Tuesday, November 22, 2022

7 Christmas Gifts That Tickle a Writer’s Senses

by Ginny Cruz, MPA, PT

Have you started shopping for Christmas? As hard as it is to believe, it’s that time of year again. While making out my list, I wondered, “What gifts does a writer need to awaken their playful, creative side?” 

In Soul Care for Writers, author Edie Melson shares fun ways to get creative and improve our writing and connection with God, the ultimate creative genius. Since I work with young children as a physical therapist and early intervention specialist, her work reminded me of how children play and learn about the world around them. 

Children constantly engage with their surroundings using their sensory systems through messy tactile play, pushing the limits on climbing, twirling, swinging, or coloring outside the lines. As writers, we need to stay in tune with our inner child by engaging all our senses in enjoyable activities. Those sensory experiences turn into words on the page. A writer whose senses are fully engaged and regularly fed has a bottomless well of words and sensory memories to weave into stories. With these thoughts in mind, I’ve developed a list of gift ideas every writer needs to tickle their senses and rejuvenate their writing. 

We all learned in elementary school that there are five senses: vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. However, there are seven. Proprioception and vestibular are the two senses most have never heard of. Both are important in ways you never realized. Each sensory system needs stimulation to keep you happy and your inner child ready to write.

The Sensory Systems and Gift Ideas for Each

1. Vision: Writers describe what they see, so give them pretty things.
  • Books. Buy an e-reader or a year's subscription or a gift certificate to a book store. 
  • Flowers, gardening, painting, or photography. Purchase gift certificates, classes, or equipment that allows your writer to enjoy their favorites or explore new hobbies. 
  • Professional headshots and social media graphics. Buy a subscription to Canva Pro, hire a creative design assistant, or pay for a professional photographer. 
2. Hearing: Writers write what they hear, but certain sounds block creativity. 
  • Subscriptions to music streaming services or satellite radio. These offer a wide variety to get your writer in the mood to create. 
  • Noise-cancelling headphones. Writers need to block out distractions, such as the neighbor’s car alarm.
  • A writer’s retreat. Does your writer need to get away from distractions and meet deadlines?
3. Smell: Did you know that our sense of smell is the first sense to develop after birth? 
  • Candles, bath salts, or essential oils. Certain scents, like lavender, relax and allow our brains to roam and imagine.
  • Favorite perfumes or colognes. Writers must leave the house at some point.
  • Cook a meal. Every writer would love smelling a simmering pot roast while polishing off their masterpiece.
4. Touch: The somatosensory (touch) system is our body's most extensive sensory system and the first sensory system to develop in the womb. 
  • A gift certificate for a massage, mani-pedi, or facial. These are ideal for the writer who loves such indulgences.
  • Warm, soft blankets, sweaters, socks, or stretch pants. Keep your writer cozy and comfortable.
  • A creative play date to explore pottery, gardening, or painting. Many creatives love getting their hands messy. 
5. Taste: Here are some ideas if your writer loves to eat while writing. 
  • Hard candies or chocolates. Sucking on a sour apple Jolly Rancher® wakes up my creative mind.
  • Coffees and teas. Buy a year’s worth of your writer’s favorite or a gift card to their favorite coffee shop where they can sip something tasty while writing.
  • Ice cream. Buy a gift certificate to their favorite ice cream shop so they can celebrate a book deal or grieve another rejection.
6. Vestibular: This system helps you balance and orient in space while you sit, stand, and walk. Many of us need movement to generate creative energy.
  • A good pair of walking shoes. Walking is an ideal activity for writers.
  • Rocking chairs or porch swings. The back-and-forth motion captivates the imagination. 
  • Tickets for adventure. If your writer is a speed junkie, buy tickets for an amusement park, zipline adventure, parasail ride, or whitewater rafting trip. 
7. Proprioception: This system informs you of your body’s position and the force needed to complete an activity. Activities that involve strenuous big body movements activate our proprioception.
  • Membership at a gym or indoor swimming pool. Exercise that involves the entire body improves breathing and circulation, and decreases the pain caused by inactivity and muscle stiffness. Pain and inactivity diminish creativity.
  • Adjustable height desk. Standing minimizes drowsiness and low back pain and keeps the creative juices flowing. For more on preventing back pain, see my previous post: Tips to Keep Your Writer’s Back Healthy.
  • A cooking class. Chopping vegetables, kneading dough, pounding meat, and stirring soup stimulate the proprioceptive system. Writers need to pound something other than the keyboard in order to relax and find a new idea. 
All writers need a balanced sensory diet. 

While some prefer sedentary activities and others feel the need for speed, engaging all our senses produces richer writing. Whichever your writer enjoys, I hope this list tickles your imagination. God did a masterful job wiring our bodies with seven sensory systems to fully explore His creation. The best gift for the writer in your life is the gift of experiences that tickle their creative child because your writer will turn that play into words that God will use. 

What do you want for Christmas?


Ginny Cruz, MPA, PT is a pediatric physical therapist, early intervention specialist, and award-winning author. Her writing encourages and teaches moms simple and effective ways to help their baby meet developmental milestones. In addition to writing, she enjoys hiking, reading, and camping with her husband. Find out more at ginnycruz.com, Instagram, or Facebook.


  1. What a great list of suggestions! (Chocolate is always welcome in my office.) :)

  2. Love these ideas! But I'll skip the zipline and exchange it for quiet water kayaking.

    1. I'll skip the zipline too! I'm definitely a slow-as-you-go adventurer.

  3. What a wonderful collection of ideas with good reasons for giving them!

  4. Wow, that's a great list, and maybe not only for writers. Thanks