Creative Gift Guide
Posted on November 21, 2022
(for the reluctant creative)
If you’re anything like me, buying Christmas presents can be stressful. But I don’t like to default to gift cards, because it seems impersonal. And, often the recipient has to either pay the difference on the card amount or leave money on the card.
It’s a last resort.
So, if you are searching for a gift for The Reluctant Creative in your life, I’ve got your back.
What’s a reluctant creative? Someone who doesn’t identify as “artistic”, but who knows they need to think or do something differently if they are going to make any changes. Since creativity infuences job performance, satisfaction, resilience, happiness, and even salary, it might be enough. Just enough to convince the “non creative” to give it a go.
I’ve curated 14 gift ideas for yourself or friends, loved ones or coworkers.
Each gift has a creative habit in mind from my framework of D.A.N.C.E – 5 effortless habits to expand your comfort zone (and increase your unique and individual creativity!)
Want to get started with your creativity right away?
Get this free workbook to increase your confidence and resilience, and find your voice.
Taken from my Amazon Bestseller, The Reluctant Creative, these creativity exercises build your confidence to share your unique contributions to the world. They’re easy, fun, and short.
You might have heard the buzz about the importance of creativity in your career and life. Creativity will help you to survive the winds of change at home and at work, with a smile.
Also, 80% of people who do something creative say it brings them happiness, even if the creative output is, well, terrible.
Most of these items I have used or purchased myself, but not all.
* Note: A few are affiliate links, which are indicated.
Have you tried any? Do you have any other creative gift ideas?
I would love to add them to the list. You can email (email@example.com) or post it to Instagram and tag me @artfulscience.
Share a gift that will continue to uplift and upskill the people you love.
1. Buddha Board for DAYDREAM and EDIT LATER
I love these Japanese-inspired drawing tablets with water. The Buddha Boards are a great way to doodle while daydreaming. When you engage in an easy task, it keeps your critical and thinking brain a bit busy, enough to allow your imagination network (default mode network) room to play.
It’s the same reason why people often get great ideas while walking, driving, or doing the dishes.
To learn more about the Default Mode Network, check out this video.
The Buddha Board also helps you practice the skill of Editing Later. Since the image disappears when the water dries, there doesn’t have to be any evidence of your drawing attempts. This is a great way to start practicing the skill of allowing your mind to explore without fear of judgment.
(This Amazon link is a referral link. If you take action after clicking this link, I might get a few pennies to put towards my next Masterclass).
2. Custom Mug for EDIT LATER
Creating a custom mug is a thoughtful gift, and anyone can do it. Most of these “personalized mug” companies have templates where you can upload an image and create some graphics or text to give someone a personal touch.
I promise, even if you can’t draw a stick like me, you can make a meaningful and personal gift. You can also make ornaments, mouse pads and more!
For an advanced version, create your own image in Canva and upload it to your chosen printer site for production.
Here are a few places you can look to print your beautiful design:
Or check out any of your local photo labs.
3. Sand Desktop for DAYDREAM
Watching sand settle into images is a great break for your mind, and allows your default mode network (imagination network) to simmer on problems and challenges you are trying to solve.
The most effective daydreaming involves thinking about a problem you are trying to solve, or considering something fantastical.
Maybe these are the mountain range in an alien kingdom?
Are there intelligent organisms living in the grains of sand, and what does their civilization look like?
Try to avoid using your precious daydreaming time to ruminate on an email or consider how you could have done something different. Give your Default Mode Network a problem to solve and let it percolate in your universe brain!
(The Amazon link is a referral link. If you take action after clicking this link, I might get a few pennies to put towards my next pair of Fluevogs).
4. Gingerbread Cookie Cutter for EDIT LATER
When you’re not a professional baker, decorating your holiday gingerbread cookies means getting over things being not quite perfect.
Given that there is an imperfect gingerbread cookie on the cover of my book, The Reluctant Creative, I had to include a cookie cutter on this list. Use the cutter to make cookies – and don’t be afraid of Martha-Stewart-worthy cookies.
Use the cookie cutters in creative ways – to make fun finger sandwiches, or for play dough or as a stencil to create your own wrapping paper. Don’t overthink, and just be willing to try something different, knowing it could fail.
Or, it could be amazing. Give it a shot!
