The alternative gift guide for the creative in your life

Ah, the holiday season. Mulled wine socials and hot chocolate evenings… but mainly crowded shops and unbearable gifting decisions. If you’re struggling to think of creative gifts for creative people, we’ve got you covered.

Natalia Albin
London-based Mexican writer, designer and strategist, Natalia is the founder of Ataraxia and has been working in design and branding for over seven years. Her writing usually examines the relationship between theoretical and political issues with art and culture.

Book of the Month

Kic App

Lit, Candles

Everyman Cinema

The older we get and the more Christmases pass, the harder it becomes to be good at gifting. When everything is almost literally in the palm of your hand, how do you choose? To top it off, the joy of going to the shops dwindles with the thoughts of barely-walkable streets packed with slow walkers who are somehow totally unaware that you have to get somewhere. 

As a creative, I know that it can be particularly tricky to shop for me.  I tend to act on my hobbies as soon as I discover them (the extra roll of film is always in the drawer, the random scarf I started knitting is still in the cupboard, the trips to the bookshop that end up in near debt). We don’t really let other people dictate what we do. 

Don't worry, between me and Ataraxia collaborator, Maria Rubio, we came up with solutions. Here's a few little-big gifts that will make the creative in your life swoon at your insight into their brain and, most importantly, do not require going to a busy street or shopping centre. 

"The joy of going to the shops dwindles with the thoughts of barely-walkable streets packed with slow walkers who are somehow totally unaware that you have to get somewhere."

01. Online classes

If there’s one thing creatives love, it's learning. Yet it's something we tend to not splurge on (if the creative person in your life is anything like me, we tend to believe we can learn everything with DIY until we come to the crushing realisation that some people just do know better). Masterclass has arguably some of the biggest names in the creative and academic industries talking about their craft in easily accessible classes. There's also, of course, the famous Skillshare subscription (as seen in every influencer's #ads), offering very practical advice on more specific endeavours.

If you know they enjoy a deeper dive into certain topics, the London Review of Books' Close Reading literary courses are a great, if a lot pricier, alternative with more personalised lessons, webinars, a bundle of books and a podcast series to boot.

02. Book boxes

There's always something luxurious about the idea of receiving a book in the post you didn't have to pay for. Some book subscriptions are just that, like Book of The Month, where you get to choose what you get from a curated list of books. Others take the luxury of reading to a different level, like Words with Wine and Bookishly's varied options of book boxes paired with chocolate, coffee or tea. If your creative person is into female writers and being surprised, Rare Bird Books is also a lovely option. Needless to say, any of this would make my Christmas a very exciting one (yes, even for those of us who buy books every time we walk into a book store).

03. Pottery making

For a creative soul, the allure of pottery lies not just in the art form itself but in the therapeutic journey it offers, having something to occupy the over-active brain and unlock new ways to unleash creativity. Pottery classes also offer a break from digital screens, which is always a win.

Whether it's learning the basics or refining advanced techniques, pottery classes have been on the rise in cities for a while, which means there's plenty of options to choose from. If you can't find a class near you, you can always try an at-home pottery kit, whether it's the classic Sculpd, the crafty Noah (highly recommend looking at their other craft kits if pottery isn't lighting your proverbial idea bulb) or an independent Etsy one.

If you're based in London, there's plenty of studios offering classes to cater to any experience, location and budget: Clay Time Pottery Studio, The Kiln Rooms and Turning Earth to name a few.

04. Workout from home

As creatives, we often find ourselves diving headfirst into our passions, sometimes neglecting the importance of physical well-being. But here's the catch – nurturing your body can enhance  creative output as well. I know, shock horror. Exercise isn't just about physical health; it's a catalyst for creativity. Physical activity has been shown to boost mood, increase energy levels, and even spark fresh ideas.

The beauty of a workout subscription is its convenience. From yoga classes to HIIT sessions, there's a diverse range of options tailored to fit any preference. Subscriptions like these offer an array of workouts accessible from the comfort of home, eliminating the hassle of commuting to the gym or adhering to someone else's schedule (something creatives famously hate doing. Just me? Okay). If your creative is an Apple lover, or even a music lover with an iPhone, the Apple Fitness subscription is a good one, offering work outs to the beat of actual good music. But our  personal favourite at Ataraxia is the female-owned Kic, which focuses on how you feel rather than how you look, and offers work outs (from pilates to yoga to strength), recipes and meditations which you can also schedule into your calendar (how barely any work out subscription does this is beyond me).

05. A working-from-home kit

This is a little bit more time consuming, but it will definitely hit all the right notes. If your creative works from home, like a lot of us do, they are always looking for ways to enhance the experience and make it a little bit more special. Some good items to think about:

  • A candle they can light when working from home (we love Lit,'s refillable candles),
  • A robe to work in so it's comfortable but also a little bit put together such as Yolke's cotton dressing gown or Ferm Living's Field Robe
  • A personalised planner or notepad, they might have many but trust me, they'll get just as excited for a new one. You can never go wrong with Papier for this one.
  • Special tea they can keep for their working hours
  • Digital detox items such as a puzzle, they help creativity and stop us from jumping into our phones during every break. We love the Prints in Pieces ones! 

06. Cinema subscription

There are so many cinema subscriptions out there for film lovers and, honestly, I'd take them all. From Picturehouse, Curzon and Everyman's little luxuries to Odeon's incredibly good value Limitless membership. There's also the artsy ones, like the Prince Charles and the BFI (which also offers them first dibs on Q&A's and special screenings). I don't need to wax lyrical about the importance of cinema for creatives and how much films allow us to explore our internal inspirations so I'll leave it at that! 

07. Dipsea subscription

For a different gift, perhaps to a friend or partner, Dipsea is a great subscription present. We're all about demystifying female (and general) sexuality, and Dipsea offers a collection of sexy audio stories, wellness sessions, and dreamy sleep scenes that allow anyone to explore what they enjoy. Plus, audio stories do tend to be a hit for the creative brain so it's a two-in-one gift, really.

08. Magazines! 

You can never go wrong with a magazine or paper subscription. Some of my favourites from Christmas past have been the LRB (it may seem expensive, but you get a lot for your money) for book and politics lovers, Little White Lies for film lovers, Faire for everything creative, Purple for fashion and culture lovers, The Gentlewoman for in-depth profiles and n+1 for literary lovers.