'Tis Better to Give: My Top Gift Ideas for 2010

This Christmas I did a lot of shopping online. I wanted to give truly thoughtful gifts to people so I actually started my shopping early, and am pretty pleased with the results. My goals for holiday shopping this year were:

1. Stay cost-conscious, and;
2. Surprise the person receiving the gift with something they weren't expecting.

Here are my favorites from this year:
This is my 21st century version of putting a great picture in a frame as a gift (and who doesn't love that?). If you're a Mac user, you can do this from your own computer; if not, you can still use great services like Shutterfly to do something very similar.

I did a lot of creating via iPhoto. I am "that girl" with a camera and as a result have over 8,000 photos in my library. I have so many great shots that there's too many to frame, so I decided to do the next best thing. Books can be made hardcover, softcover, or bound. I chose hardcover, with 25 pages, which totaled about $30 with shipping. I create it, then click "buy," and just wait for my new publication in the mail!

I made a book, like this, for my boyfriend. It chronicles our relationship and includes inside jokes at the bottom-- a little high-school yearbook, I know, but the template is so classy it helps out a bit. (And, um, no. He doesn't visit my blog. Ever.)

And a calendar for my Dad. It had a "pets" theme because our  elderly corgi passed away this year and I wanted to memorialize him and all our other critters in a way that would make my dad smile. Every month has a quote at the bottom related to dogs. This was about $25 to create and purchase.

Ah, Etsy. How do I love thee? This is where the real shopping occurred. And I have been so happy with what I found. The sellers have all been amazing, everything arrived just days after purchasing and many of the sellers contacted me directly to customize my order to just my specifications.

One good way to start is with the  "Pounce" feature:

You can find vintage items-- like these antique cardinal bookends I found from a little store in Oregon for my aunt, for $20. This seller is BDVintage, and their shop had all kinds of great, eclectic finds. 
And of course, there's always great handmade jewelry. As featured in my previous post, this talented girl just opened her store and I've ordered from her twice! She even included cute little gift tags for me as a thank you, which I thought was a great touch. Thank you to seller studioro!

Speaking of jewelry, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my dog's new bling. Yes... dog. Bling.

Here's a modeling shot courtesy of my pup, Presley
My friends have gone crazy over his new "Call My People" Pet ID tag (he got to open it before Christmas). How can you not love that?! I just placed another order from this seller for gifts. Customized, beautiful, and under $20!  The Happy Chihuahua

There was literally something for everyone at Savor's shop. For $15, I got my mom and aunts some absolutely scrumptious handmade soap gift sets. They came packaged with a handmade soap holder and tied with a chic black bow:

This shop's owner is a total sweetheart who even refunds shipping if you pay more than the actual cost. Besides the great gift sets, Savor also offers whipped soaps (one is called Joie de Vivre!), creme scrubs in scents like Red Velvet Cake and Winter Grapefruit, and even has an unscented line for babies/sensitive skin. The hardest part about ordering here was choosing scents. (I should add here that, as a former Laura Mercier employee who was addicted to Creme Brulee products, these are better... and a fraction of the price.) 

At around $5 a bar, it's a great deal-- the soaps are lovely to look at, generous in size, and total indulgences!

Happy Shopping... and Merry Christmas!