Get Gingerbread Cookie Cutters*
(The Amazon link is a referral link. If you take action after clicking this link, I might get a few pennies to put towards baking supplies).
5. Masterclass for NOVELTY
As of writing, it looks like if you search “masterclass promo” there are some BOGO deals. Gift one and keep one!
Your brain is like a massive universe, filled with stars, planets, asteroids and space debris. Every experience, relationship, skill and event populate your universe.
When you are trying to solve a problem, like when you are daydreaming, imagine a rocket ship blasts off into the vast expanse of your brain.
The larger and more diverse your universe brain, the more likely your rocket ship will discover a unique solution, through analogy, combination of ideas, and lateral thinking.
There are so many options to fill your universe brain with more stars in the Masterclass library. Just pick one!
Masterclass Tip: Start with “explore” then choose “to learn something new”
I put in “Design and Style” because it’s something I don’t know much about.
I got 10 choices!
6. Mason Jar Gifts – from soup to cocoa – for CURIOSITY and NOVELTY
Are you CURIOUS about all the recipes that you can adapt for a mason jar gift? Gift your favourite cookie, soup, or dog cookie recipe in a mason har.
You can also use your creativity to find different containers to use, or decorate the jar in a new way!
Layer the ingredients and don’t forget to EDIT LATER. Find all the ideas you can and pare it down to your favourites to gift.
Here is an article of mason jar gift ideas to get you started.
I have to say, the gingerbread cookie jar is my favourite, and you can make that one with this recipe!
7. Meditation Cushion for handling AMBIGUITY
The funny thing about meditation is that it is negatively correlated with divergent thinking. Which makes sense, if you are trying to dream up 10 different possibilities for a theme for the staff Christmas party, you will be dreaming about future possibilities.
Meditation is firmly rooted in the present moment, which does not allow for dreaming up possibilities.
Except, here’s where it gets interesting. Kerryn Fewster, Ambiguity Expert, co-author of the Ambiguity Workplace Study, founder of AdaptIQ Minds (and guest on my livestream series Creative Lifescaping!), explained how mindfulness helps creativity in our interview here.
Essentially, mindfulness makes room for creativity because it makes room for ambiguity, and stops us from jumping to quick action without considering possibilities.
Normally, when faced with ambiguity, we jump to status quo, subpar solutions. With mindfulness, we can develop more comfort in uncertainty and face ambiguity with less angst.
In that space, we can then create room to think of new solutions, instead of grasping for what’s worked in the past, or what seems most obvious.
I meditate daily, sometimes for 5 minutes, other times for 25 minutes. Daily meditation actually changes the structure of your brain. I can attest to meditation’s benefits to my emotional regulation and focus, which is saying a lot as a person with ADHD.
(The Amazon link is a referral link. If you take action after clicking this link, I might get a few pennies to put towards a fun toy for my high-maintenance cockatiels)
8. Mess: The manual of accidents and mistakes by Keri Smith for EDIT LATER
Keri Smith is one of my favourite authors. She took the long-held idea for what a book “should” be and turned it on its head. If you are looking for ways to get out of the arbitraty rules and structure of “life” in order to train your brain to see things differently, check out any of Keri Smith’s books.
Search all of Keri Smith’s books*
Buy Mess: The manual of accidents and mistakes*
(The Amazon links are referral links. If you take action after clicking this link, I might get a few pennies to put towards a pretty tiara)
9. Mystery Box for AMBIGUITY and NOVELTY
I love to support local small businesses.
Check out this local indigenous boutique in Calgary, Moonstone Creations. Shop here, or find one more local to where you live. If you want to support indigenous art, ensure the art is made by indigenous owned businesses and artists.
If you purchase a “mystery” box you can celebrate more comfort with ambiguity, not knowing what your recipient will get, and give them the gift of novelty.
Embracing new cultures and learning about traditions and cultures unlike your own will help you be a better person, but will also selfishly improve your own ability to tolerate ambiguity and develop creative solutions.
You can also check out this online indigenous entrepreneurial venture, Indigenous Box. You can also read about the founder of Indigenous Box’s story on Shopify’s blog here.
10. Mystery Puzzle Box for CURIOSITY and AMBIGUITY
Looking for more of an experiential gift? I gifted my dad one of these mystery boxes a few years ago.
