The same applies to a creative in your life who might want to go to a faraway conference or retreat. Half the battle is getting there –– so pay for that part! I promise, it’s a whole lot more impactful than a Starbucks gift card.
Getting Published –– Priceless (Or $50)
When I heard about this gift, I might’ve teared up a little bit. Pam Moore, a freelance writer, was unsure if she should continue working as an occupational therapist or pursue her dream of becoming a writer. So, for her 37th birthday, her husband teamed up with a friend to collect her best blog posts and publish them in a book –– complete with an ISBN number, blurbs, and a heartfelt forward from a friend. Doesn’t that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it?
“The book totally changed my life,” Moore told us. “Since it was published in late 2015, I have landed several steady freelance writing gigs. More importantly, it helped me begin to see myself as a legit writer."
Limited Edition Field Notes Subscription –– $97
This is the perfect gift for the creative who’s filling a new notebook with ideas every week. Or the person who’s just really, really into journals –– because these things are gorgeous. Seriously, I have some design-lovin’ friends who could geek out over the Field Notes design for hours. Shoutout to my roommate, Dennis, who suggested this and does exactly that! Even better, they’re the creation of one of Skillshare’s most-watched teachers, Aaron Draplin.
For $97, you’ll be gifting someone two packs of the current Quarterly Edition, plus two each of the next three, as they are released. They’ll also get subscriber-exclusive surprises, plus two 3-Packs of our classic Kraft Memo Books with their first shipment. Honestly, I’m considering buying this for myself!
Waterproof notebook –– $8
Ever had an amazing idea in the shower, only to lose it by the time you’re in your towel? No more! This gift will ensure that your friend remembers every genius, shampoo-induced thought that enters their brain. Just remember to ask for a cut of whatever industry-disruptor they think of.
Tarot Cards –– $15
It’s hard to make decisions about your day –– let alone your career. Tarot cards can help with both! This is the perfect idea for the more “woo woo” creative in your life, or the person who’s always on the hunt for interesting writing prompts. The Interwebs has plenty of decks that you can customize for the recipient, from art oracles to zombies. Bonus points if you pair it with a copy of The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life by Jessa Crispin!
Grids & Guides: 12 Pencils for Visual Thinkers — $11.46
Not sure what to get the design lover in your life? Behold, your answer! These pencils give your friend quality results, and the keepsake box will look absolutely gorgeous on their desk. It’s a win-win!
Customized Slippers –– Price Varies
No one needs customized slippers–– but I think everyone kinda wants them. Come on, what’s better than slipping on a pair of personalized, fluffy shoes when you’re working from home? Nothing. Plus, thanks to Etsy, it’s easy to support a local artist with your gift.
Table Topics –– $25
Whenever I’m stuck during a writing project, I reach for Table Topics. While these thought-provoking questions are meant to inspire conversation, they also help me get my brain out of a rut. Sample prompts include, “What’s something free that you love to do?” and “What’s a job that you’d want to try for a day?” The company also offers theme packs, which range from “Family” to “What Would You Do?”
Outside the Lines Coloring Book –– $15
Turns out, kindergarteners have it right. Putting crayon to paper can boost creativity and memory, while also lowering stress. Who knew that the gift of happiness is as simple as a coloring book?
Cinema Lightbox –– $30 to $50
Have a friend who’s churning away at a film project? Give them permission to dream of their name in lights! This lightbox comes with 100 letters and symbols, which means it can fit the title of whatever your pal’s indie feature is called. (And if not, they seriously need to reconsider that name.)
Get the larger size for inspiration on the wall, or the mini for some positive desk vibes.
The Gift of Mindfulness –– $12.99
By now, everyone knows that meditation reduces stress and boosts productivity. Which means that everyone also has the friend who swears that they’re going to start meditating every day –– and never does. This gift is perfect for that person. I suggest INSCAPE, an app that lets you choose sessions that fit your goals. Options include meditations for resilience, releasing stress, and increasing energy levels. If your friend lives in NYC, also include a session at their studio! I’ve been, and can attest that it’s like Disneyland for mindfulness.
It seems like every person on the planet has the same headphones. So give the gift of individuality! These pearl earbuds will make sure your recipient never confuses their earbuds for someone else’s–– and will keep them looking elegant AF.
Subscription to Sweat –– Price Varies
Anyone who works from home knows the feeling: you’ve been sitting for hours, feel restless, and cannot think of a single idea. You know what helps? Exercise! Gifting a fitness subscription service like Classpass or FitReserve will help them get their sweat on, in whatever way they enjoy the most. Aerial silks? Hip hop cardio? CrossFit? These services have it all, and will give your pal the excuse they need to try something new.
BONUS: Skillshare’s 6-Month Gift Card
You can certainly learn a lot in 6 months! Give the gift that keeps on giving (or ask for the gift the keeps on giving). Take advantage of our 17,000 classes and start the new year with a bevy of new skills to take your passion to the next level. You’re never too smart to learn something new, right?
If you end up getting one of these gifts, reach out to the Skillshare team! We’d l-o-v-e to hear what bits and bobs make your creative life a lil’ bit happier. Here’s to a New Year filled with great gifts and aha moments!