The holidays aren’t easy for anyone. We want to think it’s all Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey songs with Elf playing in the background, but if you work in creative you know that it’s a lot of last-minute deadlines and Q4 budget pinching. Combine that with all of the holiday shopping you’ve yet to get around to and you’ll be stressed to the max. Check out our three tips on how to beat the stress this season.

1. Work it Out

Get you and your booty to a gym! Most gyms and wellness centers have discounts this time of year, if you aren’t already a member. This suggestion has nothing to do with New Year’s resolutions and everything to do with how satisfying it feels to move your body after a stressful day of sitting at your desk. Going to the gym for a workout is a great way to sweat out all of the stress from your day and take some time for yourself. All of the work you do on your body can also increase your happiness. Going to the gym may not only increase your self-confidence, but it also increases endorphins, which also put a smile on your face. Beyond that, it helps boost your immune system, which can save you a trip to the pharmacy and allow you to save your sick days.

2. Meditate

Meditation is a great way to distress and you don’t have to be in yoga pants on a mat at a fancy eucalyptus-smelling yoga studio to do it. There is a reason why this mindfulness practice has been around for centuries and why it’s coming back in a bit way. There are tons of apps out there these days that can help you delve into your inner self for guidance and peace—whether you’re on the subway, sitting at your desk, or riding the elevator. (We do discourage you from trying this while driving.) Check out apps like Headspace, Meditation Studio, Simple Habit, or Calm. If you know of an app that isn’t listed, please let us know which we should be checking out!

3. Give Back

Beyond stress that comes from the holiday season, there are many people out there who are stressed for other reasons, possibly relating to basic survival, like not having enough food or adequate shelter. A great way to encourage the feel-good-warm-fuzzies is to dedicate your time giving back to a cause you care about. Whether it’s volunteering at a food shelter, nursing home, hospital, or other venue, there are many cause-based organizations that seek your help this time of year.

Before you look into volunteering—make sure to check in with your team’s Human Resources team. Many companies now offer their employees one of more days off to contribute to the community. Ask your team to find out how you can give back.

At the end of the year, the holiday season typically tends to win over the general population and succeeds in stressing us all out—but it doesn’t have to. Take initiative and try utilizing the 3 steps above to lighten your load this holiday season. Let us know how it goes and if you learn anything about yourself along the way!

Allison is a former Creative Circle Account Executive, with a background in creative writing, content writing/strategy, publishing, and business development. Her world revolves around words and the relationships and interactions they inspire. Allison is now the Content Specialist at Raizlabs, a design and development firm in Boston and San Francisco.

The holiday season is stressful enough with all of the gift-giving pressure lingering in the air. You’re most likely buying gifts for your family and your significant other and his/her family, and your roommate, and before you know it, you have enough people on your gift-giving list to populate all of Whoville. And then you realize you didn’t even think about work.


No fear, we’ve got you covered. Here are some ideas for things to get your colleagues, collaborate partners, and clients. Now remember, you know these people far better than we do, so feel free to mix and match.

For the Nostalgia-Seeker

Sure, we all love looking back. Why not gift something to someone that reminds them of something you’ve worked on together? You could get creative and create a video montage of photos or clips from a campaign; make a gift basket of products that a campaign was built around; get creative with arts and crafts (but head to Pinterest to ensure things turn out looking gift-worthy); get creative with a tag line and make it the theme of your gift!

For the Zen-Seeker

A great way to bring some Zen into one’s life at an office (either in an actual setting or in a home office), is to add a little green. A money tree is always a great way to set some positive vibes, but there are also terrariums, which don’t take up too much space but bring a whole lot of earthy goodness to your space. Depending on how much sun hits your desk, make sure to look at one that doesn’t require too much light. You can also look into a mini Zen garden for a colleague’s desk or a simple, yet elegant print that reminds them to breathe or get creative. Now, if you’re shopping for someone who needs some Zen as they power through the day, look into getting them a Didget; Didget has three sophisticated fidget tools where luxury meets the metaphysical, so that your colleagues can fidget away while remaining calm, yet productive. Could Santa deliver that? 

For the Person Who Needs to Physically Relax

We all know that person that outwardly shows their stress—white knuckles around a coffee cup, shoulders hunched in frustration over a keyboard. You know what is always a great gift? Something that will allow them to physically unwind. Give the gift of a yoga class, a selection of aromatherapy items, or a gift card to Soothe, a great new app that allows people to find a last-minute masseuse to come right to your door.

For the One Who Caught the Travel Bug and Never Got Over It

If you have a colleague that is always using their days off to go somewhere far away (or even closeby to escape), consider giving them a new snazzy bag in which to keep all of their things. Check out Away for example. All of Away’s bags have TSA approved locks and even allow you to charge your devices so in the event you can’t find an outlet, there’s no need to worry. And for the health- conscious traveler, you can give the gift of constant hydration with this nifty portable water bottle. And for the traveler who seems to have been everywhere, or may need help deciding where to go next, this scratch map is a fun and interactive gift.

If you have remote colleagues or collaborative partners that work in other cities, a great idea for a gift is the gift of a fresh space to do work. Check out Croissant to give the gift of a fresh, innovative coworking space. And not just one, either. Croissant allows its users to try out different spaces in cities around the US. (Currently in New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Boston.)

Editor’s Note: If you are located in Chicago, Los Angeles or Denver, Deskpass is a similar option. For Chicago residents only: Creative Circle is currently partnering with Deskpass to offer a discount off part-time and full-time memberships in Chicago locations. Sign up here to receive 60% off your first month and 10% off subsequent months.

Food You Don’t Have to Eat at Your Desk

Each company’s culture is a little different, but that being said, most of us can remember the days when we spent our lunch hour scarfing down a mediocre meal at our desk. Get one of your colleagues the gift of a good meal this holiday season—one that allows them to be creative as part of the enjoyment. Companies like Blue Apron and Plated allow a person to take the time to enjoy making a meal before eating it. The greatest part about how they operate is that they only deliver what the recipe requires (you know—so you don’t need to buy all of that paprika until you’re sure you like the recipe). Once you’re finished making the meal, they have a recipe card that you can keep for guidance the next time around.

Beautiful Little Things

 You don’t have to go big or go home. Sometimes less is more and the holiday season can definitely be one of those times. Don’t be afraid to give something small that packs a mighty punch. Check out Lovepop cards, which are designed in 3D, laser cut, and hand assembled. They pop right up and deliver a surprise each time you open them. Or, if your colleague or client is the type of person that doesn’t only rely on their Google Calendar, check out these calendars from Etsy where you can get anything practical or with a beautiful design. If you’d like to give a gift that’ll subtly be with its recipient each day, check out these custom key chains from CustomMade, which allows you to interact with the artisan making your gift to ensure that you get just what you desire.

At the end of the day, remember that it’s the relationships you maintain with your colleagues and clients that make the most difference, and no what’s gifted or how much money is spent during this one time of year. Remember to be thankful for the learning experiences you’ve had this past year and the role your colleagues and clients have played in that; always say thank you. From all of us at Creative Circle, we’re wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

Allison is a former Creative Circle Account Executive, with a background in creative writing, content writing/strategy, publishing, and business development. Her world revolves around words and the relationships and interactions they inspire. Allison is now the Content Specialist at Raizlabs, a design and development firm in Boston and San Francisco.