Whether you need an inexpensive treat for a teacher or an over-the-top gift for the person who has everything, nothing makes a gift more unique than adding a monogram. Lifestyle expert Elizabeth Mayhew was invited on the "Today" show to explain how to add that personal touch.
Over the years, monograms have adorned traditional items like formal stationery and elegant silver, or preppy things like pink and green sweaters. And while there is always something classic about a monogram, there's nothing stuffy about today's styles, which are fresh and fun. The trend of personalization has grown to include an incredible variety of items you can customize, in every price range.
When it comes to gift-giving, nothing makes a present more personal than a monogram. A monogram can elevate the simplest gift because it shows you put some thought into selecting it. Or for the person who has everything, adding a monogram makes the gift truly custom and one-of-a-kind. So whether you want to spend $20 on notepads or $1,000 on a handbag, there's an extra-special gift that fits any budget. All you need to shop is access to the Internet and your friends' and families' initials and addresses. Start shopping now; you'll need one to six weeks to personalize gifts for the holidays.
Coasters It's almost a shame to let a glass cover the vibrant patterns and monograms on these glass coasters. You can specify a monogram or a name (up to 32 characters). Available in 45 styles, from graphic prints to bold stripes to single icons. (Single coaster, $25; 4 for $90.00; 8 for $145.00, 12 for $210.00, at iomoi.com)
Tumblers Tervis Tumblers are a classic (they've been around since 1946). The tumblers are made from the same material that bulletproof shields and fighter jet windshields are made from. Their double wall insulation keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold, but best of all, the design prevents sweating, so you don't have to worry about rings left on your table. Nearly indestructible, they're great for households with kids. Allow 10 to 14 business days for personalization. (Custom monogrammed 12-ounce tumblers, $54 for 4; 16-ounce tumblers, $58 for 4, at tervis.com)
Cookies For the hard to buy “family” gift, personalized cookies please all ages. You can pick from more than 50 different themed gift tins, then have each cookie personalized with a different family member's name. ($38.50, 65 cookies per tin; $36 for personalization, at elenis.com)
Custom stamps These personalized stamps come with the ink built-in, so there's no messy ink pad to deal with. Use the stamps to create your own stationery or for a return address on envelopes. They come in 19 different styles, with a choice of 8 colors. ($42 at threedesigningwomen.com. $12 for ink replacements)
Notepads Simply choose a notepad style, an icon, lettering style and color to create these unique notepads — perfect for a teacher, friend or family member. For a silhouette notepad of your child, dog, cat or even horse, just e-mail a photo and they will create a stylish likeness you can enjoy while you're making the grocery list ($20 for a set of 2 pads, each 50 sheets. Silhouette is a one-time set-up fee of $25 that you can use on any of their products, at fontainemaury.com)
Ponytail holders Great stocking stuffers, party favors or package toppers, these monogrammed ponytail holders can be ordered with a one or three initials. They come in a wide variety of fabrics and fonts that can be customized on their Web site, or if they don't have a fabric that appeals to you, e-mail a fabric request or send them your own fabric (a great use for old school uniforms). The ponytail holders arrive packaged in a green mesh bag for gift-giving, or use them as your own present topper. Wrap some candy or nail polish in a cellophane bag and you have an instant party favor. Or use them as napkin rings at a bridesmaid's luncheon, and have your guests take them as a party favor. Also available in smaller-sized pigtail holders in a set of two for your little ones, single initial only. ($10/ponytail holder or $15/pigtail holders, at fancy-fonts.com)
Polo shirts If your child is picky about what they wear, you can let them create their own shirts at polo.com. Choose from 20 shirt colors and contrasting embroidery thread for your initials. The great part is you can view your custom designs right on the Web site. (Customized shirts for girls, $45/short-sleeved and $50/long-sleeved; customized shirts for boys, $35/short-sleeved and $40/long-sleeved, at www.polo.com/shop/index.jsp?categoryId=1985687&cp=1760787)
Luggage No luggage mix-ups at the airport with monogrammed luggage from T. Anthony. The 26" Wheeled Packing Case ($750) and Wheeled Cabin Bag ($495) are canvas with leather trim and a leather patch perfect for monogramming (at no additional charge). Offered in a variety of sizes, styles and colors, it's not only a stylish way to travel, but easy to identify at the airport. ($495 to $750, at tanthony.com)
Luggage tags If you can't afford monogrammed luggage, try these personalized luggage tags. They come in 17 different colors that help you spot your luggage and come with cute slogans like “MINE” and “NOT YOURS” on one side, your name and address on the other. ($30 per set of three, at prestige-printing.net)
Tote bag From the same Parisian company that has made luggage for European royalty since 1853 comes the Goyard tote. It comes in 11 colors of their signature Chevron fabric, then you have it personalized with initials and a custom racing stripe. ($785 for St. Louis PM tote, $95 for personalization, at barneys.com)
Credit card/business card holder and passport case Have your business card copied onto a leather card holder (assuming you will stay at your job for a while) or have your handwritten home address copied onto a leather passport cover. Both great gifts for the business traveler. ($270 credit card/business card holder; $300 passport case, at anyahindmarch.com)
Pillow shams and guest towels Monogramming linens is not a new idea, but very few companies do it as well as New Orleans-based Leontine Linens. You can choose from countless monogram styles, thread colors, and appliqué designs, all stitched and assembled by hand, the old-fashioned way. If you want these for the holidays, order now because delivery is eight to 10 weeks. (From $330 for European shams; from $60 for guest towels, at leontinelinens.com)