On this Small Business Saturday, if you find yourself struggling for a gift for that new married couple, matriarch/patriarch or person who has zero storage space, consider a generational gift like a family crest (which also gives you personalized gift ideas from local artisans for years to come!).
We have now arrived at one of my favorite times of year: Christmas card time! I love every part of it (except the bit where I send about 150 of them): finding the perfect picture, picking the ink for the envelopes, spending a few moments thinking of the friends I love as I address their cards and write them a note with my thoughts and wishes for them. But my very favorite moment is the sealing of the card, when I take my family crest embossed on a gold notary seal and put a benediction on my prayer to and for them.
The seal is one of the three places on my Christmas cards that my family crest appears this year, and it’s similarly salted through my house. The crest was designed by Fealty Design – the brainchild of my creative friend Julie. (Actually, so were the Christmas Cards and Mocksgiving Cards, but that’s a secret between you and me, right?) She’s a creative director and brand designer, and her favorite part of the design process is taking the time to understand what’s important, and show that in a design. She founded Fealty Design as a way to do more of that creation process she delights in!
I’ve had my crest for about three years, and taken particular delight in finding new ways to use it, especially ones that make opportunities to work with small artisans and artists. One of favorites in that regard is the stained glass window we had custom made to fit our picture window by Barbara Conners. She executed Fealty’s design superbly – and came to our house to fit it in the window. (Unfortunately, the window is now a new size, but that’s a problem for another day.) This window would have originally had stained glass, but it burned in 1947. Putting this window back to the way it should be – only for us – was a deeply satisfying result. And it wouldn’t have been possible or as meaningful without our family design!
My other favorite craftsman job is this Camping Sign. These kinds of family markers are common among the family campgrounds in the White Mountains. They include cast iron pans with paint, gifts from grandkids made in shop, or the work of master craftsman now retired. I have wanted a camping sign for some time, and Adam came through with a version done in our crest. To our surprise and delight, the best qualified craftsman for this custom project was just down the street: SignMeUpCustomSigns.com He actually dropped the sign off in person, and showed off the marine grade lacquer and craftsmanship. He said his homemade CNC machine is big enough to do a standard sized door.
In the lowest budget version of this, it turns out the vinyl stickers are amazing for … everything. Every thermos and water bottle in our house is marked with a shockingly dishwasher safe sticker, ensuring that anyone who finds the lost objects enjoys their lovely decor and personalization. (OK, and there’s a very outside chance we get it back.) My kids often ask for a Flynn sticker for a device, book or thing they don’t want to share. It feels surprisingly spiffy to have your own stickers!
Tell me – what gifts have you gotten that still bring you joy years later? Which ones lead themselves to ongoing themes and years of additional simplified and meaningful gifts? What especially marks you and your family?