Here are some ideas on how you can personalize your gifts this Christmas.  I will share some personalized gifts you can purchase and some DIY ideas if you have procrastinated and don't have enough time to order a personalized gift.  With Christmas being a week away, the best way to find unique and personalized gifts is shopping local and with small businesses.  You will bless the person you are gifting and the small business owners.

As you purchase your gifts this Christmas season, think of the person you are buying for.  Too often we buy gifts that we would like to receive.  Personalizing gifts does not have to be expensive or difficult.  Listen as those around you talk, people often mention their favorites and items they would not necessarily purchase for themselves.  In personalizing gifts it is not about the amount of money you spend, it is more about the thought that goes into the gift.  
Here are some questions you want to ask yourself.  
What is their favorite color?
What is their favorite scent?
Are they into baking or cooking?
What is their favorite food, candy or snack item?
Do they have a hobby or favorite sports team?  
These are all things that can help you get started in gifting a personalized gift. 

Take into account the way you wrap the gift, a simple yet thoughtful way to personalize a gift is in how you package it.  Using a special ornament as the gift tag or bow adds a personal touch.  You could make these DIY Photo Ornaments I made last year and use them as a gift tag, they make a beautiful ornament keepsake.  

Photo Gifts
My favorite way to personalize gifts is with photos.  Photo gifts are great for family near or far.  There are so many great options and different ways to go about it.  For years now I have made photo calendars for both sets of grandparents and my sisters-in-law.  One year I did not make them and they requested them.  I feel this is a gift that gives all year long.  I have also made photo mugs, journals and more.  I usually use Snapfish or Shutterfly.  You can often find coupon codes right on their website and on Groupon.  

If you have procrastinated too long to receive your gift in time, think outside the box.  You can still gift a calendar or planner and personalize it your own way.  Pencil in dates tailored to the person you are giving it to.  

For example for a spouse or significant other, plan out monthly date nights.  Schedule lunch, coffee date, pencil in a summer beach picnic date.  Include a nice note saying I love spending time with you and I am going to be intentional about our time together in the coming year. You could still order the photo calendar in addition and in the note, say your photo calendar is on its way.

A great way for a husband to personalize a calendar, plan something once a month for your wife to do and include a gift card or gift certificate for each month.  January, a gift certificate for a pedicure, February a gift certificate for a couples massage, March a gift card to her favorite restaurant, and so on.   Depending on your budget, again, it doesn't have to be expensive, schedule a night in front of the fireplace, where you cook dinner.  Plan on a day that you are going to take the kids to the park and let her stay home and enjoy a quiet bubble bath.  I feel a calendar is a better way to do this than the DIY coupons, only because I have received and given DIY coupons before and I find they get misplaced or unfortunately are out of sight, out of mind so go unfulfilled.  Hopefully, with a wall calendar, it will be more visual and followed through on. 

This would also work for a sibling or friend, pencil in coffee dates, play dates with the kids, in this fast-paced day we live in, I often hear, friends and family "meaning" to get together but not making it happen.  What a great gift to be intentional about spending time together.

A NEW photo gift that I am so excited about is personalized ties by 21Rhinos.com.  This would make a great gift for the men in your life.  The ties are great quality and come in a variety of styles and colors.  These ties can be personalized with their favorite quote, photo and more.  This is a great way to surprise someone you care about with a fashionable tie that also has personal meaning.  When someone wears this tie, it is a reminder of your love for them and also inspires them to greatness. 21 Rhinos provides the tie and you provide the image that makes it special.  They have a great turn around of 2-3 business days as well!  I have not seen any ties like these, most photo ties I've seen, I don't think my husband would wear to the office.  These ties by 21Rhinos, the men in your life will be happy to wear!

Recordable Storybooks
If you are a grandparent, please purchase your grandkids a recordable storybook.  This is one of my all-time favorite gifts my children have received.  Having your grandparents' voice recorded reading you a story is priceless.  It has been a while since we received our books, they were purchased locally at Family Books and Gifts.  If you are not in the area, I have seen them online at Hallmark, Walmart, Amazon, and Kohls.  

If you have run out of time to purchase a recordable storybook, a great way to DIY one is to purchase a kids storybook and make your own audio recording, that you can send along with the book.  In this digital age, so many kids have tablets and phones, they can download you reading the story to them on their devices.  You could also make a video of you reading the story and e-mail it with a special note, not to watch until your package is received, or put a note with the book, saying let me know once you receive your book, a special email goes with it.  

Shop Local
Shop local and family-owned businesses when you can.  You can often find unique and one of a kind gifts at small shops and local businesses.  Many times they can personalize a gift quickly I know my favorite local book and gift shop Family Books & Gifts does imprints and custom gift baskets.  You can have a name imprinted on leather journals, planners, wallets, Bibles and more.  I had this journal personalized and love the way it turned out.  Family Books and Gifts is located at 6349 Watt Avenue, North Highlands, CA 95660.

Maybe you are not a DIY, Pinterest person, let others who have that gift do it for you!  I love this beautifully handcrafted wreath made by the IslandTwins.  You can find them on Facebook @2IslandTwins.  They can personalize a wreath like this for you and really just about anything, message them!  They can make great gifts for your friends and family who don't love to do those Pinterest crafts or those who just don't have the time.  My Pinterest challenged friends are always super grateful, to receive personalized handmade gifts.

