Creative Holiday Gift Ideas (Mostly) Under $50

Written by Mark Rogers

We’re playing holiday elf on your behalf. Last year Frame Destination started this list of unique gifts for artists, photographers and creative aficionados. We’ve added a few new items for 2020. If something catches your eye, share this post with family, close friends and even on social media — with a subtle hint, like: “I’d flip over item #3, just saying.” Or why not treat a fellow creative soul with an unexpected gift? After a year like 2020, we could all use a happy surprise.

Day to Night Rotating Clock

We creatives are dynamic individuals who get bored easily. How fun would it to look up at this clock, which changes background scenes throughout the day? Buy here.

Rotating Clock Day to Night Rotating Clock, Uncommon Goods, $40

History of Art Tote

A tote bag always comes in handy, and why not make it clever? From da Vinci to Dali and beyond, this bag recounts art history at a glance via smiley faces illustrated by Donald Seitz. This one’s available from our friends at the Museum of Modern Art. Now if we could just get these clever faces in emoji form on our cell phones. Buy here.

History of Art Tote History of Art Tote, MoMa, $22 • Non-Member Price / $19.30 Member Price

GalleryPouch Art Transport Bubble Bags

Speaking of travel…Artists need innovative supplies, especially when they travel or transport art to shows, to clients, or simply to give as gifts. Nothing beats GalleryPouch™ which was developed for that very purpose. It’s #1 among creatives transporting art or valuable equipment such as camera lenses and framing supplies. It’s double laminated, customizable, reusable, and sealable. Buy here.

Gallery Pouch GalleryPouch Art Transport Bubble Bags, Frame Destination, from $7.70

Alibabette Paris Journal

Artist sketchbooks are a dime a dozen. What we love about this one is that it lies flat when you open it. At 8.25” x 5.7”, it’s the perfect size to bring with you wherever you go. You’ll fill the 240 blank pages in no time. Buy here.

Alibabette Paris Journal Alibabette Paris Journal, Amazon, from $17.78

The Photographer’s Playbook: 307 Assignments and Ideas

“The greatest freedom is to have no choice.” That perceptive paradox comes from photographer Christopher Anderson. The Photographer’s Playbook is full of insights, exercises and tips from contemporary photographers. There’s one for almost every day of the New Year. Buy here.

The Photographer’s Playbook The Photographer’s Playbook, Amazon, new from $29.58

Pocket Rocket Memory Card Carrier

Keeping up with those little memory cards — they’re smaller than a potato chip, for Pete’s sake — can be the bane of a photographer’s existence. But not with this handy card keeper. Clip it to a bag, backpack, even your clothes. The back side features a clear pocket for your business card for convenient identification. Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.5 x 0.5”. Buy here.

Pocket Rocket Memory Card Carrier The SD Pixel Pocket Rocket Memory Card Carrier, Think Tank, $16.75

5-in-1 Travel Adapter

Sure, 2020 has put a damper on travel for many of us. But one day we’ll move about the world freely again. And when we do, we’ll be ready with this set of five color-coded detachable plugs that let you adapt in over 150 countries. The white charger’s two USB ports let you charge all your devices, including DSLR cameras. Buy here.

5-in-1 Travel Adapter 5-in-1 Travel Adapter, MoMa Design Store, $35 (non-member price)

Artie Leather Weight

Anyone who’s tried to hold down a print while mounting it for framing knows you can’t just grab random objects to do the job, lest you scratch the print. Enter the Artie Leather Weight, featuring our famed panda mascot. Heavy enough to keep prints in place, but covered in soft, non-abrasive leather to protect the art. Priced low enough to buy a set of four, and cover every corner.  Buy here.

Artie Leather Weight, Frame Destination, $10.35 each

Sensory Gloves

Photographers who work in colder climates shouldn’t have to risk frostbite to capture stunning images. Taking gloves on and off is annoying. Come to the rescue of your photographer friend with these Sensory Gloves by AquaTech. They’re fleece-lined from wrist to fingers keeps the cold at bay. Neoprene tops the thumb and index finger, outfitted with a secret hole where digits can pop through to get the shot, and quickly retreat to warmth. Buy here.

Sensory Gloves Sensory Gloves, AquaTech, $39.95 at B&H Photo & Video

Balance Playing Cards

Here at Frame Destination, we appreciate it when someone offers a fresh spin on a normal, everyday object. Take these playing cards, for example: a refreshing mix of modern aesthetic and sustainability — the ink is vegetable based. As far as looks go, every hand’s a winner. Buy here.

Balance Playing Cards Balance Playing Cards, $15

Honey Fund Shadowbox

Creatives have a running list of cutting-edge equipment and supplies they’d love to own, but can’t afford quite yet. Maybe it’s out of your reach, too. Still, you can show your support (and your own DIY prowess) by custom-creating a savings shadow box to motivate your recipient’s desire to save, save, save. Decorate the inside of the shadow box as a visual reminder of the item of their dreams; for example, a beautiful photo of the European city they’d love to visit and photograph, or an image of the expensive oil color set they’ve been eyeing.

To create this unique gift, order the shadow box in the size of your print with a piece of 3/16-inch backing board. Order a piece of standard acrylic separately that is two inches smaller than your frame size.

Example: If your print is 11x14 inches, order a frame kit with a piece of 3/16-inch foam core. If the print is horizontal, order the acrylic at 9x14. If it’s vertical, order it at 11x12. Note that “Honey Fund” tag is not included, but you can easily make your own custom tag with card stock and colored sharpie markers — and don’t forget to slip in some cash to start them off! Buy here.

gift guide honey fund shadow box Honey Fund Shadow Box Bank, FrameDestination.com, starts at $21.90

Lightroom Keyboard Shortcuts

Many photographers enjoy taking their craft beyond scouting and shooting into the world of post. With this gift, you’ll help the lucky photographer on your list to work much faster in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom as they take their images to next-level greatness. Buy here.

Adobe Lightroom Shortcuts Keyboard Skin, XSKN, $13.50 on Amazon

Frame Destination Gift Card

Ah, the ever-flexible Frame Destination Gift Card. Your recipients get to choose exactly what they want, no returns necessary. They’re perfect as a stand-alone gift for artists and photographers who need ready-made picture frames and other framing supplies on a regular basis or as a companion gift to another item on this list. Another thought: a gift card is a great add-on to a personal gift: your recipient gets to choose how to frame that print or original art you’ve selected just for them. Buy here.

Happy Holidays Gift Card, FrameDestination.com, $5.00 - $1,000.00

Merry Mentions Over $50

We couldn’t resist adding this trio of ideas, despite their price tags. Just in case you want to splurge, or perhaps split the cost with a group of friends.

MasterClass Gift Card. Open the door to a whole world of creativity at your digital convenience. Maybe your favorite photographer would appreciate lessons from Annie Leibovitz. Or your artist BFF could get ecstatic over a design and architecture course led by Frank Gehry. From dog training (Brandon McMillan) to directing (Ron Howard), learning has never been so fun and famous. Prices vary per class. Buy here.

Master Class Gift Cards Master Class Gift Cards. Prices vary per class.

Glide One Strap System, $64.95. The ergonomic split-strap design that’s not just comfortable, but lets you nimbly slide a camera from your side to your eye so you never miss a shot. Buy here.

Glide One Strap System, Custom SLR, $64.95

Transparent Tripod Easel, $199. Five adjustable settings make it functional, but we’re smitten with how the acrylic elegance vanishes into the background while your artwork takes center stage. Buy here.

Transparent Tripod Easel, CB2, $199

Last Updated October 21, 2020

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