We all know how much the personal touch counts—especially when it comes to holiday gift giving. But, as the busy men in my life often remind me, finding the time to add that touch can be a battle.
Fortunately, there’s an emerging crop of websites that allow you to quickly set your own stamp on a gift, without having to whip out a handsaw or don an apron. Part of a hot new trend dubbed “co-creation,” these sites allow you to create, design, or customize gifts such as jewelry (disclaimer – that's my company), chocolate, or dress shirts with just a few clicks of a mouse. And while you get the design glory, the companies behind these sites perform the work of expertly fabricating the product and shipping it directly to your door. Best of all, the resulting gift is guaranteed to make the recipient feel like a rock star. After all, who wouldn’t love a gift designed and made exclusively for them?
Here’s my list of some of the top co-creation (or mass customization) sites where you can personalize the perfect custom gift:
Gifts For Her:
Jewelry is always a great choice for the ladies in your life. GemKitty makes the jewelry selection process easier by offering earring and necklace styles that you can customize based on her favorite colors (think paint by numbers with natural gemstones). Prices range from $32-$200 and designs ship within 5 days of order.
For the purse lover on your list, Laudi Vidni has you covered. Pick from 8 styles to customize with luxe leathers and finishes. If you need help, you can browse their design gallery for inspiration. Prices start at $85 and orders ship in 3-4 weeks. Gift cards are also available.
Gifts For Him (or for that holiday gift to yourself):
A perfect fitting dress shirt is a must for every man’s closet. Blank Label gets you there in a few minutes with their fabulous online shirt designer. One tip: for the fit to really flatter, you’ll need the recipient’s shirt size details—if you don’t have them at hand, I advise hitting up a significant other who probably knows these numbers by heart. Prices start at $45 and orders ship within 3 weeks (or 10 days with express handling). Check out a review of Blank Label on Primer. They have gift cards now too, if you want to give something a half more personal than the Best Buy gift card.
Nope, not even beef jerky has been left out of the custom game! SlantShack lets you pick from different marinades, rubs, and glazes to adorn your slices of beef. For your foodie friend, you can even upgrade to grass fed beef for an extra $6. Prices start at a stocking-stuffer friendly $10 for a ¼ lb.
For Anyone (except dieters and diabetics):
At Chocri, you can create 27 billion possible chocolate bars! Simply start with your base (milk, dark, white or a milk/dark combo) and then add on toppings to your heart's content. They've got everything from usual yummies like fruits, nuts, and spices, to crispy bacon and real gold flakes! You can even name and tag your personalized chocolate bars. Prices start at $6 a bar and orders ship in 2 weeks (or 1 week for an additional fee).
Frecklebox is a great one-stop shop to get personalized kid’s gifts that range from lunchboxes to puzzles to coloring books. Any kid will get a kick out of seeing their name emblazoned on their favorite new thing. Prices start as low as under $4 for stickers. Orders ship in just 3 days.
The rugrats in your life will be delighted to receive a personalized storybook that features them as the main character. The finished book will not only incorporate the child’s name, but also their face on most pages! You’ll need to upload a photo during purchase. Books start at $27.95 and ship in a week.
A final note: since these companies are building your products to order, they generally have longer lead times. (i.e. get your co-creating groove on now). But, even if you’re reading this on December 20th, you can still give the gift of design. Most of the sites on this list offer gift cards so you can share the customization experience.