Twelve Weeks of Christmas, Part 5: Personalized Gifts and Photo Gifts

***”Twelve weeks of what?”  Check out my previous posts here to learn what this madness is about.  And by madness, I mean goodness.

With this series, I have attempted to offer you tips and tricks to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to buying Christmas presents.  Personalized gifts and photo gifts are one of my favorite ways to do this! ( And I’m not just talking about monogrammed towels and photo mugs, though those are great too.)  :)

It may take a little imagination, but if you think outside the box in regards to this category, you can really come up with some great gifts that will be cherished by the recipient for years to come!   (Because that’s what we want… not more contributions to future garage sales….right?)

Keep in mind – you can probably make a lot of these things if you’re feeling particularly crafty.  However, it doesn’t hurt to window shop and get some inspiration.  So whether you’re browsing or buying, here are some suggestions that I’m a big fan of:

Personalized return address stamps

   Yeah, I know, most folks do e-billing and e-mails and e-life, but that doesn’t mean snail mail is dead.  And it never hurts to get in touch with our inner Emily Post and write a thank you note every once in a while.  If you do still cling to mailing in your checks to pay bills (“Hello mother!”), this is a faster way to get through that less than pleasant process.  The best (and cheapest) way to find these is through  Here are some of favorite designs found on Etsy (all under $30):

Yeah, I could keep going , but I’ll move on…

Personalized Beer Mugs  Need I say more?  These aren’t just for groomsmen! ($13.26)

In the same vein, I love personalized flask sets! ($15.95)

Photo Puzzle:  I’ll admit this one is a stretch (cheese factor).  However, if you’re like me, you like a good holiday scavenger hunt, and this would be a perfect way to reveal a clue !  (You can always do word docs instead of pics)  ($10.95)

Photo Posters:  I’m not a big fan of the poster part of this, however this is a great way to get a large reproduction of a photo at a cheaper price for the purposes of framing.  On this particular website, Discount Photogifts, you can get up to a 30″ X 40″ poster for $37.50 or as small as a 10″ X 13″ for $7.

Silhouette Gifts:  I think these are timeless and charming (and talk about personalized).  Here a re a few examples:

Remember:  You can always try your hand at making these!

Photo coasters:  You can use the same method from the DIY Tile Coaster Tutorial, using pictures of your own for the images.  As mentioned in the tutorial, these would cost a mere  to make versus $19.99  (which I just saw on Shutterfly’s website).  Just to remind you, here are the tile coasters from a few weeks ago :)

Aren’t they just asking for a wedding photo… or a picture of a toddler covered in spaghetti sauce… or something… ?

Of course, there are MANY personalized and photo gift options out there, some slightly tacky, some less GPP-friendly, some fantastic!  So I’ve pasted a few of the websites below, just to give you an idea.  Many of these I have used, others I have not but have heard great things.  These websites can be searched with a price range in mind (you know I like that) so there are options to fit all budgets:

1.  Shutterfly

2.  Snapfish

3.  Wal-Mart

4.  Personal

5.  Zazzle


7.  Target

8.  Ritz Pix

And of course, I love me a drug store… always full of surprises!

1.  CVS  

2.  Walgreen’s  

3.  Rite-Aid

4.  Duane Reade


Whew… that’s a lot of link action.  Remember: if it doesn’t fit your budget, figure out a way to make it!  These links are as good for buying as they are for window shopping and getting inspiration.

Question time:  Have you given a personalized or photo gift that you were particularly proud of?  Did you make it?  If not, what website/store did you use/buy it from?  

Please pass on any other ideas you may have for gifts like these!


Check out the previous posts in this series, “The Twelve Weeks of Christmas”:

Week One:  Online Shopping Tips and Tricks

Week Two:  DIY gift tutorial — How to Make a Bowl out of an Old Vinyl Record

Addendum to “How to Make a Bowl out of an Old Vinyl Record

Week Three: DIY gift tutorial — How to Make Coasters out of Tiles

Week Four:  Operation Christmas Child