Happy Monday! I hope wherever you are, the weather this weekend was as beautiful there as it was here. In honor of my birthday at the end of the month, I wanted to do a post where I shared some of my favorite gifts that I've given to friends and family over the years for various occasions! I absolutely love spending time picking out the perfect present for someone, and I might love wrapping them even more. I've also been known to stock-pile gifts-- when I come across something that would be perfect for someone, I buy it and then put it away for the next special occasion. So here are a few of my favorite presents that I've given in the past-- hopefully it'll provide some inspiration for the next birthday or celebration you're buying for!
I'm a big fan of picking out a fun print that is meaningful to the person I'm giving it to for one reason or another. One caveat with this, though, is that I try not to buy something that is too cumbersome in case the person doesn't have a place to put it, or it doesn't really go with their decor. So I try to buy on the smaller side and have it be somewhat neutral. A few recent examples and some of my favorite artists to buy from:
For Christmas this year, I gave my friend Sarah a print from Rifle Paper Co. (big surprise there.... seriously, when are they going to sponsor this blog??) from their collection that illustrates different destinations. She and her boyfriend had taken an unforgettable trip to Morocco earlier that year, so I thought this 8x10 print would be perfect for her office or at home. I went to Michael's and picked out a nice neutral frame, and voila! A unique and personalized gift.
This next example was a gift for my sister last Christmas because the upcoming New Year included travel to China and Europe for Kelly. I have two of my own Holly Nichols' illustrations hanging in my office, and I knew I wanted to get one for my sister. As a special way to mark all of the travel she was about to embark on, I picked this print that looks an awful lot like her! I also paired it with a Kate Spade passport holder-- I'm a big fan of a themed gift! Kelly keeps this framed illustration on her dresser.
Holly has so many unique illustrations in her Etsy shop so you're almost guaranteed to find one that would be a perfect fit for someone in your life. She's also local to the Boston area, so I love to support her business!
Ok, one more example. Les's sister Emily recently moved from Houston to Philadelphia for work and, while she was thrilled about her adventure in a new city, I knew she was going to miss the home she had made in Houston. So for Christmas, right before her move, Les and I picked out these two city map prints from Evelyn Henson.
We thought they would make a really nice set to hang in her new apartment! And, Evelyn has so many cities represented in her illustrations, that if she ever moves again Emily could add to her gallery! I've bought other illustrations, as well as cards, from Evelyn's site before, too. Her work is so different and memorable!
Personalized Present from Marley Lilly
I don't love my initials on everything (although I have a feeling that will change soon when I'm ready to debut my new married monogram!!), but there are a few things that I think look really nice when personalized. One of my favorite sites to shop for personalized gifts on is Marley Lilly. They have really cute monogram options on everything from clothing to shoes to accessories. Last Christmas, Les and I gave his mom a sweater and necklace with her monogram-- I loved both pieces so much that I almost bought them for myself! The necklace we gave her isn't on the site anymore, but it was similar to the one pictured here. Definitely spend some time looking through their site-- they have great sales and often free gifts with purchase!
Kiel James Patrick Designs
I actually don't gift jewelry all that frequently because I don't wear a ton myself, but again, sometimes you see something and you immediately think of the perfect person to gift it to! That was the case with Les's mom's birthday present this year-- this bracelet from Kiel James Patrick.
I knew she would love the painted oar look of the bracelet because Les was on the rowing team in college, and she loves all things sea-related! I thought it was worth sharing because the site it came from, Kiel James Patrick, has some really unique and special gifts. I love finding a place that doesn't have things that everyone has seen over and over again.
Chatbooks Photo Book
I shared Chatbooks before on one of my Friday Favorites, but it truly is one of my favorite gifts to give. As far as photo books go, I prefer Chatbooks to others that I've played around with before. I made one for Les and I following our trip to Europe last summer, and then gifted the same book to my parents, as well as my grandparents. I also have one on its way to me as we speak of our engagement photos! I love that you can include captions and dates on the photos, or keep it simple and let the photos speak for themselves (which is what I like to do). There are also a ton of covers to choose from, or you can use one of your own pictures as the cover. At a little over $30 (depending on how many pages you include in your book), I think it's a really great price for the quality of the gift!
I've done this gift twice before-- once for my sister's college graduation when I "adopted" her a penguin, and the again for mine and Les's fifth year anniversary a few years ago when I adopted a rhino in his honor. Les and I are both really passionate about rhino conservation, so I thought it would be something really special to do in his name to celebrate five years of loving him! When I adopted a penguin for Kelly, I did it through the World Wildlife Foundation, but when I adopted the rhino for Les, I went through a more grassroots organization called Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, located in South Africa. Among other animals, they rescue and rehabilitate rhinos that have been orphaned, usually due to poaching. The rhino I adopted for Les is named Balu and he was brought to the Centre at only two weeks old.
It's been really, really cool to follow along with Balu's progress on the HESC blog as he has grown up and gotten stronger, and became best pals with another rhino named Stompie. Along with the certificate of adoption that the organization emailed me, I also made this little card, that we later framed, telling Balu's story. I think this type of act of giving can be really meaningful and thoughtful, and I know it's one of Les's favorite presents that I've ever given him.
Something else I love to gift, particularly to Les, is an experience or weekend away. For his birthday one year, I booked a hotel in NYC and took him to one of those heavy machinery theme parks in New Jersey where he got to operate an excavator and a few other machines. So cool.
And for Christmas a few years back, I booked us a night at a B&B and got lift tickets to Mt. Sunapee! There's something really fun about surprising someone with a gift like that and then the anticipation that builds between telling them they're going on a trip and then actually going. It keeps the celebration going, and creates some of the best memories. Whenever I give a gift like that, I always use Canva to make a nice card to commemorate and present the gift.
Ok, here's one more and a fun throwback. For Les's 21st birthday, I bought him a cooler and filled it with 21 things I knew he would love! 1 Guinness Pint Glass, 1 Homemade Banana Cream Pie, 1 Hershey's Cookies n' Cream Bar, 2 Cigars, 1 Shot Glass, 6 pack of Guinness, 1 Gift Card for Art of Shaving, 1 Pair of Rhino Boxers, 2 Ford T-shirts, 1 Grill Set, 1 Certificate to go Off-Roading, 2 Rhino-grip Tarp Clips, and 1 Gift Certificate toward a Back Rack for his truck. While this worked really well for his 21st (because every newly minted 21 year-old needs a cooler for his beer!), I think it could work well for any birthday or graduation. It was really fun to put together and think up all of the items! P.S. How cute are 21 and 20 year old Les and Lisa?
Hopefully this gives you a little gift inspiration, whether you never know what to buy or you LOVE the perfect present hunt like me. :) It's only natural that I follow this post with favorite gifts I've ever received... so stay tuned for that! I LOVE BIRTHDAY MONTH!