best gifts for communicatorsAck! Only four more sleeps until Christmas, and this is the last Spin Sucks Question before the happy holiday.

Are you ready?

(Editorial aside: I’m not. Like, really not… As noted when I announced this question last week: This may or may not be a ploy to figure out some last-minute gifts.)

Seriously, though. This may not be a super serious question that will inform your communication strategy, but gifts can be hard!

This week, we asked:

What are the best gifts (Christmas or otherwise) for communications professionals? 

Anyway, let’s get to it. There isn’t much time left to get out and grab these things!

The Best Gifts for Communicators: A Good Read

While many communication pros argue they don’t have much time to read, just as many (and more) insist that reading is essential to their growth as writers, and sanity as human beings (maybe it is just me insisting that, but my less-than-scientific method—a hunch—tells me I’m right).

As such, it’s hard to deny that a favorite book or a recommended read wouldn’t make a good gift.

Alexandra Caffery agrees:

What are the best gifts (Christmas or otherwise) for communications pros?

There are two books I’d recommend: Words That Work by Frank Luntz and Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.

I’d also recommend a Moleskin notebook or a nice ballpoint pen.

If they’re really special in your life: a Mont Blanc ballpoint pen.

Those are good ones, Alexandra. I’m a huge ballpoint pen nut (I probably need to get out more).

The Best Gifts for Communicators: Adobe Creative Cloud?

Jennifer Horton is on a like-minded page, and then she got on a roll…

Becoming by Michelle Obama – What’s not to love about this book? It manages to be a book about race relations, socio-economic challenges, coming-of-age, politics, professional development, and romance.

Its conversational tone makes it incredibly relatable and engaging. It’s a great look inside the mind of one of our most recognizable female leaders.

A subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud – My mind was blown when I found out that for just a monthly fee I could have access to the whole creative suite at home.

Premiere Pro at my fingertips! YES!

Of course, this is only a good gift if your PR pro does a fair bit of photography, graphic design and/or video editing and ENJOYS it. (Key here is ENJOY).

Also, do find out if the PR pro in your life already has a membership. This one isn’t something you can return.

A BIG professional tote-bag – As a PR professional, I tend to have a LOT on my plate.

And by on my plate I mean in my arms as I go from meeting to meeting.

A look inside my work bag will reveal: my laptop, agenda, event files, printed materials, a brush, hairspray, make-up bag, mirror and often a change of shoes. I recently switched from a medium-sized purse to a professional tote bag. It has made my life much easier.

If you are shopping for a PR gentleman, consider a professional-looking back-pack. Think leather, not sports.

A pass to a yoga or meditation studio or a float spa – Crisis communication… Enough said.

A bottle of good bourbon – When the aforementioned yoga, meditation or floating doesn’t work.

You had me with all but Adobe Creative Cloud. But I’m not that person, per your caveat, Jennifer… I’ll take bourbon over anything Adobe any day. I’ll probably take a bourbon over most things any day. Sigh.

The Best Gifts for Communicators: The Gift of Grammar

From Heather Ebert:

*Grammar pencils*
Grammar pencils make for a cute stocking stuffer for the communications professional in your life.

Someone gifted me them a few Christmases ago and I love them, except for the fact that one of the pencils says, Love the Oxford Comma.

Considering most PR pros don’t care for the Oxford Comma, look for a set that doesn’t include that, or simply leave it in for giggles.

*Journal with writing prompts*
As a communications professional who spends most of their day writing, it can be hard to come home after a long day and find the inspiration to write for personal reasons. But, it’s a good practice to help keep writing skills sharp.

There are several writing journals out there with prompts to guide the process along.

*Gift card to local coffee shop*
A gift card to a local coffee shop is the perfect gift for the hard-working, dedicated and caffeinated communications professional in your life.

Whether they need a break from the office or somewhere to spend their Sunday afternoon writing a pitch, a coffee on you will go a long way.

It’s your (or our?) lucky day, Heather! The Spin Sucks team members are Oxford Comma devotees.

