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‘Twas the Map Before Christmas


Holy holiday shopping batman! It’s that time already. There are some people that might be easy to shop for, but we all have someone on our list who is difficult. Here’s a whole-brained way to start working on them – Idea Map them.

Draw a central image that represents that person and start branching out everything you think of when you think of that person. Add in everything you think of without thinking about gift ideas yet; that comes later. Idea Map you can about that person. Give yourself multiple days to add to the map since you will think of more ideas over time. Each time you stop a mapping session, finish by drawing in four or five blank lines, this incompleteness will keep you thinking about it.

When you feel you have a really good map (you can never be “done”), it’s time to start adding to the map gift ideas. Add in all gift ideas that you think of without regard to costs as this can artificially limit your thinking. Add gift ideas to the ends of related branches in a different color. If an idea occurs to you in many different locations, write it in all those places and highlight it. An idea recurring may be significant. Allow yourself plenty of time (days or weeks) to add gift ideas.

During the gift ideation process you may also think of some other things about the person, make sure you also add those in. Eventually you’ll have a number of ideas – then you can start thinking about cost. If you really like an idea or two but they are out of your price range, come up with at least four (I just randomly picked that number) ideas that approximate the original but are more affordable.