My Top Tips for ADHD-Friendly Gifts: Part 1

Sick of seeing your carefully selected presents gather dust in a corner or disappear from sight altogether? In this series of posts I am going to recommend some gifts that I would love to receive in my stocking. Unless otherwise stated I am not necessarily recommending particular products or brands, rather items that meet certain ADHD-friendly criteria. Obviously, we are all different and not everyone has the same needs but here are some basic principles that apply to me:

Guilt is not a good gift
Clothes that require dry-cleaning (or even ironing) or other items that require a lot of upkeep mean more work for our brains and we are unlikely to use them. They will, however, take up residence in our homes, staring at us reproachfully for months. Why would you do that to us?

We probably don’t have any batteries
Or if they do they are unlikely to be the right ones.

Parts and accessories will get lost
Immediately. If they’re not too expensive you might want to include a few replacements (we might not get around to ordering them).

Think multifunctionality
Products that serve more than one function help to reduce clutter and cut down on the number of items we have to remember, thus easing stress on our executive function. Think all-in-one beauty products, swiss army knives, that kind of thing.

Easy-to-access items such as bottles with flip-top lids or bags with large zips (or even velcro) are a good choice for the butter-fingered among us.

At-a-glance visibility is a big time-saver too. Something like this hanging transparent cosmetics bag is a much better option than an opaque alternative.

Think about how your gift makes the recipient feel. I loathe restrictive clothing. The mere sight of these high-necked pyjamas with cuffed hems makes me shudder and hell will freeze over before I agree to be imprisoned in a onesie.

Give the gift of colour (and calm). Avoid black where possible, particularly when buying electronic devices which we tend to be the grab as we are rushing out of the door. Making them easy to identify could shave valuable minutes off our daily dash.

Avoid gifts that are fiddly or have small parts since the recipient may struggle with hand-eye coordination or simply find them frustrating to use.

Share experiences, not life admin. ADHD brains are wired for novelty, adrenaline and learning. Cocktail-making classes and rally-driving are great options whilst activities like paint-balling might appeal to an ADHDer’s hunter instincts. But choice is over-rated. We struggle with making decisions and the voucher might expire before we get around to booking it. To avoid the poisoned chalice of extra life admin why not agree a date in advance and book it yourself? Booking directly with a local business means more money goes into their pocket so you can feel virtuous as well.

Heal their creativity scars
Art has been shown to relieve stress and promote focus. Working with wet clay activates the part the brain responsible for reasoning, executive functioning, and complex memory. These ceramic workshops for beginners will be a big hit with animal-lovers in particular. Brene Brown has shown that creativity is essential for wellbeing but many of us avoid it due to negative childhood experiences. I don’t have an artistic bone in my body but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and am very proud of my ceramic cat!

The grumpy cat I made with the help of Richard at Twisted Earth Ceramics

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