Eleanor Pierce

The Sixth Day of Christmas: Top Six Gifts for Communicators

By: Eleanor Pierce | December 10, 2014 | 

Gifts for CommunicatorsBy Eleanor Pierce

On the sixth day of Christmas, Spin Sucks gave to you… six communicator gifts, five communications trends, four free webinars, three strategy games, two Crazies secrets, and the PR win of 2014.

Does everyone have the 12 Days of Christmas stuck firmly in their brains yet??

I hope so! Because we’re only six days in!

And I have a confession to make: This is an especially fun post for me to write, because in a past life, I was a consumer and shopping reporter for a daily newspaper (and yes, I used the heck out of HARO in those days).

Christmastime was always fun because it meant lots and lots of gift guides. Gift lists for pet lovers! For moms! For golfers!

So this year, writing a gift guide for communicators, well, it almost made me feel like I was back in the newsroom.

Except without quite as much swearing. And with much nicer copy editors.

(If any of my old copy editor pals are reading this, I’m kidding!)

(Sort of.)

So onto the list… on the sixth day of Christmas, we’re bringing you the Top Six Gifts for Communicators on your Christmas (or Hanukkah, Solstice, or Festivus) list!

Selfie Stick

I just love that this is a thing! It’s a stick you can use to hold your camera farther away when taking selfies, enabling you to get more friends into your selfies. Or, if you don’t have any friends, you can get more background in your selfies. It is perfection for the Instagram addict/social media star on your Christmas list.

(Or, really, even for someone who likes to travel but is too shy and/or cautious to ask strangers to take their photo in front of landmarks.)

There are more expensive versions out there, too, if you think your selfie aficionado needs something a little on the sturdier side.

Spin Sucks

If you’re a regular reader of Spin Sucks, you already know the value of Gini Dietrich’s communications advice. If you’re not, take my word for it: She knows what she’s talking about.

The book’s super relevant for all kinds of communicators, and it’s written in Gini’s breezy, easy-to-understand and read prose.

I’m not just saying this because she signs my paycheck—it’s more like, I wanted to work for Gini because of the kind of advice she offers up in Spin Sucks.

So if you have a communicator on your Christmas list who hasn’t yet read Gini’s book, Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age, get a copy, wrap it up, and deliver it.

Strunk and White’s Elements of Style

In my humble opinion, every professional communicator should already own a copy of this book. But on the off chance we’re talking about someone who doesn’t own the definitive manifesto on writing well, it makes an excellent gift.

Moleskine Notebooks

Yes, today’s communicators are largely digital communicators. We live by our laptops, our tablets, and our smartphones. But there is something inherently satisfying in writing notes and ideas longhand.

And doodling. Doodles are an essential part of the creative process! And in my view, there is no notebook brand that’s done a better job of aligning in the popular imagination with writerly pursuits than Moleskine. I love mine.

Bonus: These Evernote Moleskine notebooks seem like a really cool idea for anyone on your list who uses Evernote. They can just take a photo of a page from the notebook with the Evernote app and it’s available and searchable in Evernote.

A Good Magazine Subscription

Good communicators need to always be reading.


Magazines are particularly great because they help keep us up to date with what’s happening in the world and with current trends (always important for communicators), and of course reading a lot sharpens our communications and writing skills.

I’m partial to The New Yorker (if anyone is interested in re-upping my subscription … hint cough hint). But depending on the communicator you’re talking about, there could be a number of good choices; The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, or, depending on what kind of communications we’re talking about, perhaps Forbes, Garden and Gun (I LOVE this magazine!), or Rolling Stone.

Touchscreen Gloves

OK, I know not all professional communicators are addicted to their smartphones.

But most of us are.

And in the winter, there are few things more handy than a pair of gloves that allow you to still tap away on your phone without having to take your gloves off.

And in my view, gloves are a totally acceptable duplicate gift. You can get someone a pair even if they already have some—if the person you’re shopping for loses gloves as often as I do, they’ll always appreciate having an extra pair on hand.

(Get it? On hand? See what I did there?? Heh.)

That’s my list of six gifts for communicators. Share your ideas: What’s on your communications pro Christmas wish list?

photo credit: Shutterstock

About Eleanor Pierce

Eleanor Pierce is a recovering journalist who can't decide which part of the country to call home. She's happiest when she's reading, though she also really likes writing, baking, dogs, and sarcasm. No, seriously.

