• David Millay

Holiday Gift Guide for the Sports & Entertainment Professional

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

Christmas and Hanukkah are just around the corner. To help give you some gift ideas for your friends in the industry, we put together a list of our favorite gifts that will come in handy for someone who works in sports. Use it to find a last minute gift for a co-worker or someone on your team. Or if you're impossible to shop for, forward it along to your significant other. Just don't just shop it all for yourself.

This is a gift guide built for you, professionals in college athletics. We put in everything from our favorite productivity workbooks and our favorite protein bars, to our favorite work pants, our favorite silent alarm clocks, and our favorite tools to manage large groups of people. Happy Holidays!

Under $50

For the traveler- These two paired make a powerful tool to knock the heck out on early morning flights or super late ones. I’m all for doing work on the plane without the distraction of the internet, or for catching up on reading, but sometimes you just need to catch up on sleep. These both fit into a backpack or briefcase taking up virtually no space, and are incredibly useful even for the hotel room whose blinds don’t close all the way.

The size and style of these are what won me over. One of these notebooks can fit into a jacket or purse without adding any weight or buldge. Perfect for NACDA, National Sports Forum, or any other conference or meeting on the road. I do a lot of coffee meetings, and I hate carrying around a bulky notebook. These do the trick. And with so many designs to choose from, you can really let your personality shine.

Working in sports, it’s often weird hours and long days. It’s easy to get overworked and build up anxiety with your never-ending list of high-pressure things to do. I’ve found the simplicity of this journal makes it easy to get into the habit of journaling, and daily gratitude journaling has really helped me personally and professionally. In our business, there’s lots of ups and downs, and this journal has helped me remember what's most important in life.

Made by the same company as 5-Minute Journal, I swear by this journal when it comes to getting work done. There’s a never-ending amount of work to be done, so it’s easy to crush your day and still feel like you didn’t make a dent. This journal does two things to really help. For one, it makes you plan out your day with only a few key items to get done, with the top labeled as “If this was the only thing you did today you'd be satisfied." And you only get to move onto the next items if you knock the first item out first. The second thing it does centers around the pomodoro technique, which tracks your time increments in focused, 30-minute intervals. So if I write down the task is “write a blog post on Christmas gifts,” I would estimate it takes me 4 pomodoros (2 hours) to finish. It gives me time constraints and helps me get into flow and stay there. And at the end of the day, the journal helps me complete more work and feel more accomplished.

Big protein bar guy here. Especially on game day when nutritious food isn’t readily available, these things come in handy. I always have a couple in my backpack just in case. These are some of the healthiest, best tasting protein bars you can get, with 20g of protein, 1g of sugar, 9g of fiber… and they’re gluten free. My go-to flavor is Maple Glazed Doughnut. Legit tastes like Krispy Kreme without the guilt.

Again, our sports & entertainment industry can be hectic and stressful. One of the practices that has most helped me manage that stress is meditating. While some of you might think of meditating as too “woo-woo”, I was that person once. But once I tried it, I found it really helped me stay level through the highs and lows of the job. If you find yourself reacting to things quickly (in a negative way) as I used to, this can definitely come in handy as it’s taught me not to assign positive or negative judgement so frequently and just acknowledge them objectively.

Another paired gift for anyone who travels. I’ve found this incredibly simple pairing has a big impact on my work output when traveling. If you’re used to a set-up at your office with a mouse, then you travel and try to use the trackpad, it can create a small enough inconvenience that it can impact how much you enjoy working. And I’m all for anything that makes work more enjoyable.

This is, hands down, my most gifted gift. Who doesn’t love deception, finger-pointing, screaming and severing relationships with friends? If you work in sports & entertainment, chances are, you’re highly competitive. And if you’re highly competitive, this will be your absolute new favorite game. It’s basically a way more fun, organized version of Mafia (for any of you familiar with that party-game). Everyone is assigned a secret identity at the start of the game, and you’re either a good guy or a bad guy (Nazi’s). The catch is, the bad guys know who each other are, and the good guys have no idea who anyone is. So in a series of events that the game walks you through, the good guys try to figure out who the bad guys are. I’ve never experienced higher highs and lower lows in a board game. It’s the type of game where you’ll be questioning moves you made days later.

