It’s the most… I dunno, festive time of the year? I won’t call it wonderful, because it’s been a hard year for so many of us, but that makes me all the more excited for gift-giving this year. Frankly, we could all use a little cheer.
If you didn’t know already, I live in a house of ADHDers. Not only do I myself have this disorder, but the two people that I share a home with — my partner and their boyfriend — both have it, too (this makes getting chores done quite an interesting challenge). We are a small but mighty focus group for all of the products you’ll see listed here.
Rest assured, these are all tried and true.
None of the links you see here are Amazon links, as I try to support small businesses and indie creators directly. Any of the books you see listed will link you to Bookshop, which supports local shops in your area, while throwing a couple dollars my way, too! As always, you can find alternative places to purchase these items — my goal was to support communities and creators as directly as I can.
Without further ado, here are 2020’s recommendations for the best gifts for ADHD brains.
Stocking Stuffers and Small Joys
To kick things off, I’d like to introduce you to the best bookmarks money can buy. Why? Because not only are they wonderfully sturdy bookmarks, but they include a section to take notes as you go. This helps inattentive brains stay engaged as they read, which is perfect for students or anyone who likes to jot down their brilliant ideas and favorite quotes. As someone who literally couldn’t focus long enough to read a paragraph, these were a game-changer for me. Find these “Smartmarks” at Best Self Co., with a 3-pack going for about $9.99.
The Perfect Memo Pad
Memo pads are the underrated stocking stuffer that everyone should get on board with. If you’re not familiar with DubuDumo’s Habit Trackers on Etsy, it’s time to familiarize yourself! DubuDumo offers a huge variety of memo pads, including this tracker for drinking water, this 35-day habit tracker, and this collection of 24 different types of (paper-based) productivity tools. Find these on Etsy, ranging in price from about $4-5 USD plus shipping.
You Get a Fidget Toy, and YOU!
My personal favorite fidget toy is this “Peas in a Pod” fidget keychain on Etsy and this 3D-printed Octopus fidget toy. My personal rule is that a fidget toy has to be cute AND functional, but if you want something that will possibly scar you for life, there’s this blobfish stress ball that still makes me laugh every time I see it. Find these on Etsy, ranging from a few bucks to $18 for the blobfish.
For Your Library
The “Holy Trinity” of ADHD Self-Help
There are so many books about ADHD on the market, and it’s hard to discern which ones are legitimately useful and which ones work better as doorstops. I’ve read… more than I can count, which is a tremendous feat, because reading is pretty difficult for my brain (thanks, Smartmarks!). The three books that I consider essential reading are “ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life,” “Brain Hacks: Life-Changing Strategies to Improve Executive Functioning,” and for the messiest among us, “Organizing Solutions For People With ADHD.”
The first will help you manage your adult life with more ease, the second will give you strategies for improved productivity, and the third will help you get your house in order.
A content note for those who go on to read these: These books may include moralizing of food, as many ADHD books do, particularly around sugar. Allow me to remind you that sugar doesn’t “cause” ADHD, and nourishing yourself consistently will only improve your ADHD symptoms, not worsen them.
For Brains That Need Structure
No, I Refuse To Shut Up About My Bullet Journal
Did you know that the Bullet Journal method was created by someone who has ADHD? That’s likely why so many of us rave about it! The system is designed to help organize and index information we encounter on a daily basis, and use it to plan our days, weeks, months — heck, our whole future if we want! — with more ease and flow. They’ve just released the official Bullet Journal 2.0 today, so if you aren’t sure how to get started, the Bujo shop has everything you or your loved one needs to get into it.
The Anti-Procrastination Tool
This nifty dry-erase tool will walk you through your most intense, anxiety-provoking moments of procrastination. Using a flowchart, you’ll uncover the underlying fears that drive your procrastination, and find solutions to approach — rather than avoid — your anxiety. The Anti-Procrastination Board is on Etsy for $20.00, while there are digital downloads of it available for just $5.
Your (Cute And Super Functional) Daily Notepad
I have recommended this to many of my coaching clients, who continue to rave about it. This Day Planner Notepad from Abbie Ren Illustration is a fun tool to organize your day, including sections for “people to email,” a daily affirmation, meal planning, AND, of course, your top priorities. You can get the notepad, which has 50 sheets total, for $13.00 on Etsy.
Go Big or Go Home: Pay in Cash
I will make this recommendation until the end of time… people with ADHD benefit so much from professional coaching. If you’re looking to give a loved one with ADHD the best gift ever, pay them in cash and encourage them to connect with a coach!
I personally offer ADHD and resiliency coaching, but I can also enthusiastically recommend René Brooks of Black Girl, Lost Keys, Sandra Coral of The ADHD Good Life, and Jak of Authentically ADHD. Coaching is all about finding the right fit for you, which may or may not be me or the folks listed here! The important thing is to shop around and see who you connect with.
Here’s Hoping This Season is Good to You!
Or at the very least, that we all survive it, head and (dare I say?) shoulders above water.
If you’ve got recommendations that I haven’t included here, I’d love for you to share them in the comments. With our combined brainpower, we’re sure to compile a rather… creative… list of gifts.
Sam Dylan Finch is a resiliency coach, writer, and media strategist based in Portland, Oregon. He’s the blogger behind Let’s Queer Things Up!, a columnist at Healthline.com, and the Social Media Manager for PsychCentral.com. You can say hello on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or learn more at SamDylanFinch.com.