  • If it were seven things: 7. BIG GREEN PENS 🙂

  • ALL THE BIG GREEN PENS!! I can’t imagine ever using a selfie-stick. I can’t think of anything dorkier. And I’m the world’s biggest dork! LOL And you had me at magazine subscriptions. I’m a magazine addict. Less so, now that digital makes grabbing key articles easier, but still…I think half the time I get sick JUST so I can go see my doctor and read her New Yorker mags while in the waiting room! 🙂

  • Great list! And, how do I STILL not own a pair of touchscreen gloves?!? I could really use them for running – who wants to buy ’em for me?! 😉

  • lauraclick Santa has to be made aware of this over sight post haste! I have a pair of black leather thinsulate insulated gloves with a tag inside that says “U|R Powered”.  Very responsive to my Samsung Note4 screen touch.

  • lauraclick The punk in me is refusing to buy touchscreen gloves. I just feel like it’s crossing a line or something. LOL I mean, do I *need* to be texting in minus 20 degree weather???

  • biggreenpen Big green pens! Of COURSE!!

  • belllindsay lauraclick I bought $2 gloves at Target the other day not realizing they were touchscreen! Because if I don’t have them, I end up pulling the gloves off my thumbs while I wait at the transit center. It’s going to happen.

  • belllindsay  Outside on your new snow ice covered deck…..yes!

  • belllindsay My New Yorker subscription will be re-upped by the time this baby comes, one way or another! (I hear you can get a lot of reading done in the middle of the night, etc., while a baby is attached to you … )

  • Eleanor Pierce belllindsay lauraclick The only problem with touchscreen gloves? They don’t read your fingerprint for unlocking your phone! You have to type in your password like a dinosaur. Total first world problem …
    And yes, in winter climes, you can never have too many gloves.

  • I fell like the selfie stick is the final nail in the coffin of modern humanity, but maybe that’s just me. Part of the fun (and challenge) of travel is asking strangers to take your picture. It’s often a great way to strike up a conversation and get inside tips.
    Anyway, I just learned about this phenomenon and Facebook friends say they’re everywhere, though I haven’t witnessed one in real life yet …

  • I use the heck out of the selfie stick with my GoPro. It’s great for getting really dramatic shots.

  • RobBiesenbach I haven’t seen one in the wild yet, either! They just make me laugh.

  • jasonkonopinski You would.

  • Eleanor Pierce Sky blue, water wet.

  • Okay.. I put the selfie stick (as well as the selfie ball) on the gift guide that I did for teens and tweens but I secretly want one for myself because I’m doing a lot more video on my personal blogs and am tired of my head being so ginormous. And my arms hurt. But that helps keep the videos shorter, I guess..

  • Used no. 2 in August, because I was eager and excited to share and talk about it. So, not working for me in December :(((((

  • KristenDaukas See?! I remember when those bendy gorilla tripods were popular, but the selfie stick. I kind of want to try one. I can see it for uses like you’re talking about, but just carrying it around all the time? I’m not so sure.

  • Corina Manea It happens 🙂

  • RobBiesenbach Eleanor Pierce belllindsay lauraclick For some reason, I STILL try to unlock my phone with my glove fingerprint. #Doi

  • I love the magazine list minus Forbes. 
    People in the FInance Industry (banking, stocks, investment banking etc) view Forbes as the Mashable and People Magazine of Business. So curious your communicator angle and what it brings ( ginidietrich knows I mock them a lot). Not saying it shouldn’t be on your list. If it is the business news then Bloomberg, Business Week, and Fortune are much better choices). I love Rolling Stone for their Politics and the ads give a peek into the 15-35 demographic but they stopped being relevant to the music world around 1995 so always been a real sticking point for me with them. I praise them so much for their national news desk with Matt Taibbi etc but then I am so harsh with them on music because they went from edgy underground to pop music and I just hate pop music (Sorry Gini I still love you!)
    Another great book if can be found (might be out of print) is Rogers Rules for Success by Henry Rogers.

    As for gloves I have a pair they don’t work in the real cold. Anything below 30F I always have to take my hand out to use my phone fyi.

  • I wish to add I am not a fan of the HarvardBiz  either. Their articles on social media are as bad as Mashables.

  • Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich Fair critiques. Listen to Howie*, people!

    *when it comes to magazines, anyway

    Nope. Nope. Nope. 
    Seriously. Nope.

  • Digital_DRK lauraclick Duly noted! Seems I must get my letter to Santa in the mail!

  • belllindsay Yeah, it seems awfully superfluous, right? But, since I run, I have legitimate reasons to need my phone – change the music, pause Runkeeper, etc. Still, it seems like a total first world problem.

  • Michelle Hals

    I recently snagged a free one-year subscription to the New Yorker and am kicking myself for waiting so long to become a subscriber.

    And thanks for seconding my Moleskine addiction. Glad to know I’m not the only one!

