11 Genius Gifts You Can Create And Still Have Time For An Actual Life

Last Updated: Jan 30, 2018

This article was written by Lib Aubuchon of Scary Mommy for Shutterfly.

In the frenzy of the holidays – baking, decorating, shopping, avoiding credit card statements – it can be easy to overlook the most important things, like giving meaningful gifts to the people in our lives who really matter. This year, instead of fighting for parking and grabbing the very last scarf in the store for your sister, why not make something?

kid at christmas holding mug with hot chocolate

Hang on. You might be thinking that creating thoughtful, personalized gifts requires a craft room, loads of mason jars and burlap, and a hell of a lot more time than you have. Nope. You don’t need any of that. In fact, you don’t need to leave your couch. And unlike burning yourself with a glue gun, creating these gifts is actually fun.

With Shutterfly’s huge selection of personalized gift options and this convenient guide, you can make something unique for everyone on your list!

1. Literally Everyone

cute blue photo book

A photo book works for everyone — from your kids’ teachers to your spouse, parents, even your co-workers. And, of course, yourself. You can fill a photo book with inspirational quotes, corny photos from the office, create a family recipe book, or go all tradish with actual photos of your actual family and gift it as a keepsake. And now you can even hire a Shutterfly designer to put the book together for you. What a time to be alive!

2. Your Parents

personalized christmas ornament with family photos

Here’s a near-universal truth: parents never get tired of seeing pictures of their “babies” even when those “babies” have their own apartments. Now that your folks are even more photo-savvy than you are because smart phones, why not curate your old family baby pictures or other favorite family photos into a commemorative ornament that hangs front and center on the tree?

3. Your Favorite Coworker

custom mugs with family photos

Without her, you’d never make it through Monday morning staff meetings. With one raised eyebrow, you know exactly what she’s thinking. Get everyone in the office (or just the ones you both really like) to pose for corny photos. Use them to personalize a latte mug and you just made her coffee breaks a little brighter. BAM.

4. Your Best Friend

plaid monogram blanket

She’s there for you every single time you need a “yoga pants, couch, and wine” night. Memorialize your tradition with a fleece photo blanket she can bring over the next time she needs one of those nights.

5. Your Kid’s Teachers

personalized wine glass with initial

We know. Your child is the sweetest, smartest, and most well-behaved kid in school. Still, his teacher deserves something extra special for giving her all to a really tough job. She probably doesn’t need another mug. How about a personalized wine glass that she can use to enjoy her nightly glass(es) of wine?

6. Your Neighbor

custom wooden cutting board with monogram initial

You could grab a stack of coffee shop gift cards for that neighbor who overlooks your uncut grass and just call it a day. But a monogrammed cutting board is a whole lot less generic. Cutting boards aren’t necessarily a go-to gift idea, but they should be — last Christmas a friend sent me a personalized cutting board and I use it every day. Plus, it adds a touch of charm to my teeny kitchen that’s short on wall space.

7. Your Spouse

custom iphone case with family photos

When you share a household, it just doesn’t make sense to eat rice and beans for a month so you can buy each other crazy expensive gifts. Instead, select a few of your favorite photos of your kids and gift your spouse something sentimental like a personalized cell phone case. Bonus: more money for utility bills date nights!

8. Your Favorite Mom Friend

red candle with photo of friends

There’s always that one other mom who’s got your back. If you need to switch carpool days, she’s game. Ask her to watch your kid tear around the playground while you take a call from your boss and she doesn’t bat an eye. Show her how much you appreciate her. Snap a quick selfie of the two (or three or however many are in your girl gang) and turn it into a holiday candle. Next!

9. Your Sister

custom serving tray with family photo

Choose the best heartwarming throwback photo (or your most flattering adult photo) of the two of you together and upload them to create a one-of-a-kind serving tray. She’ll not only know you love her, she’ll also be much more likely to agree to host Thanksgiving. Again.

10. Your Pet

white and brown dog bowl with dog name

Hey, pets love the holidays, too. (Ok, maybe they have absolutely no idea what holidays are but let’s assume they have wish lists in their heads.) Surprise Fido and Socks with their very own bowls customized with their photo, name, or monogram to make holiday mealtime a little more special. (Again, let’s assume pets care about things like this.)

11. Yourself!

custom gold necklace with name plate

Um, you’re making gifts for everyone you care about, right? It would just be wrong not to include a little something for you. An engraved bar necklace with a special name (yours?) or date perhaps? Why not! Treat yo’self!

Life is a collection of moments and the best ones are usually spent with the people we care about. This holiday season, make time to reflect on the people who’ve shared special moments with you and make something thoughtful and unique. With Shutterfly’s huge range of personalized gift options, celebrate the memories you share and create something out of the ordinary without turning your kitchen table into an overflowing craft station.

And with the time you’ll save, you’ll have more time to enjoy the fun things about the holidays, like baking cookies, writing cards, and pretending you’re not home when carolers ring the doorbell.