Holiday Gifts With a Personal Touch

During the holiday season, there are times when we get so caught up in obsessing over getting someone the perfect gift that we forget the real joy of gift-giving. (We refuse to call it “gifting.” So there.) Giving someone a gift is a gesture of your appreciation for what they contribute to your life, and it should be a pleasurable experience! That’s why we’ve compiled this short list of truly personal gifts you can give this holiday season — not only are they fun to make, but they’re fun to give, as well! They sure beat fruitcake, anyway.

Hand-Stamped Pendant(s)
Ingredients: metal blanks in a metal of your choice, letter punch set, hammer, bench block, liver of sulfur (for adding a patina), jump ring(s), and cord or chain.

These cute little necklaces are all the rage right now, and we can see why! Sweet and delicate, initial pendants/charms can be worn alone as a statement of the wearer’s initial, or clustered together to represent kids, grandkids, etc. Although we don’t recommend using sterling silver charms for your first project, after a bit of practice, you can easily graduate to high-quality metal blanks and create elegant gifts in no time! Add charms in different shapes for some variety, or create an interchangeable necklace like Wendy Mullane’s pregnancy count-down necklace (at right). Create the same type of necklace for a graduation or wedding count-down (“7 months left!”), or another momentous occasion. This necklace is wonderfully personal and shows you are sharing in the wearer’s excitement!

Custom Key Chain
Ingredients: key chain blank with bezel, Diamond Glaze, photo or scrapbook paper.

We feel that key chains are under-rated. We here at Blue Door Beads love our key chains, and we love the daily smile we get from taking them our of our pockets. Lydia made the key chain pictured at left as a way to commemorate her semester in France during college, and one of her students recently created a custom key chain using a photo of her first grandbaby. Simply trim your image to fit the bezel, tack it down with a bit of Diamond Glaze, coat the entire image with glaze, then wait for it to dry. Voilà! Instant memento.

Birthstone Necklaces
Ingredients: gemstone(s), wire, chain or cord, and a decorative charm if desired.

It’s hard to go wrong with birthstones, as long as you know the recipient’s birthday. (That’s what the Birthday Reminder app on Facebook is for!) If you do a quick search online, you will find there are different birthstone charts you can use as references, varying from classic, to modern, to zodiac-sign-related. This style of necklace can also be modified to include birthstones of spouses, children, or maybe just yours and theirs — the perfect BFF necklace!

Hand-Stamped Garden Markers

Ingredients: old cutlery (spoons & forks work best), letter punch set, hammer, bench block, liver of sulfur (for adding a patina).

Since not everyone wears jewelry, the garden marker is a great unisex, any-occasion gift that can be romantic, humorous, or helpful. (Was that basil you planted, or parsley?) Don’t worry about getting letters perfectly straight — a little wonkiness adds to the charm and the organic feel of the markers. Be sure to do your stamping in an area where it’s OK to make lots of noise. Unlike metal charms, cutlery is typically a lot thicker, and you will need to be more forceful with your hammering to achieve good results. Once you’ve stamped your markers with the names of various herbs/flowers/etc., or a fun phrase or two (Lydia has a marker at home that says “Watch Me Grow,” but you could easily stamp “Grow, Darn It!”), put them in a gift box with a few packets of corresponding seed packets, and you have an easy gift for the holidays!

We hope this list of personalized gift ideas inspires you to make some heartfelt gifts this holiday season. We’re willing to bet that you’ll have so much fun making these cute creations that you’ll want to make a few pieces to keep for yourself. We promise not to tell. 🙂

Key chain photo courtesy of Lydia Chapman for Blue Door Beads.
Hand-stamped pendant photo courtesy of

Birthstone necklace photo courtesy of Belleza Mia
Hand-stamped garden marker photos courtesy of The Faded Nest