HO! HO! HO-LY MOLEY! We are 4 deep into the 8 magical nights of Hanukkah, 11 days till Kwanzaa and 10 days away from reindeer hooves touching down - which means – its gift guide time!

There are a slew of gift guides out there. All to help you find the perfect gift for the special folks in your life. From brothers to best friends. Colleagues to kids.

And they are all great, BUT, we’ve got one with a little insight added in.

During our PEAK research and strategy season, with all our dear Ignite 360 ensemble traveling the globe to make our client partners merry – we asked, “What is the one special gift you would like to receive this holiday season?”

We hope the answers will delight and inspire you and (as always) we’ve laddered up these insights with real world examples to help you spread some cheer this year. laddered up these fa la la la findings with recommendations and real world examples to help you spread some real cheer this year.

Real (GREAT) gifts for real life...


Charles LaBrecque / Operations Manager

“I’d appreciate a gift that takes me outside of my usual, local routine and exposes me to more types of creativity.”

Insight: Monotony can create blinders.

Recommendation: Tickets to an opera or ballet (maybe it includes a backstage tour), a lecture series or other out of the norm event can help you see the world around you with fresh eyes.

Real World Example: Creative Mornings started by Tina Roth Eisenberg out of a desire for an ongoing, accessible event for her local creative community. 


Claire Farber /  Empathy Maven

“The number one gift I'd like to see is a surprise trip.”

Insight:  Sometimes a quick change of place is the change of pace you need.

Recommendation: A surprise trip doesn’t have to be an inclusive resort stay. An impromptu trip to a local garden, park or other wondrous place close to home can transport you away from the everyday.

Real World Example: Find Your Park helps you find parks near you and new ways to experience them.


Angie Bonnert / Insights Sleuth

“I'm not about wanting things, I just came back from a trip to see my sister and she loaded me up with "things" that just felt more stressful than enjoyable. My wish list is about wanting to take time to experience simple pleasures without a schedule or time crunch: time to do some creative writing, spending a day at a spa or meditation retreat to rejuvenate, a day in the city or out hiking with my husband to just get lost and do whatever or taking a spontaneous vacation without anything planned.”

Insight: Allowing yourself to wander and get “lost” can help you discover a fresh path.

Recommendation: Skip the scented candles and ugly holiday sweaters – and give the gift of an experience.

Real World Example: Airbnb Experiences lets you see another side of a city when you book hands-on tours and unique workshops, all led by local experts. 


John Sularz / Analyst

“I'd love a plane ticket to Denmark to visit the city archives and do research on my family history.” 

Insight: Sometimes you to need to look back to know how far you’ve come.

Recommendation: Give someone the gift of their very own origin story with a genealogy data subscription or a DNA deep dive.

Real World Examples: Ancestry and 23andMe

Sunaina Schultz, PhD / Insights Director


“I've been playing the word game Mad Libs since I was a kid. I love this game because it's a great way to get people's creative juices flowing - especially people who don't think they're actually creative. All they have to do is come up with a few nouns and adjectives, and in the process, they create a hilarious story. It's a great way to get a sense of how someone's mind works and is a sort of ice breaker/warm-up for either more personal conversations or more intense creativity exercises.”

Insight: You can discover more about a person in an hour of play, than a year of conversation

Recommendation: Plato was spot on, and this gift is perfect for everyone in your life!

Real World Examples: Mad Libs, Elevation®, Lifeology®


Tara Hutchinson / Insights Strategist

“These days I have little time to think about feeding my own curiosity beyond my profession. I want time...time to read books again; time to go back to school and take classes just for the fun of learning.”

Insight: A little down time can boost productivity way up!

Recommendation: Giving the gift of “time” is more doable than you think. Run an errand for a friend so they can use that extra hour to watch the new season of Peaky Blinders – or gift yourself by hiring a trusted research partner to do some heavy lifting for you so you can focus on being the leader you want to be.

Real World Examples: TaskRabbit, Ignite 360


Lisa Osborne / COO / Catalyst Maestro

All of Lisa’s hard work and care for others earned her (2) gifts this year (at least):

“Noise cancelling earbuds”

Insight: A curious person occasionally needs to tune out in order to tune in.

Recommendation: The gift of personal space, creates trust and, in-turn, closeness.

Real World Example: Bose QuietComfort noise cancelling earbuds

“Glassbaby hand-blown glass. They are like beautiful little snowflakes with no two ever truly alike. A Seattle company, Glassbaby offers unique collect-and-curate worthy glass art.  Each piece has a theme with 10% from the sale of every glassybaby is donated to the glassybaby white light fund to help people, animals, and the planet heal.

Insight: Your dollars have the power to do good (beautifully).

Recommendation: Giving gifts that give back are always a win, win – and the joy of the gift is as huge as the kind hearts behind them.

Real World Examples: Glassbaby, Hand In Hand, Simple Vodka


Stephanie Spencer /  Storyologist

“The Atlas Obscura book and excursion”

Insight: Giving the gift of a book is like holding a door for someone –  you open them and get transported to a new place. 

Recommendation: The Atlas Obscura book inspires equal parts wonder and wanderlust, profiling over 700 of the strangest and most curious places in the world.

Real World Example: Atlas Obscura

What’s on your wish list this holiday season? Connect with us on on FacebookLinkedInTwitter or Instagram.