They vary in format, but in his case, they sent handmade, very realistic looking artifacts to start the adventure of solving a puzzle. The letter they sent him was actually handwritten, which came with an authentic-looking statuette.
So much fun! Even more fun if you don’t tell them it’s coming, so they can be confused and excited about the adventure.
Here’s a well-rated store on Amazon* with a variety of options.
(The Amazon link is a referral link. If you take action after clicking this link, I might get a few pennies to put towards my next Masterclass).
Here’s an article with some options and suggestions of many companies, based on budget and interest.
11. 300 Drawing Prompts for EDIT LATER
Sometimes a little boost is appreciated. If you have someone who loves writing, or had expressed disappointment about a writing practice that has fallen by the wayside, consider a book with writing prompts.
Buy the 300 Drawing Prompts Book
For a budget option, buy an inexpensive journal and make your own personalised prompts.
Every 2 or 3 pages, write a random sentence, start a doodle, put a sticker on the page, anything!
You can make it about an experience you had together, or an inside joke, or something pertinent to their interests.
I.e. “Our boss walked in to the staff lounge and said we all had to work late….”
“Brussels Sprouts is the one vegetable I can’t eat. Even though Caroline knew this….”
“The client came into the vet clinic, her hair tangled in knots, a panicked look on her face, clutching a small white poodle with a bow on her ear…..”
Make up your own!
Check out Keri Smith books for inspiration.*
(This Amazon link is a referral link. If you take action after clicking this link, I might get a few pennies to put towards a nice pair of legwarmers).
12. Homemade Snow Globe for NOVELTY
(unless you have already made them all before, in which case, add a new twist to make it different!)
Use a shot glass, jar, plastic cup, or something totally different! The sky’s the limit on what you can put in these snow globes.
Check out this article for some ideas.
12. Toilet Fishing Game for EDIT LATER
For a second I thought you went fishing in your toilet for this.
Immediately the idea of “no bad ideas” came to mind, as I thought “there might be no bad ideas except this one.”
Apparently you do it while sitting on the toilet. But it wasn’t clear. Hmm.
What other gifts could you create that would go in the toilet?
Start with some bad ideas and you might land on a genius innovation.
14. The Reluctant Creative
For less than $10 (USD, $13 CAD), you can give the connection to everyday creativity to two loved ones, colleagues, or frenemies.
I humbly offer a BOGO deal on my book, The Reluctant Creative.
It’s a light and fun literary mullet – fun in the front, data in the back. Convince the most reluctant creative that they need to connect with the elemental human gift of creativity to survive and thrive this decade.
Filled with stories, case studies, peer-reviewed data and more, on the benefits. of DANCEing with your creativity every day. Bonus exercises, content, and more.
BOGO! If you purchase a soft ($9.99 USD) or hard cover ($19.99 USD) book before January 10th, 2023 I’ll send you or your friend an e-book copy for free!
Here’s what they’re saying about the book:
This practical and funny book can help anyone find their creative spark. Equally important, it will make you smile.Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of WHEN, TO SELL IS HUMAN, and DRIVE.
This book is a quick, fun, and light read that delivers huge bang for its buck! Caroline’s effortless habits are simple to follow and easily actionable for results. I wish I had read this book years ago so I could’ve learned to own my creativity like I do now!Natasha Purnell, CAIB, Chief Culture Officer, Park Insurance
What happens when you cross a veterinarian with a researcher and a stand-up comedian? You get a writer with a delightful sense of humor providing an evidence-based dissection of creativity with a step-by-step guide on how to nurture it in your daily lifeDavid Newman, PhD – Creativity Alchemist – Creatific Culture Labs, UBC Creativity Professor
Give the gift of creativity to your loved ones this year!
To redeem the BOGO offer, send over your receipt number to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send over your free digital copy!
If you already own the book – you can still take advantage of this offer! Post a photo of the book on social media along with a short review and tag me to receive a link in your inbox to redeem a free digital copy of the book. Keep your copy, give it away for the holidays, it’s up to you.
LinkedIn: Caroline Brookfield
Facebook: Caroline Brookfield
Happy Holidays to you and I hope you find this creative gift guide a helpful resource in your research for Christmas gifts this year!