Sort of a bonus one here, but if you’re leading a team working on putting something together, whether it be an event or a new marketing campaign, highly suggest you check this out. It’s our go-to project management tool here at EngageMint, and we use it each and every day to manage our different projects around the country. The free-entry level tool is great, but if you want to get the upgraded business version, it’ll cost you $9.99 per month per user. A cost well-worth it.

Under $100

Great for taking conference calls on the go. You might look like a Wall Street dueche with this on, but I get way less background noise complaints wearing this than some of my other headphones. If you already have AirPods, that'll do. For everyone else, get one of these.

Have you ever put together a detailed presentation only to show up to a conference room that has no larger screen to present on? Fear not, Neat Projector is here. Honestly, that scenario is one of my biggest fears and it happens more than you probably realize. So Neat Projector makes an effective, pocket sized projector you can hook your laptop to and project your screen onto a nearby wall, up to 60 inches diagonally. The one we loved had a crazy Black Friday sale and sold out, but there are similar models that we haven't used listed on amazon like this one.

Not all of us can train with the team’s strength and conditioning coach. And we certainly all can’t afford a personal trainer. But Aaptiv gets you pretty close. For an annual subscription of $99 per year, you get unlimited access to tens of thousands of workouts. On your mobile app, select your workout-type preference (running, HIIT, yoga, etc.), your fitness level, your trainer and what type of music you like and your workout goals, and you can get a personal trainer in your ear for the day. This is huge for me when I’m somewhere new and don’t have access to my regular gym, whether it be with a client or at a conference. It even comes in handy when I’m crunched for time at home and just want to get in a 15-20 minute workout that’s still gonna kick my butt.

For those of you in events, do yourself and your team a favor and get one of these. This isn’t the exact model we use at Disney Parks and Resorts, but it’s similar. That version is hard to get and from overseas, but you all can use this. Whether it be for leading that 100-person pre-shift-meeting before a big game, or for managing crowds of fans, you’ll be wondering how you ever organized big groups of people before without this.

Under $150

To my ladies reading this, you’ve probably been wearing lululemon long before I have. If you’re a guy working in sports & entertainment and you’re not on lululemon yet, you can thank me later. My brother who played soccer for FC Cincinnati is a lululemon ambassador in Cincinnati, and he talked me into wearing my first pair. I was skeptical at first, but I'm glad I trusted him. And now I hate every other pair of pants in my closet. Imagine the most comfortable gym shorts you’ve ever worn, now imagine it’s acceptable to wear those to work every day. That’s what these are. If that’s not enough to convince you, take a look at a NFL sideline and most coaches will be wearing these. They’re not cheap, but they’ll be the most comfortable pair of pants in your closet.

I saved the weirdest gift on here for last. I’ve always been a big alarm-clock snoozer, but I also like to get my gym workout in, before going into the office. Now that I live with my girlfriend, she’s not a big fan of that alarm going off when I wake up earlier than her. So a friend of mine turned me onto this Pavlok device. It looks like a Fitbit or an Apple Watch, but it shocks you awake like an electric dog collar. I’ve got it set to silent mode, where it gives me a few warning vibrations and then starts electric-shocking my wrist every 15 seconds until I get out of bed. The only way to turn it off is to do 15 jumping jacks. It sounds insane, but my body literally hacks every single alarm I’ve ever tried. And sure, you can take this thing off and throw it across the room, but it’s going to keep vibrating until you give it the jumping jacks. It’s actually impossible to sleep in while wearing this thing.

Happy Holidays and Happy Gifting!

**As it pertains to any amazon.com links above, we're trying out the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Which basically means if you end up buying a product we love and are recommending, we get a small fee from amazon.


7325 Forestwood Court  

Orlando, FL 32835