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Creative Gift Ideas For Innovators In 2021

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The season of gifting and loving are upon us, yet how often do we actually do a good job giving presents that our coworkers enjoy? 

Not knowing the right gift to give to show our love and appreciation is one reason why we get overly stressed this time of year. And of course, with the covid 19 pandemic still hanging around, we can’t exactly take the easy route and treat the special person (or team of people) to a nice meal out. 

But then again, you could still give them the gift of a meal delivery! There’s always a way to give meaningful presents, regardless of your budget or a global pandemic, if you just put your thinking cap on. 

As an innovator and an entrepreneur, I try to be intentional when I buy presents for my team members, whether it’s on an individual basis or a bundle that everyone can enjoy together. I’m always looking at new ways to be creative while gift-giving. Creativity allows you to stretch your imagination and come up with ideas for gifts that will make the recipients feel appreciated and inspired, instead of inundating them with a bunch of useless stuff. This is possible even if your budget is only a few dollars (or nothing at all). 

Below is a guide for innovators to gifts you can buy for your budget, as well as questions you can ask yourself during the purchasing process to help you remember to make it meaningful.

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying Any Gifts

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying Any Gifts

  1. Intention: Why do I want to give this person a gift? What message do I want to share? What do you hope the receiver will feel? 
  2. Awareness: What does this person like and enjoy? What would they not want to receive as a gift? Why would this gift be meaningful for this person?
  3. Operation: When and where do I want the gift to reach this person? Is the present perishable? Is it something I can mail or email?  Does the postage cost more than my budget? Is this person internet or tech-savvy?

Budget $150 And Under Creative Gift Ideas

Express “I’m rooting for you and your growth”

1. Subscriptions

In many cases, the way that we experience new content, products, and ideas is through subscriptions. But these pile up quickly, to the point where the person you’re gifting for is overwhelmed by the cost. 

A great idea for a present is to pay for a few months or a year of their favorite subscriptions. You can also split your budget between several of your coworkers, giving each one a $10 or $20 gift card to a subscription you know they will love. 

If you know your team members well, you can also sign them up for a new subscription that you think they will enjoy and use. Other than your typical Netflix, Hulu, and Peacock streaming platforms try these other popular ones that share new ideas and culture are: 

KweliTV
Literati
  • Access to creative software such as Adobe Creative Cloud where they can learn and practice their skills; and even 
  • Monthly snack boxes for the foodies in your company. 

The key is to let them have the option to choose what they want. Many of these offerings permit you to be flexible. For some people, the subscription option they may want would be access to learning or software tools. Ask them what they want and see how they could use it as a gift to treat themselves as well as use for professional and personal development.

Budget $50 And Under Creative Gift Ideas

Express “I got you”

1. E-Gift Card

If you’re not sure what to give and your budget is $50 or under, consider an e-gift card. You can get them for books, movies, music, or even food delivery. Really, you can get a gift card to just about any store on the internet.

Go back to the questions above and ask yourself what the person you’re gifting for enjoys. Are they a foodie? They may appreciate credit for Door Dash. Do they love books? Barnes and Noble or even Amazon are great online stores where they can order physical books, e-books, and audiobooks.  

What books are good for innovators? Check out some of our nonfiction books and children’s book suggestions and more here. We’d love to recommend Rethink Creativity and Have You Seen My Friends? as one of the suggestions while you look into books for creativity.

2. Something They’ve Always Wanted (With A Sweet Message)

This idea requires you to pay extra attention to the person you’re buying the gift for. You need to keep your ears open in case they mention an item they would really like to have. They might just say it in passing, but if you listen close and then give it to them as a present later, they will appreciate how considerate and caring you are. Pair this special item with a sweet, handwritten message. 

Budget $10 And Under Creative Gift Ideas

Express Care with Low Budget

1. Digital Care Package

A digital care package is low-cost, but a cost-effective gift you can give to multiple coworkers. Take some time to answer the questions above, and then curate a list of digital resources that you believe your coworkers will find value in. These can include music recommendations from free resources like YouTube; podcasts that will help them feel hyped to be creative, like Curious Monica or Dear Workplace; digital learning sites like Skillshare; and free resources on mindfulness and playful team development such as our Covid-19 Resources page or online games.

2. Quality Time

How long has it been since you had a good long talk with your coworker or team member? Schedule a date to chat either in person or via Zoom, and just spend some quality time with them. One-on-one conversation is often all people need to feel loved and valued.

3. A Special Email Or Snail Mail

Sending a special email, or even a letter or card that you wrote yourself is one of the best gifts you can give. It’s also free or under a dollar. Even if you send a letter, all you have to pay for is the stamp! Get some fun stationery that will bright your team members’ day, and write them some encouraging words or funny anecdotes.

You Don’t Have To Give A Lot, But You Must Give With Intention

We said the word “intention” a lot in this article. It’s because the thought behind a gift really does count. Even if you don’t or can’t spend a lot of money on company holiday presents in 2021, you can still show that you care by thinking about the person you’re gifting to, and what small but meaningful things would make their life better.

About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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