08 Dec An Actor’s Guide to the Holidays, Part 1: Gift Giving

Ahhh, the holidays. That magical time of year that brings out those warm fuzzy feelings of thankfulness and plenty, while still managing to induce stress and create panic attacks about the things you DIDN’T accomplish this year. Maybe your parents are bugging you to “get a real job,” or perhaps you’re juggling 5 different celebrations and wondering when you’re going to sleep (and hoping that snow storm doesn’t mess with your travel plans TOO badly).

Along with the holiday parties and family get-togethers is the inevitable and sometimes insurmountable event of gift giving. How do you let the people in your life know what they mean to you? How do you navigate a small budget while still giving meaningful gifts? Some people judge a gift by the price tag, others just want to know that they’re thought of – it is up to you to decide what kind of gifts you want to give.

Many folks that I know in the industry are still starting out or aren’t quite making enough to give up their day jobs, which means finances may be tight. The good news is, you don’t need to break the bank to give a meaningful and useful gift! Whether you are looking for a gift for a fellow actor, for other industry professionals you’ve enjoyed working with, or a little something for yourself, I hope you can find inspiration from my Actor’s Guide to Gift Giving!

10 Gift ideas for the Actor in your life (or ideas for you to put on your wish list!):

    1. Hulu Plus or Netflix subscriptions, or a pair of movie theater tickets. Anyone in the TV/Film industry needs to stay up to date with the latest in entertainment!
    2. The Ninja Within– the best little book to keep your mindset in check when auditioning, taking meetings, and generally running your Acting business.
    3. Spa day — whether that includes a message or a facial or even getting nails done, an actor must take care of their body. And who wouldn’t benefit from a little me-time?
    4. Take them out for a nice dinner. Any excuse to dress up is always fun, plus tight-budgets don’t really allow for many dining out experiences. This gift has the added bonus of some quality time with the giver 🙂
    5. Give the gift of health! My absolute FAVORITE resource for fitness and nutrition is For The Glow. This female-centric program has tons of awesome online workouts and yummy, nutrition-packed superfood meals. You can purchase one of their programs or monthly, online membership! So awesome.
    6. Gift card to their favorite clothing store — Actors always need a variety of clothes for auditions, to portray different characters, and even for fancier things like networking events or walking the red carpet!
    7. Speaking of the Red Carpet… how about a gift card to Rent the Runway! On this site one can rent dresses and accessories at hugely discounted prices for anything from headshot sessions to black tie events.
    8. The Passion Planner (if you haven’t heard of this, check out the link): How awesome does THAT look? At any one time an actor is maintaining relationships with industry professionals, making coffee dates to stay in touch with like-minded artists, working on writing their web series, scheduling their survival job(s) around the auditions they need to get to… you get the point. This looks like an amazing place to keep all of that information together!
    9. The War of Art– one of those books that is a super easy read, and is beneficial to revisit every year to keep your artistic journey in check.
    10. Gifts for outdoor adventure: I LOVE this list, and how it is organized from stocking stuffer to big ticket items. As actors, it is essential that the industry doesn’t take up our whole lives. In order to portray a variety of characters in a myriad of stories, we must have a wide range of experiences to support it. For me, I love exploring the outdoors, whether that is hiking up Half Dome, biking across Iowa in RAGBRAI, canyoneering in Escalante, or canoeing in the Boundary Waters. There are so many great ideas on this list!


5 Gift ideas for your Agent, Casting Directors who took a chance on you, or great Directors you worked with:

  1. A bag of their favorite coffee beans (if they drink it)
  2. A bottle of wine (if they drink)
  3. Did they just get a new car? How about car wash tickets!
  4. Did they just add a puppy to their home? Why not get or make some special dog treats!
  5. Even something as simple as a thoughtful, hand written card goes a long way.

The more personal you can make the gift, the better. Remember, these gifts are about truly thinking of what the other person would want. No coffee mugs with your headshot on them. Think about your relationship, think about their interests, and get them a little something to let them know you appreciate them!

The holidays are a wonderful time to reconnect with people from all areas of your life. Whether you’re an actor trying to let your family know what you’d like for Christmas, or you’re searching to get something for a creative in your life this holiday season, I hope this Guide to Gift Giving has started you on the right track!

What do you think? Is there something industry-related at the top of your wish list this year?

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