Hopefully our guide to how freelancers can prepare for Christmas has helped you organise your business over the festive season. But if you’re working hard to meet client deadlines before everyone takes a short break, you may have overlooked other details. Which is where our last minute freelancer Christmas gift guide might help. If you need to find the right present for the self-employed person in your life, or something to send to clients, colleagues or collaborators, we’ve put together some suggestions.
With the rush to produce content and marketing campaigns, upcoming tax deadlines, and more, Christmas is an incredibly busy time for many freelancers. And it can be difficult to focus on choosing the right gifts when you’re racing to get projects completed, and invoices sent to the accounts department, before everyone leaves the office. So if you’re not the sort of freelancer who had your present buying organised in a Trello board, and everything wrapped before December started, don’t panic. You still have time to get everything you need for the important people in your life and career.
There’s so much available online for freelancers and the self-employed (including here on Freelance Corner, or on the IPSE website), that books can seem a bit old-fashioned. But when sitting in front of a screen is so closely associated with work, a good book can be the perfect escape. We’ve compiled a long list of the best books for freelancers and the self-employed, and it includes inspirational stories from successful freelancers and company founders. Which means you can give someone a nice motivational boost for the New Year.
And while the tactics of freelancing can change with the times, the underlying philosophies and approaches to business are timeless. Good examples include Let My People Go Surfing by Patagonia founder Yves Chouinard (buy from Amazon), Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (buy from Amazon) or Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull (buy from Amazon).
Christmas is a time for many people to gather around the television and watch the traditional classics – from It’s A Wonderful Life to Die Hard. But there are also some great films you can use for business inspiration, even if their portrayal of self-employment tends to be fairly unrealistic. Aside from the idea that you can complete any work in the length of one song montage, they’re actually a great way to show friends and family some of the fun and enjoyment that can come from creating your own business. And this can be a more subtle and effective way to change the minds of doubters than talking to them directly.
For example, Chef, which stars Jon Favreau as a top chef who loses his job after a war of words on Twitter and decides to open a food truck (buy from Amazon), The Founder which follows the creation of McDonalds (buy from Amazon), technology-based stories including The Pirates of Silicon Valley, The Social Network (buy from Amazon), Jobs (buy from Amazon), and Steve Jobs (buy from Amazon). And for an example of lifelong devotion to a craft and passion, it’s probably tough to beat Jiro Dreams of Sushi (buy from Amazon). Obviously, many of these titles are available via streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video, but given that the availability is constantly changing, there’s still a place for DVDs and Blu-Rays.
While everyone will have their own favourite titles, there seems to be a common trend for freelancers and the self-employed to enjoy life management games and simulations. Perhaps because it allows more control than the sometimes chaotic real experience of self-employment. Which means the relaxing escapism of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch (buy on Amazon), or The Sims 4 (buy on Amazon).
And there’s also been a huge rise in the range of simulators and management games allowing you to run almost any type of business, from bigger titles like Football Manager or Two Point Hospital, to smaller releases including Coffee Talk, Gas Station Simulator, and the Virtual Reality title Job Simulator, which lets you experience working in a fully automated world in 2050. If office work involved just hammering two giant keys, or chefs were able to throw food at customers.
Home Office Gifts:
Small gifts can make a big difference to a home office. While Aeron chairs and electronic height-adjustable desks might be out of the budget for most Christmas giving, we’ve got a guide to some of the best budget home office upgrades. And something as simple as a monitor stand or footrest doesn’t just mean someone will appreciate your gift every time they sit down to work, but you’re actively helping them to stay healthier. All of our budget gifts are available for £50 or less, and should be easily shipped in time for Christmas, as well as giving anyone with a larger budget some inspiration – rather than a cost effective keyboard, you can always impress someone with a high-end mechanical example like the Corsair K100 (buy on Amazon), or help someone minimise RSI with a Logitech MX Vertical Ergonomic Mouse (buy on Amazon).
Food and drinks:
While many people choose freelancing to have greater control over their social interactions, the added restrictions due to the Covid pandemic have seriously limited the chances to enjoy cafes, restaurants or even meals with friends. And while you can buy one-off gifts to bring some excitement to those working at home, the growth in subscription boxes means you can also provide a regular delivery of food or drinks on a monthly basis.
Every conceivable option is covered for alcoholic drinks, including beer, wine, and spirits. Or you can opt for a variety of popular coffee subscription boxes, food from various countries around the world, or even more unusual examples, such as monthly deliveries of cheese or tinned fish.
If money is really tight:
Freelancing can be tough at times, particularly when the global economy is experiencing a downturn. But in most cases, it really is the thought that counts. So a handwritten card or letter can be appreciated, particularly in a time when so much of us communicate solely by email and social media.
If you’re a writer, then crafting a personalised haiku or poem can mean a lot to the recipient, and anyone creative will have options for artwork and bespoke gifts. If family and friends know you’re just starting out in a self-employed career, or have been going through a tough time for your business, they’ll understand if you can’t splash out on expensive presents quite yet.
Ultimately it’s possible to find a great gift no matter how much time and money you have. The most important thing, like so much in freelance life, is not putting it off to the last minute. Give yourself a bit of space, and you’ll have more options to choose from. And even the smallest effort to show your appreciation for people can be repaid tenfold in the future.