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A Present Made Just for You

Nov 6, 2013

by Mallory McInnis handmade and vintage goods

Sometimes it can be enjoyable to wait until the last minute to shop — every year my mother, sister and I have a tradition of going out on Christmas Eve, even if we only get some mint M&Ms and a few stocking-stuffers. It’s fun! Everyone’s bustling about, merry music is blaring and the cold somehow feels festive instead of just plain freezing.

Still, trying to find the perfect gift for your grandmother is probably not what you want to be doing when Christmas is less than 24 hours away. There are times when it pays to plan ahead, especially when you’re buying something personalized.


[1. Illustrated couple portrait by Elisabeth McNail; 2. Couples portrait by memomoon; 3. Hand-painted wooden house by anamarko; 4. Home for the holidays custom illustration by Marisa Seguin; 5. Custom portrait by Katie Turner; 6. Miniature portrait by Evah Fan; 7. Family portrait illustration by My Little Buffalo.]

Etsy is the perfect place to purchase something custom made for one of your favorite people, but you need to give the creators time to, well, create it. A portrait of your brother and his boyfriend isn’t something that you can order on December 23rd. It takes time, but that makes the gift all the more special.


[1. Name plate by Ninainvorm; 2. Engraved cutting board by AHeirloom;  3. Brass letters by Gauge NYC; 4. Monogram recipe box by Mink Letterpress; 5. Coffee cup by Terry’s Pottery Shop; 6. Family recipe print by Emu Attacks; 7. Decorative wooden spoon by Jess Quinn Small Art; 8. Face plate by The Little Peach Print Company.]

I have a personalized mug and I use it 90% more than every other mug in the cupboard. Personalized things tend to take precedence; I feel vaguely official when I wear my personalized bathrobe. Laverne (from Laverne & Shirley) was on to something with her wardrobe full of monogrammed shirts and sweaters.


[1. Animal necklace by it must be nice to be a bird; 2. Portrait tote bag by Akane Ogura; 3. Handwoven beaded cuff by Peanut & Poe; 4. Morse code necklace by Betsy + Iya; 5. Under this moon cufflinks by gemagenta; 6. Design-ur-own manfriend by Nicola Rowlands; 7. Alphabet bag by Robert Ryan; 8. Forget-me-not heart necklace by Julie Nolan Jewelry; 9. Luggage tag by HarLex; 10. Wooden brooch by Sarah Julia Clark.]

Sometimes personalizing something is just prudent. During college I got stuck with a horrible roommate who used to steal my things (and then tried to claim that it was all for a psychology project). I only wish that my jewelry and bags had been monogrammed or personalized! I just went around writing on all my tags with permanent marker like a mother getting ready to send her kids to summer camp. If your children are trotting off to college any time soon, I hope they have kind roommates, but hey — if they don’t, no one will swipe your daughter’s bracelet if it has her name on it. Money well spent.


[1. Pet portrait by Jennifer Davis; 2. Porcelain pet dish by SYRK Tableware; 3. Leather collar by C. Johannesen Studio; 4. Gouache painting pet portrait by Fay Moorhouse; 5. Mini pet portrait by Sarah McNeil; 6. Dog paw cookie cutter by Name That Cookie; 7. Cat food dish by Sunshine Ceramics.]

Even if he isn’t actually capable of appreciating artwork, I still think that your dog would be proud to have his portrait hanging above your mantel. At the very least, he’d probably give the painting a sniff of approval.


[1. London street scene print by Ruka-Ruka; 2. Wooden dodo pull toy by Friendly Toys; 3. DIY embroidery on wood kit by Stedi; 4. Custom animal suit doll by Pink Cheeks Studio; 5. Triangle girl print by Lisa DeJohn; 6. Boat toddler puzzle by The Wandering Workshop; 7. Tiger notebook by nowvember; 8. Personalized children’s print by Cuddlefish Press.]

Look around and you’ll find something that can be personalized for every person in any age bracket on your gift list — whether its a customized doll for your niece or a mug with your aunt’s name on it. Who wouldn’t love something made just for them?

3 Featured Comments

  • valeriephoto

    Valerie from valeriestitchery said 6 years ago Featured

    Great selections. If you don't have time to make a lovely gift, a gift handmade by someone else is a close second. I have always prided myself on giving gifts that people didn't even know they wanted, but when they open it, it's perfect, like replacing something beloved and long lost. Etsy offers so many opportunities to find that perfect serendipitous gift.

  • WetDesert

    MJ Toops from WetDesertVintage said 6 years ago Featured

    I love the idea of buying someone a personalized gift. I have a mug with an outline of Michael Jackson on one side that says I Heart MJ in silver glitter letters on the other side. Obviously, it's my favorite...even if I bought it for myself :)

  • hadleyclay

    Hadley Sedgwick from hadleyclay said 6 years ago Featured

    Etsy is the best place to look for a personalized gift!! Honestly, it is my customers who come up with the best ideas that drive me in new directions. It’s not uncommon for me to receive requests for designs that are more creative than I could have ever imagined!


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