The Design Gym’s Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Stocking stuffers for the creative

‘Tis the season for holiday parties, hot toddy’s and buzzfeed-style gift guides. And here at The Design Gym, we have a burning passion for awesome shit. So we’ve decided to join in on the holiday cheer and create a shopping list of our own—one we’re dubbing the ultimate stocking stuffers for the creative.

Pulled together from The Design Gym staff and lead trainers, here are our top suggestions to get you through gift-buying this holiday season.

Machine Era Brass Pen | $38

Andy Hagerman, Co-founder & CEO


This is one of my favorite gifts to give right now because it balances classy, creative and useful in one affordable gift. Machine Era encompasses those principles lovingly in all the products they come up with. Pens are one of those timeless items that have unfortunately become throw away pieces, so this brings back some of that spirit of having a pen you’re proud to pull out whether you’re in a client session or a bar stool brainstorm. Best accompanied with a fresh sketchbook or a pint of whiskey.

In the Company of Women | $24.06

Erin Lamberty, Director, Strategy & Culture Change


This book is everything you want in a great coffee table centerpiece. Wise words. Beautiful photos. And sparks of inspiration to get your brain gears turning. I’ve purchased this for myself and a few friends already! Santa said it was OK to deliver early 🙂


100 Questions: A Toolkit for Conversations | $30


Interesting prompts are sparks for creative exploration, so why not bring some fuel to your holiday conversations? This card deck is the perfect size for a stocking stuffer, keeping in your facilitator bag, or keeping out on the coffee table. Warning: convo prompts can sometimes be a little existential!

And, just for fun…

Field Notes: Expedition Notebooks | $12.95


When we ask folks in our workshops where they get their most creative ideas, they often say “in the shower!” Be prepared with a waterproof notebook so no idea is forgotten.

Notebooks | $3

Hannah Dubin, Director, Strategy & Culture Change


Need a cost-effective, thoughtful stocking stuffer that works for both tiny and adult humans? Amazing notebooks are always great! I write and sketch everything and love having a gift that can be shared with the kids.


Ketzali Shawl or Scarf | $65 – $125


From one creative to another—you can’t go wrong with a beautifully designed gift with a social mission that can be used all year-round. Guatemalan-based Ketzali works with local artisans to create stunning scarves and shawls that can be worn outdoors during the frigid winter or inside to combat the office cold.


Zeichen Press Holiday & Thank You Greeting Cards | $4.50


Nothing warms the heart more than a handwritten, postmarked card. Whether I’m wishing someone a happy holidays or thanking them for the awesome gift they picked me up off this list, I tend to turn to Zeichen Press. Funny and beautifully-designed greeting cards: can’t beat it.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Membership | $50


Research suggests that, over time, experiences make people happier than things. So I think the best gifts are ones that enable people to have new experiences by themselves or with friends and family: memberships to local museums, tickets to events or shows, classes, massages, a babysitter so you can have a date night—you get the idea. And on top of that, you don’t contribute to the “burden of stuff” that many of us have to deal with after the holidays.

Classes | Price Varies

Jason Wisdom, Co-founder & President of Enterprise


My recommended gift is classes! Not to be self-serving but there is nothing I enjoy giving or receiving more than classes. A few of my favorites have been: Murray’s Cheese (Scotch and cheese tasting), UCB (Learn improv), Brooklyn Kitchen (Greek cooking and cocktail making), Parkour at Chelsea Piers, SkateYogi.

I gave my Mom a Greek cooking class that we took together at Brooklyn Kitchen, which was so much more than I expected (it was really a philosophy class where we happened to cook). I’ve also been gifted a Scotch and Cheese Tasting class at Murray’s Cheese, which has since been replicated multiple times in my apartment. And finally I’m 10 classes in learning how to skate a mini ramp through Kevin’s courses at SkateYogi. My ankle is an awful shade of blue/green today but I feel like I’m reliving childhood and loving it.


Moleskin Classic Notebook | $17.96

It has serious look—it’s black, hard cover, elastic band closure, heavy stock dense enough not to show through, a ribbon bookmark (like a fine old dictionary) and even a pocket on the inside back cover for napkin scribbles. Moleskins come in all sizes and the choice is personal. I like the 5 x 8.25; it’s large enough for shared brainstorming and using bold lines, yet small enough for ideating at your local coffee shop, sketching on the subway and tossing into a backpack.

And to go with that notebook…

Uniball Signo Impact | $21.49


Pens? Again personal. Try the Uniball Signo Impact 207 Rt 65870, black, 1.0mm bold point. The bold line obliges me to draw a little simpler and heavier than I might otherwise = less fussy visuals. Point is retractable and refills available.

Serenflipity | $10.35


A friend and former colleague developed a set of cards after going on a month-long sabbatical to Asia. She had friends give her daily challenges to be completed on her trip, and didn’t look at any of them until each morning when she drew one out of a hat to read it for the first time. Through it all she learned how to be adventurous and the benefits it can bring to your creativity and life in general.

Snapchat Spectacles | $129.99


This TDG D.C. chick is dying for a pair of Snapchat Spectacles. Keeping my eyes on the map for the eventual D.C. Bot to spring up. So fun!

Cards Against Humanity | $25

Kiely Sweatt, Lead Trainer


It’s great for holiday gatherings, parties with friends and I’ve even used it with with colleagues during team building workshops. There are also so many additional packs you can add to your pre existing decks.

Carry On Cocktail Kit | $24

Reilly Carpenter, Director, Public Strategy


There’s nothing better than a craft cocktail after a long day. For the traveling creative, the Carry On Cocktail Kit is the perfect way to relax at 30,000 feet without settling for whatever they’ve got on the drink cart. This TSA-approved, personal mixology kit transforms that middle seat by the bathroom into a speakeasy for one. Plus, cute packaging!


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