Monday, January 4, 2016

5 Personal Gifts

Being that Christmas is my favorite time of year, I tend to get a bit wrapped up (pun intended) in the season and that applies to everything, even gifts for Family and friends. I spend a lot of time thinking about personal items that apply to each person based on their interests what's going on in their lives, their current hobbies, etc. My husband says I put a lot of my pressure on myself to find the "perfect gift," but I enjoy the process and to me, it's a way to let everyone know how important they are and how we much we appreciate having them in our lives.

Here are a few of my favorite gifts we gave this year...great ideas for any future occasion! 

1. Handwriting Gift

As I mentioned earlier, we lost my Grandmother in June and as time goes on, it continues to sink in that we won't see her name on the caller ID or tell a funny story about something she did last week. Every "first" without her is difficult, especially for her kids (my Dad and Aunt) so I wanted to do anything I could to make this Christmas extra special for them. Grandma was a big fan of hand-written notes…after all, it’s really all she ever knew and it always made us happy to get “real” mail. 

With the help of my cousin, I was able to secure a birthday card from Grandma to my Aunt with a very sentimental message, signed in her famous signature which was perfect for my plan: I had always seen how you can memorialize someone’s handwriting on different items (necklace, bracelet, key chain, etc.) so with the help of Jody from Fabric Modern on Etsy, I was able to take one of the best parts of Grandma’s card and have it embroidered on a cozy pillow. It turned out even better than I imagined, just as if she had written it herself and I think this will be a great reminder of Mom for my Aunt, something she can look at on a daily basis and remember how much she was loved by her.

2. Home Ornament

Lisa and my brother are looking to sell their house next year which is actually the house my Dad & Aunt grew up in, so it has been an important place to all of us for many reasons. For most of my childhood, it was Grandma’s house where we ate Easter Dinner and had rolling chair races in the garage. Once she moved to a smaller living space, it was really special that we got to keep it in the Family by having my brother start his own there. 

While it’s time for them to take the next step, we will all miss the memories of the house so my very sweet cousin ALSO worked with another talented Etsy owner to create personalized ornaments which are exact replicas of the house. Down to the mailbox and the detailed landscaping, she got everything exactly right. This is great for someone who has everything and it also makes the PERFECT moving gift. 

(I have blocked out the address...just for creepers sake!)

3. Library Honor 

Another way I chose to honor Grandma this year was through the gift of reading - She was the biggest bookworm I knew, devouring books like candy, sometimes making it through more than one a day. She read more than anyone I know, some new, but mostly her old time favorites that brought her back to the best time in her life. She also worked at a library for 10 years so I could think of nothing more important to her...With that in mind, I worked with our local library to make her an "honor book recipient," which is a way to remember a loved one by sponsoring a select item in their collection. I chose 2 of her favorites: Little Women and Gone with the Wind, which now each have a bookplate inside with her beautiful name. 

4. Photo Canvas

I think photo gifts are always a great choice because it’s something that people can keep forever as opposed to a one-time use item like a gift card (though those are always appreciated as well!) We recently had a family portrait session done (by Loren Weddings, check them out…so wonderful to work with) and while my parents have a lot of photos of the whole family around the house, there aren’t many of the two of them so I figured it was time to change that. I worked with EasyCanvas Prints who does a beautiful job and always has great deals! 

5. Shop Local

This year, I did a lot of shopping our local downtown area which is filled with small boutiques and Mom&Pop shops owned by hard working entrepreneurs. I could spend hours in these stores (which I pretty much did) looking at unique items such as hand-carved signs, rare accessories, delicate jewelry and charming tea's. Not only do these stores carry items you won't find anywhere else but you can feel the sense of community while you're browsing. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm a BIG fan of Amazon Prime and it's magical shipping ways but on the other hand, it was really nice to spend some time hand-selecting gifts for my Family and friends. And P.S. they wrapped my gifts and everything which I MAY have taken credit for ;)

What was the most memorable gift you gave/received this year?