Shopping Small on Etsy: Our Favorite Buys

When I was in college, I briefly worked in an engraving and embroidery shop. It was incredibly satisfying — the work was precise and challenging enough to keep things interesting.  It was rewarding to see the physical results and make customers happy.

That year, all my holiday gifts were embroidered or engraved.

There were hand towels, picture frames, a robe and an apron, all with added touches. I started to consider all products through a frame of “can it be personalized?”

These days I no longer impulsively monogram everything. I do, however, still hold quite a weakness for personalized gifts.

This is part of why I love Etsy, one of my go-to shopping sites every year. It’s a great source for unique, handmade (and yes, personalized) items from small businesses. For your holiday shopping this year, I’m sharing some of my favorite buys.

Prop Sign

When we canceled our vacation earlier this year, I decided to treat myself to an Etsy item I had my eye on for a while. It’s a subtle, quirky nod to our trip: a replica sign from the Haunted Mansion in Walt Disney World. We placed the sign on a closet door and it makes me happy every time I see it.

Tooth Fairy Pillow

Our Tooth Fairy regional representative told me hanging tooth pillows can decrease the likelihood of children getting fairy glitter in their eyes! They are also great for light sleepers. I ordered this one when my son had his first loose tooth, and it was ready to gift to him when he lost it.

Children’s Flower Clock

When we selected the online option for school, I funneled my stress into online shopping.  This little clock adds a sweet touch to our work area and has been a handy teaching tool for telling time.

Growth Chart Ruler 

I love this gorgeous beech wood growth chart we gave to my in-laws! We ordered it engraved with “Watch the Regans Grow” as an acknowledgement of our growing family.  It’s now a yearly tradition to measure the grandchildren at the holidays.

Giant Spider Web

If you love Halloween like we do, it’s never too early to think about next year. I once purchased a spider web on Amazon, but it deteriorated by the end of the season.  The following year I bought this quality web, and it has stood up well for three rainy and windy Octobers.

Custom Bamboo Cutting Board

When my husband’s aunt sent him a scan of a family tomato soup recipe, we were thrilled to see it was my husband’s grandfather’s handwriting. That year, we had the recipe laser engraved onto cutting boards for multiple family members. We even made the soup for a family gathering.

House Painting

This is one of my favorite things ever: a painting of the house we lived in when I had my children. I love this artist’s style because it feels like a page out of a children’s book. It’s a perfect fit for those dreamy memories of rocking babies to sleep. The painting is extra special because the artist included our dog on the front lawn.


What are your favorite Etsy purchases and shops?

Susie is a mom of two, student affairs professional, book-lover and frequent challah baker. Originally from Skokie, Illinois, Susie first came to Iowa City for college and grad school. The following decade was full of adventure and moving boxes as she and her husband followed jobs to New York, Illinois and Texas. They were thrilled to relocate “home” to Iowa City in 2016. In addition to working at the UI Pomerantz Career Center, Susie is a PTA volunteer and sorority advisor. She loves date nights in the Ped Mall, catching a show at Hancher or the Englert, and most of all, cuddling her kids on the couch.

1 COMMENT

  1. Super cute and fun items, Susie! Here are a couple of my favorites on etsy:
    Babe magnets from mothershipshop
    Skeleton key housewarming gift from BerkleyandBean

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