  • I honestly stopped reading after you used the term “selfie aficionado,” because really you can go up from there! And I have so many people in my life who that would be a perfect gift for.

  • Michelle Hals A free year?? How did you get that? I want one!

  • Michelle Hals

    Eleanor Pierce Michelle Hals I signed up for RewardSurvey. They have a pretty limited selection of magazines but it’s easy to earn money to use on subscriptions for things like the New Yorker, Fast Company, Inc. and Rolling Stone. (FYI: Not affiliated with the company in any way. Just a lover of the rewards I get.)

  • Michelle Hals Eleanor Pierce Nice!

  • lbatzer

    I love this list!  It’s funny I had never heard of or seen the selfie on a stick until a recent trip to China.  I saw them everywhere.  The one thing I kept wondering about was how would someone actually take the image with the phone being so far away.  But since being back, I have started to see products that solve that problem.

    Also, if you looking for a good magazine suggestion check out “The Week” The mag. curates the past weeks news and presents what various news and magazines wrote on trending issues.  It has a little bit of everything in it, covers things that happened worldwide.

  • lbatzer I guess I assumed they all came with some sort of remote control … 
    And I’ll check out The Week. Sounds interesting!

  • Eleanor Pierce RobBiesenbach I guess Leigh wouldn’t put the Selfie Stick as her number one (and I’m not detracting from its place on this list) but this is an interesting take on it:  http://leadchangegroup.com/put-your-phone-away-and-look-up/

  • It’s not a Selfie Stick but $5 at big lots got  me this little baby that plugs into my phone jack and buys me a few feet. It even comes with a “stand” (a/k/a little tiny piece of plastic). Further confirmation that I may be a misplaced millennial (but when you’re doing a yoga challenge on instagram every extra inch helps!) (and it’s green, coincidentally).

  • lauraclick If you are running in cold THAT BAD, you totally deserve the gloves, Laura!!!

  • Ellie Pierce

    Gold bullion! A beach house! Diamonds!

  • biggreenpen Coincidentally? Likely story ….

  • biggreenpen Eleanor Pierce RobBiesenbach Interesting read. I certainly see her point, but the selfie stick itself can’t be to blame. It’s a much bigger-picture issue, isn’t it?

  • Eleanor Pierce  you forgot to say “no pun intended”  after that question.  If you add Google glasses to the equation, then we have ourselves taking a picture of ourselves taking a picture of ourselves taking a…… it becomes the  epitomisation of narcissism within a cascading selfie. 
    Or possibly would just be a cool thing to try.

  • Digital_DRK Eleanor Pierce Team pun forever!
    Also: Bonus points for the phrase “epitomisation of narcissism within a cascading selfie.”

  • Eleanor Pierce  Yay! selfie pat on the back for me! 🙂

  • belllindsay lauraclick I have a pair and I use them at Bears games. It’s a long time to sit and watch a game without texting!

  • LauraPorterHaub

    SpinSucks EleanorPie Moleskine – yes, please! theSMgeek are you listening? 😉

  • EleanorPie

    shanlee ginidietrich I guess I wasn’t being as subtle as I thought …

  • Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen Yes, the stick I suppose in an abettor of the selfie itself, which many decry, including me from time to time. I just learned of it in a NYT piece a week or two ago. 
    My issue, besides perpetuating selfies, is, like I said, it takes away one of the joys of travel — striking up a conversation with strangers.

  • Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen Big Lots doesn’t exactly offer the whole ROYGBIV spectrum of $5 remote selfie thingies. 🙂

  • Digital_DRK Eleanor Pierce meta

  • Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen RobBiesenbach definitely not —– I wouldn’t want to dethrone the #1 item on this list —- but no it’s not the selfie stick itself that is to blame (and after all this gushing about it I really think they should send Gini one in gratitude!) ….. but I agree with Rob ….. it’s a little tiny micro-interaction every time one of us needs a stranger to take a pic and not needing to do that insulates everyone a little bit more.

  • biggreenpen Eleanor Pierce RobBiesenbach TOTALLY AGREE! I’ve met some of the best people that way!

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  • biggreenpen Eleanor Pierce hahahaha. I guess I can see that …

  • ginidietrich

    EleanorPie I love you anyway!

  • EleanorPie

    ginidietrich <3

  • LauraPetrolino biggreenpen Eleanor Pierce Yes, and I am not what you call a SUPER OUTGOING person. The photo ask actually gives you a substantive and comfortable starting point for a conversation, as opposed to, say, “Hey … what’s up … nice … hat?”

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  • EleanorPie

    Lynn_Habel Thanks for the share, Lynn!

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