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Unexpected Gift Ideas on Etsy

Nov 21, 2014

by Shoko Wanger

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

There are certain holiday gifts whose reputations precede them. Sweaters knitted (albeit lovingly) with images of candy canes and reindeer have inspired an entire sub-genre of Christmas party. Children are taught from babyhood to fear the dreaded lump of coal. Fruitcakes are the butt of many a holiday joke…although it’s questionable whether most have tasted — or even seen — one in real life.

You, dear gift-giver, can do better than that. And you can also do much better than the merely ho-hum — if not outright maligned — gifts that seem to find their way into last-minute shopping carts year after year. To help you avoid the snare of the same-old, we’re sharing our favorite creative gift ideas on Etsy, from 3D-printed cookie cutters and tongue-in-cheek coloring books to herb-infused bath oils and an oven mitt with attitude. We dare anyone on the receiving end of these one-of-a-kind finds not to smile.

Teddy bears are so mainstream. This knitted meerkat (accompanied by a tiny foldable keyboard) is sure to be a hit with music makers of any size.

An ampersand cookie cutter in classic Helvetica makes a sweet gift for a typography-obsessed pal.

When you draw the office comedian’s name in the company gift exchange, turn to this, ahem, cheeky mug.

Who wouldn’t love the softest merino-and-cashmere goose for company in the cold?

Introduce a little one to the glories of ’90s pop — or appease the friend who never stops reliving the decade — with a star-studded coloring book celebrating everyone from Aaliyah to Alanis.

This faceted felt pillow is a cut above the standard squares. The design-blog fanatic in your life will swoon.

Reward your favorite wordsmith with custom candy letter tiles, made from pure vanilla and organic dark chocolate. (You can even eat the racks!)

Dolly devotees can let their love shine bright (for up to ten hours, at least) with this portrait-adorned votive.

For those who’ve earned a pat on the back (or a perpetual hug), a hand-printed scarf embellished with a smattering of stars.

This all-natural bath oil blends rosemary, thyme, spearmint, and almond oils for a tub-side indulgence that’s as beautiful as it is beneficial.

Different moons for different moods: this celestial set boasts not two, but four sterling-silver phases.

This little cube of chocolate-on-a-stick melts in hot milk to yield a warming winter treat.

Shakers are fine for ordinary salt, but foodie friends will want to serve the good stuff — be it Sriracha-spiked or Himalayan pink — in a snazzier dish, like this quirky porcelain one, which comes with a hand-hewn spoon.

Word on the street is that chefs are the new rock stars. Prove it with a screen-printed oven mitt that brings a dash of devil-may-care attitude to day-to-day dining.

“After 8 months of saving oddly shaped Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, I was finally able to create this unique piece of art,” writes shop owner Andy Huot, whose cheese curl take on the evolution of man will impress weird-art fans and open-minded anthropologists alike.

For the friend who always has her nose in a book, here’s a candle scented like a room full of them.

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