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Christmas Shopping the Right Way for Creatives

There's a right way and a wrong way to buy gifts for your creative friends. Discover the best gift giving ideas in this article.

1 - Art supplies. Art supplies are always needed, but unless you're an artist in the exact same field, don't go out and get them products you THINK they'll enjoy. You simply will not know. Get them a gift certificate to their favorite local art store - end of story.

2 - Personal care. Speaking from experience, us artists spend most of our earning on art supplies, shipping, show submissions, marketing, and anything else art related. We spend less on ourselves than our art. Items like bath stuff, home decor, new clothes and shoes, haircuts etc, are nice to receive because it's like a luxury we seldom get for ourselves.

3 - Handmade Stuff. We are creatives, and by being a local creator, we know the importance of people buying our stuff in order for us to live. Therefore we enjoy it when we receive gifts you've purchased from other local artists and artisans too, or stuff you've made yourself. Jams, necklaces, pottery, wallets, soaps, foods, etc. Knowing that it wasn't made in a factory across seas makes it special.

4 - Food. I think this one is universal. A gift certificate to a restaurant is just great. Also groceries.

5 - Experience. Giving the gift of experience is so fun and valuable. Getting a trip to the cinema, a live play, a concert, local event, or even a camping trip, are fun and allow us to reconnect with society after being cooped up in the studio for so long. And depending on the artist, you could give the gift of learning! Sign them up for a workshop or class they've had their eye on for a while. If you're not sure if they have any interest in that, ask them in a blunt way while enjoying coffee: "hey, I've always wondered if you've ever wanted to take a workshop from "X" - I mean, you could probably give your own class but would you ever take additional classes?". Show an interest - we like that sort of thing.

This is tricky though because everyone's schedule is different, but for the most part, places like Domestika and Mastrius have online classes and mentorships that are geared toward busy schedules. Mastrius has an event membership that allows people to enjoy demos, critiques, and talks to give people a taste of what an actual class or mentorship is all about. These are recorded an allow people to watch on their own time if they can't attend. Perfect!

6 - Money. Money is always nice but can sometimes be used on things that aren't just for us. Usually, when I get money, I spend it on my kids, or kids' friends' birthday gifts, my spouse, groceries, gas, tithe, or anything that didn't get me that haircut I haven't had in two years. I know, not all artists are like me, but money might be the gift you give as a last resort. It's just less special.

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