They say that the holiday season is all about giving, and that it’s often harder to give than to receive. The root of this problem usually lies in what to give. “So-and-so has everything he or she could ever want,” the reasoning goes. “The gifts they want are too expensive,” goes another. These are all simply excuses for not looking or trying hard enough to bestow generosity on the special people in our lives.
These days, everyone fancies themselves a creative of some sort. Why not gift them accordingly, or at least inspire creativity in an artist, filmmaker, or writer you know? Here, we’ve compiled perfect gifts normally made for creative people or enthusiasts. There are books about travel, color theory, how to make things, or simply how to stay inspired. There are products that allow you to customize your apparel or home, products that give back to those in need, and products that give you an affordable version of your favorite artwork. There are tools to help you stay organized and even memberships to services that make sure you keep getting stuff past the holidays. There’s homeware like bowls you can mold yourself and a candle that melts into the Empire State Building. There’s a mini projector, the portable technology you never knew you needed, postcards (who needs envelopes?), and a key ring that makes it much less difficult to lose keys.
Let this list of ideas be not just for the creatives or those aspiring to create in your life. Don’t forget the need to fuel one’s own creativity; this list is a good place to start if you’re looking to buy for yourself, as well.
Here are the best gifts for creatives.
Dictionary of Color Combinations by Sanzo Wada
Where to buy: Ampersand Gallery
The late Sanzo Wada was an artist, teacher, and costume and kimono designer. He was ahead of his time in terms of developing color combinations and contemporary color research. This book is a welcome refresher to color theory for anyone already in the know and offers 348 color combinations with CMYK and Pantone numbers for those who need to know.
Where to buy: Design Within Reach
Whatever the tools of your trade are, the Vitra Toolbox, designed by Arik Levy and Pippo Lionni, will suit your needs. Use it for pens, notebooks, pencils, and toiletries...or even hammers and screwdrivers.
OMONDI Custom Pullover
Where to buy: OMONDI
Designer Recho Omondi started doing custom lettering on sweatshirts for her friends. After word spread that they were her creations, she decided to make them available to the public and allow up to nine characters on blue, red or nude pullovers. Depending on the length, you can put someone’s first name, last name, or any other word(s) you want.
The Mini Suitcase
Where to buy: Away
Recently, Away — the suitcase makers known for adding USB charging ports to luggage — began selling gift sets, with themes like “Wellness,” “Beauty,” “Field,” and “Amusement.” While the sets sold out quickly, the mini suitcase that they come in, sized to fit in-flight essentials, is still available in select colors. For anyone on the go, durable cases like these can be super helpful and a reminder to bring stuff like sanitizer, a notebook, and moisturizer on flights.
American Alliance of Museums Membership
Where to buy: Aam-us.org
Price: $90 ($50 for students)
Often the high price tag of museum entry makes people neglect going to them. However, with an AAM membership, one can get into most museums in the U.S., and even some internationally. At certain museums, you can even bring a guest in for free as well. Becoming a member can also help you discover lesser known museums — many of which are free to begin with.
Seletti Linea Light
Where to buy: 2Modern
While Seletti is known for a range of beautiful lamps and indoor lighting, its understated Linea light, which comes in fuchsia, red, blue, green, white, purple and yellow, is a beautiful addition to any home. Whether leaning up against a wall or propped onto a base (which costs $28 more), the Linea light sets the mood for work, play, entertaining or relaxation.
iskn Slate 2+ Digital Drawing Pad
Where to buy: MoMA Design Store
Though digital sketching isn’t anything new, the iskn Slate 2+ makes it easier for novices to catch on. Whether you consider yourself good at drawing or not, this pad makes it fun. It also maintains the look and texture of your chosen drawing tool, whether that’s pencil or pen.
Matte Black Maple Troubadour Wireless LSTN Headphones
Where to buy: LSTN
LSTN’s philosophy behind wood-housed headphones is: “World-class musical instruments are made from wood — why not headphones?” Proceeds from sales of all LSTN products go towards giving hearing aids to people in need worldwide. The Troubadour Wireless Headphones also have a vegan-leather band and support Bluetooth 4.1 from up to 30 feet away. It’s the perfect gift for a friend who wants to have high-quality sound for all kinds of work and give back at the same time.
Where to buy: Fundamental Berlin
Fundamental Berlin makes a range of furniture, frames and tableware. Their PUSH bowls come as flat discs that you can shape yourself to be as shallow, deep, or wide as you prefer. The bowls come in multiple metallic options and can hold anything from chains to rings or keys.