For anyone on your holiday list who's got you stumped, there's got to be something more exciting than the standard coffee-shop gift card, right?
The holidays are notorious for causing lots of anxiety: overcrowded parking lots, burnt main courses, flight cancellations, etc. Give the gift of inspiration with presents that are activity-based, centered on relieving stress through making art. These creative gifts range in prices, so you won't have to worry about reaching too far into your pockets. And if you want to give the gift of quality time to the special people in your life, there are also artistic endeavors that can be shared.
*Adult Coloring Books
Do you remember how much time you spent coloring during your childhood? If an adult handed you some crayons or colored pencils, you were good to go for hours and hours! Studies show that coloring releases similar signals to your body that flow during meditation or exercise. It requires extreme focus but still taps into your creative side, making it a fun, engaging activity; instead of turning on the television to tune out, you're turning on different parts of your brain by tuning in to your inner artist. The following are some fun options.
--"Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns." This is a New York Times best-selling series, offering different paperbacks and patterns to choose from. Available from Amazon, about $9.
--"Adult Coloring Book Designs: Stress Relief Coloring Book: Garden Designs, Mandalas, Animals, and Paisley Patterns" offers lots of variety and fun. Available from Amazon, about $5.
--"Tattoo Coloring Book" by Oliver Munden. For the edgier folks in your life, this is a great idea. It might even spark inspiration for new ink! Available at Barnes & Noble, about $11.
--"Swear Word Coloring Book." If you're shopping for a smart-alec who might ordinarily roll her eyes at arts and crafts, this is a perfect book. It will motivate her to sit and color by tickling her funny bone. Available at Barnes & Noble, about $6.
*Painting, Origami and More
While adult coloring books are all the rage right now, here are a few other options:
--"DIY Oil Painting Paint by Number Kit" by Colour Talk. This is ideal for someone who's already somewhat artistically inclined and would like the challenge. Available from Amazon, about $12.
--"Color Your Own Origami Kit" from Tuttle Publishing. The act of carefully folding paper can be meditative and deeply relaxing. Available from Target, about $13.
--3-D Printing Pen from TRLife. This new technology is just plain fun. It makes for a great conversation starter. Available from Amazon, $47.95.
If you'd like to give a gift that's both social and creative, consider a gift card to Color Me Mine. Color Me Mine centers, located around the country, allow you to book parties for painting on canvas or pottery. This is also a good option for getting a group together for an out-of-the-box evening that you'll remember forever, especially because you get to take home a unique memento. Check Groupon for discounts on such activities in your area.
Have fun looking, and keep an open mind: That is, after all, where the best artistic ideas come from in the first place!