Christmas is fast-approaching and it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, so we thought we’d make this year’s Christmas gifting a little easier.
Most families or friendship circles have an avid or aspiring storyteller, so we’ve come up with a list of 11 things that any storyteller would like to receive this festive season.
1. Story Cubes
Story Cubes is a great little game or activity that can get the creative juices flowing. It simply contains nine cubes, much like dice but instead of numbers there are pictures. You give them a shake, and whatever images fall before you become the cues for your story.
The cubes are designed to make you think in new ways, and originally came about as a tool for adults to improve their problem-solving skills. It’s great for a rainy day in, or if your family and friends are particularly inclined towards games.
Story Cubes cost about $15 in Australia, and you can find them at your local Australian Geographic store or purchase it online.
2. A suave notebook
Storytellers collect their stories in a variety of ways. For those who prefer to use the traditional method of pen and paper, a Moleskine notebook can make their experience of collating stories all the more magical.
Moleskine is a premium brand that produces the ‘legendary notebook’, a small, rectangular notebook that was used by many famous artists and writers such as Ernest Hemingway. Mark has a couple of Moleskine notebooks which he showed me. The softcover is supple, and the pages are creamy and durable. You can find Moleskine dealers here or purchase their products online from a number of websites.
Both Shawn and I have notebooks made by Leuchtturm, a company established almost a century ago to create high-quality stationery. They’re all about quality, and you can tell it’s true when you hold one in your hands. However, they’re not quite as refined as Mark’s Moleskine notebooks. There’s a number of dealers spread throughout Australia, otherwise you can purchase their products online from one of their dealers.
3. Putting Stories to Work
This year, Shawn put his wealth of knowledge to paper and shared it with the world in his book, ‘Putting Stories to Work’. We can highly recommend it as a stocking filler. Purchase it from Amazon or Anecdote here.
4. IDEO Method Cards
IDEO cards were developed to inspire people to engage with their creative processes. The cards incite deeper conversations within teams and provide fun, new ways to improve your design processes. And if you flip them over and look at the images they are great for triggering stories.
There’s a print version available exclusively from William Stout Architectural Books in America. Shipping is $30, so if you’re interested in using your money more wisely you can purchase the storyteller in your life an iTunes gift card to use for the IDEO Method cards app.
For storytellers that are savvy with technology, Evernote is a great way to collect their anecdotes. It’s an easy way to keep track using folders, tags and other organisational tools. It can also be synced across all their smart-devices so that it’s always with them.
As Evernote is an app, the best way to gift this idea would be through an iTunes gift card. They have a range of great services and products, which you can find here.
6. The Zoom H6
This audio recorder is for the hard-core storyteller that wants to hear their voice play back with crystal clear authenticity so that they can fine-tune their art of storytelling. Shawn owns one, and proudly pulled the sleek black and compact case out to show me what it looks like.
Now, because it is such great quality, it does come at a bit of a cost. You can pick one up from a local distributor, and the general price range for this product is $500-800.
7. Olympus VN
We understand that the Zoom is pretty high-end, so for someone that isn’t that concerned about the quality of the recordings, the Olympus VN is an affordable and handy option. Reviews are great, and it has been recommended for first time users – perfect for someone just starting their storytelling journey.
You can purchase one from Best Buys for $35.
8. Secrets board game
Secrets will get the family gathering or party off to a great start. Put simply, each person takes a turn using a cue to tell a true story or make one up. They then have to convince the other players that it’s a true story, and the other players have to guess if it’s true or false correctly to win points. A ‘vintage’ game that was designed in the 1980’s, it will definitely appease anyone who enjoys telling or listening to stories. You can purchase it from Etsy here.
The storyteller in your life probably has an abundance of stories you haven’t heard yet. Getting them a bottle of wine could pave the way to a night of laughs at Christmas and unlock their natural gift for capturing a room’s attention with raw storytelling.
Did you know that Yarra Yering’s Sarah Crowe won the Australian winemaker of the year? Many of their wines also earned 96-99 points for the Halliday Wine Companion 2017. There’s also an interesting story behind the location and founder of the winery, which you can explore on their website. Not a bad place to start.
10. Be their story-listener
What’s a storyteller without an audience? Storytellers need people to listen to their stories. It’s how they become better. They notice when you laugh harder, when you cover your mouth in shock and when you’re quiet with anticipation.
Telling your storyteller that you’ll be their listener is one of the best gifts you can give them this Christmas. You can even ask them some story-eliciting questions.
11. A great pen
Much like Shawn, your storyteller might have a great love for stationery. Something as simple as a good pen to go with their notebook could really tie a present together for the perfect story-recording combination. Shawn’s been using the Pilot Hi-tecpoint, which writes smoothly and also has a touch of traditional fountain pens – you can buy ink cartridges to refill them. He gets his from here, however you can find a place that sells them in Australia on the Pilot website.
I’ve been using a Uni-ball Signo UN-120. What I love about it is that it’s a gel pen, but as soon as the ink hits the page it’s dry and doesn’t smudge, which is perfect for any left-handed storyteller. It’s the first pen I used until it ran out. You can buy a box of 12 here or purchase one from your local Officeworks or stationery shop.
12. This American Life
We lied! We’ve added an extra gift because we like to over-deliver at Anecdote. This podcast (which is full of great stories) is free, so if you’d like to spread the Christmas cheer you can recommend it to your storytelling friend or family member to enjoy.
Shawn likes it because:
Each episode is a series of stories, orchestrated by a master storyteller, Ira Glass. It gives great examples of storytelling, and it’s oral too because it’s a podcast.
Let us know if this list helped, or better yet, tweet us a photo of your storyteller receiving their gift at @anecdote
About Shelley Fenech
Shelley is a recent Strategic Communication graduate and assists with all things communication. She helps to progress our purpose to help restore humanity to organisations by telling our story through marketing and social media. She also supports our global Partner network in their quest to bring storytelling into business.