You can find unique handcrafted gifts at places like Family Books and GiftsBlissMarketplace, local craft fairs and on Etsy.  I read something I love "when you support small business, you are supporting a dream," I love this great reminder. 

Gift Cards and Cash
You may be asking how do you personalize gift cards and cash.  I love giving and receiving gift cards but often hear people say gift cards are so impersonal.  They don't have to be!  For kids you could hide a gift card in a jar of legos, this makes it more personal and fun if they are into Legos.  You could gift a gift card for an experience for example to indoor skydiving or an annual pass to the local swim park and make a gift tag that says "For Building Memories".  If they are not into legos, place the gift card in a jar of their favorite candy or for girls hair clips, ties and scrunchies would be a great way to gift a gift card or cash. If you are doing the hair accessories, purchase them in their favorite color.    

Have you seen the popular 12-Days of Socks, that would be a great way to give gift cards or cash, place the cash or gift cards in the socks.  My boys would love Fortnite socks and my husband Star Wars socks, the socks filled with gift cards or cash would be a nice surprise.  

You could gift a restaurant gift card with a journal or notebook, and include a note that says enjoy some time out to dinner and jot down your goals and dreams in this notebook because your next year is going to be amazing, dream big! 

You could make a date night box, include a gift card to a restaurant, but also include a nice blanket, candle, a marriage book and a note saying here is a gift card for a date night out, and some things to encourage dating each other all year long, even if its at home after the kids are in bed.  

For a busy mom, you could gift cash, or a gift card and make a basket with her favorite lotions, bubble bath, and say I see how much you do for others, take some time for yourself, if it's a retail gift card, a note saying buy something nice for yourself.   These are simple ways to make that ordinary plain gift card into something meaningful and thoughtful.   

Handwritten Notes and Cards
Handwritten notes and cards are something I need to work on, but these small touches make a HUGE difference in the gift you are giving.  I was reminded of this recently in watching the coverage on our late president George H.W. Bush.  There were so many references to thank you notes he wrote, letters he wrote, and not only to his family but to acquaintances.  I know in my own life, I have received handwritten notes and cards of encouragement and saved them, some from people I would not have expected to write me a note.  Write a note to the office receptionist, thanking her for keeping the office going, being the first person to greet the people.  Thank them for their smile and joy they bring to the office.  Personalize it and mention the strengths they bring to the team.  It is nice to know someone notices you.  

DIY Personalization
I am sure you have heard of a Cricut machine or possibly know someone who owns one.  Using vinyl you can personalize almost anything with names or special sayings.  Ask around a friend or neighbor may be able to help you personalize a gift.  

If you don't have a vinyl cutting machine, a great way to personalize a gift is with scrabble tiles or letter beads.  You can find these at your local craft stores.  

You can add a personalized touch to a frame you purchase with these scrabble tiles.  Great for a pet owner, or those 'new baby frames', add the baby's name, or personalize a frame for a newlywed couple.

I made this DIY Menu Dry Erase Frame for a friend.  I used a frame from the Dollar Tree, Scrabble Letters and a sheet of scrapbook paper.  Easy, practical and cute!  Instead of a Menu frame, you could make a "To Do List" frame and add the person's name.  Shadow boxes are a great way to personalize a gift as well. 

You can use your computer and color printer to personalize a frame.  You can print out the definition of someone special in your life.  You could print out a friends or co-workers favorite quote for their desk.  You could print out the meaning of their name.  The ideas are endless.  Below are some free printables that I made, that I am happy to share with you.  
Print them in color, place them in a frame and add this to the scarf, sweater or other items you are gifting, this is a great way to add a DIY personalized touch. 

Best Aunt Ever - Free Printable Download: http://bit.ly/2S2G13E

Grandma Definition - Free Printable Download: http://bit.ly/2EkMSkR

Grandpa - Free Printable Download: http://bit.ly/2GfGqOw

Abuela - Free Printable Download: http://bit.ly/2Ex3EhK

Sister Definition - Free Printable Download: http://bit.ly/2S10Oob

Brother Definition - Free Printable Download: http://bit.ly/2GrOcoy

You can also personalize the gift wrap if they are newspaper reader, wrap their gift in the newspaper, mention in a note how you admire their love of reading.  You can make your own name tag, buy cutting out their name from what interests them, I used an old comic book to cut out a name for this gift.  You can purchase an ornament picture frame, or monogram letter and use that as well. If they are into cooking a mini cutting board, or mini whisk, can be added to the bow.   You can also find wood letters, that can be painted, or use yarn or twine to wrap around the letter to personalize it.  You can mod podge scrapbook paper and decorate wood letters in any theme.

Know that a meaningful and thoughtful gift is so much better than any new toy or clothing item. I am confident that you can think of a way to gift a personalized gift with any size budget.  If you need some help coming up with an idea, feel free to e-mail me at theblogaboutitall@gmail.com and I would be happy to help with some ideas. I hope you can use the FREE printables I included and some of these ideas this Christmas.  I hope you have a very Merry Christmas surrounded by those you love and cherish, those are the most important gifts.  

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