Karyn Gerhard is a senior editor at Alpha Books and an information addict looking for an adventure. This blog documents her explorations into of all those dusty corners of human culture that no one has bothered to clean in years.
So, Black Friday is done, and Cyber Monday is almost in the rearview mirror, and still my Christmas gift list is a mile long. As much as I love getting the deals in the big stores, what I’d really love to do is to hand-make all of my gifts. Sadly, that’s not going to happen—I’d pretty much have to give up my day job to get all of them done. Still, I just think there’s nothing better than getting a handmade gift.
Since I can’t make all of my gifts, I started thinking about what I could get for some of the hard-to-shop-for people on my list. Sure, there are gift cards, but those are so impersonal. I thought about maybe a gift-of-the-month subscription, because I love the idea of a gift lasting an entire year. A quick search turned up every kind of club you can imagine— coffee, bacon, flowers, even beer—you name it.
Still, I kept coming back to the handmade thing. So, how about a handmade gift-of-the-month club? Sure enough, Etsy had my answer. Etsy has exploded with of-the-month clubs by crafters—everything from caramels to paintings of squids is available in these monthly gift clubs. After two days of searching I had enough gifts to last me for three Christmases! If you’re looking for an unusual gift that keeps on giving throughout the year, here are some of my favorites from my Etsy adventure.
Monsta of the Month: Each month Frankenstitch Productions will send you a limited-edition handmade plush monster, complete with its own story. (The edition is limited to the number of people who sign up for the club). You can sign up for a 3, 6, 9, or 12-month subscription for these creatures. (Another adorkable doll club is the Veruka Doll of the Month.)
Eyeshadow of the Month: For the woman who has everything. Each month Pink Quartz Minerals will send you one of their custom-blended vegan eyeshadows—and at a great price. A six-month subscription only runs $45.
Bottle Cap Charm of the Month: The perfect gift for your tween princess. Every month Miss Bee’s Boutique will send an interchangeable charm, made from flattened bottle caps (your first month comes with the choker and the magnetic base). You can choose from 48 different charms so the gift can be tailored to your own princess!
Princess of the Month: Speaking of princesses, if you’ve got a little girl in your life who loves dress up (yes, ok, I’m talking about my niece here), get her a subscription to this club. Each month she’ll get a new handmade princess dress (you can change sizes if your girl starts growing out of the gowns).
Adopt a Navajo Churro Sheep: This isn’t what you think—it’s a yarn club, but with a clever tie-in. When you sign up for the monthly club you actually are adopting one of these rare sheep (your money goes to taking care of the animal). Each month you’ll get a letter and a picture from the sheep, along with a skein of Navajo Churro wool. There are a lot of yarn-of-the-month clubs on Etsy, but no others that also let you support the animals. Your socially conscious knitter would love it. (If a sheep isn’t your thing, you can also adopt an Angora goat or an Angora bunny.)
Goody of the Month: You’ll never know what you’re going to get in your monthly Marie Lou package—could be jewelry, napkins, tote bags, coupons, you name it. You can give her a little direction as to what you’d like when you order the subscription, but what you get will be a surprise—and what’s life without a few surprises?
Painting of the Month: Help build your favorite art lover’s collection. Artist Luke Cavagnac will send an original painting every month—but that’s not all. You also get a t-shirt, a magazine subscription, first dibs on any of his paintings, entry into a raffle, and (my favorite part) a free portrait of you and your pet. All for $133. Can’t beat that with a paint stick.
Pouch of the Month: You can just never have enough little zippered pouches, can you? This 9-month subscription from Itybity Bags includes a new bag every month as well as discounts on other ItyBity products and a special gift on your birthday month. You could actually get this subscription for yourself and have nine great gifts to give for next Christmas!
Bracelet of the Month: Who doesn’t love jewelry? This subscription from Seventh Cloud Studio gets you a handmade, one-of-a-kind bracelet every month. You can tell the artist what you like (colors, stones, metals, etc.) and the bracelet will be made just for you. If bracelets aren’t your thing, Seventh Cloud also does an Earring of the Month subscription.
Fairy Door of the Month: If there’s a fairy lover (no sniggering, guys) on your list, wouldn’t she just love a magical portal delivered to her door each month? You’ve got to admit, they’re kind of cute, in an Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-H.R. Pufnstuff kind of way.
Moss of the Month: I’ve never known anyone who is a lichen lover, but apparently if you know someone who’s hooked on moss, this is the dream gift for them. Every month they’ll get a bag of assorted moss and lichens, and even a stone or birdhouse to cover. If your gardener isn’t into moss, give them a subscription to Organic Seed of the Month, which delivers seasonally appropriate vegetable and herb seeds every month.
Intensely Scented Candle of the Month: I’ve looked at other candle-of-the-month deals, but they were all outrageously priced; even worse, I couldn’t pick the types of scents I wanted. Not so at One Girl and Some Soy; They have a plethora of scents from which to choose, and the price—especially for soy-based candles—is pretty reasonable.
Soap of the Month: I don’t even want to tell you how many soap-of-the-month clubs there are on Etsy; but out of all of the pages I visited, Scarlet Ivy Soaps came out on top. The price ($65 for the year, including shipping) is more than reasonable, and the varieties of soap are out of this world—plus, you can pick the types of soap you’d like to get, so there are no unpleasant surprises for the recipient.
Collar of the Month: Talk about a great gift for the dog-lover (or your favorite dog) on your list. You give the artist color and design preferences and the size of the dog, and every other month you’ll receive a handmade collar. You can even request special collars for the holidays! You can also get your favorite pooch a subscription to Border Collie Bistro’s Treat of the Month.
Underwear of the Month (Men): Handmade artisanal underwear for guys. Come on. Nothing says “you’re awesome” better than a pair of hand-stitched knickers. (Don’t worry, there’s a club for ladies, too.)
Squid of the Month: This year’s winner for strangest gift. Each month you’ll get a hand-stitched squid doll, themed for that month (or themed for your specific hobby or career). I just can’t even imagine how these came about, but you know what? They are kind of cute.
Letterpress of the Month: This may be my favorite club of all. For an incredibly reasonable price ($37.50 for 3 months), each month Ladybug Press will deliver letterpress-printed goodies, including gift cards and tags, thank-you notes, recipe cards, and coasters. The designs are exquisite, too.
This list only scratches the surface—there are jewelry, clothing, and edible clubs galore. So support a crafter and get some great gifts! As for me, now that I’ve done my shopping, it’s back into the kitchen—those Christmas cookies aren’t going to make themselves!