The Gift of Culture: Happy Holidays (节日快乐) 

Gregory Golinski has a like-minded idea:

A really nice gift for a communication professional is a language course, whether it’s in-class or online.

Learning a language is a fun way to discover a new culture, and it’s a great way for communication professionals to connect with new people from all over the world.

Imagine what you could do if you knew a little bit of Mandarin or Japanese?

The Best Gifts for Communicators: From the Weird File

Weird gift ideas aren’t bad ideas, by any means. This isn’t a condemnation, but rather a tip of the hat!

Going off the beaten trail is one of my favorite tacks when it comes to gift giving!

Casady Williams:

I wanted to offer up the Neck Hammock as the perfect holiday gift for communication professionals.

We spend A LOT of time on the computer and traveling, and as a result, our necks and upper backs can experience severe aches and pain.

Through cervical traction, the Neck Hammock provides pain relief after less than 10 minutes of use. You can watch a video of how the simple, portable device works here.

Disclosure/hunch: I have a feeling Casady may work with Neck Hammock, but I still think it’s a fun idea.

Allisa Lindo followed suit:

I spend my days hunched over a computer a lot, and my back isn’t too happy with that.

So all I want for Christmas is a back massager.

What I’d really love is a trip to the spa, but looking at my calendar, that isn’t gonna happen. So a back massager is the best option.

From Greg Brooks:

Pearls to clutch when things go wrong and a shovel to bury the bodies when they go really wrong.

[backs slowly away…]

The Best Gift for Communicators: Booze

Unsurprisingly (is that jaded, or hopeful?), many respondents offered up alcohol as their gift of choice, and I couldn’t agree more.

Jennifer Phillips:

Amazon gift cards to buy books, and this, if Santa’s feeling very generous: Balvenie 21-Year Old PortWood Finish Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Sarah Parker was also very specific with her whiskey (yes, we’re using both spellings!):

Writer’s Tears Copper Pot Irish Whiskey

Christopher Penn went in a slightly different direction:


The Best Gift for Communicators

Paige Worthy makes a very good point:

Am I the only person who doesn’t want anything related to my job for Christmas?

(Besides the person who said whiskey, though it could be argued that’s the most job-related gift ever, lol)

Like, don’t give me a dang notebook just because I’m a writer.

I totally agree, Paige. Notebooks can be pretty personal things. Same with my coveted ballpoint pens. Booze is always appreciated, but apart from that… let’s just focus on a nice gift. Period. Right?

That said…(wait for it)

The Best Gift for Communicators: And the Winner is…

Howie Goldfarb, a long-time Spin Sucks community member, wins this week’s Spin Sucks Question. A quick review of his response will explain why:

Books written by Gini Dietrich.

Airfare, hotel, and tickets to see Gini Dietrich speak.

Spin Sucks wine glasses with a box of Franzia.

A Hunks of Mashable Calendar.

Vermont Beer.

Maple Syrup (from Vermont).

Cheese (from Vermont).

Vermont Cider.

Darn Tough Socks.

Burton clothes and snow gear.

A donation in their name to VPR.

Mad River Glen lift ticket.

Well played, Howie. And thanks for the great list (although I’ll argue that Ontario or Quebec Maple Syrup beats Vermont Maple Syrup… but hey, I’m Canadian. Ditto on the beer).

Happy Holidays from Spin Sucks!

Hopefully, this Best Gifts for Communicators list will provide some last-minute inspiration for any remaining gift shopping! I know it’s helped me a lot.

Up next? The Best of The Spin Sucks Question! It’s a two-part series that will kick off next Friday (December 28th).

Most of the “best” questions have been identified and logged, but if you feel there are any Spin Sucks Questions we’ve left unanswered, or there are any that particularly stand out, share your responses/comments below, in the free Spin Sucks community, or on the socials (use #SpinSucksQuestion so we can find you).

In the meantime, we wish you a very happy holiday!

Mike Connell

Mike Connell is the director of client services at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. He is also a contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks, the leading source for modern PR training, trends, and insights. Find more of Mike's musings on his blog, Communative. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

View all posts by Mike Connell