Holiday Gifting and Thrifting

The Elevator Up team gathered up their favorite spots to shop and shared some of the unique gifts they have given, to create a list of ideas to share with the community to help spark ideas that might not have been on your radar. We invite you to read on or leave a comment with your go-to stores or gifts during the holiday time!


Thomas Wilson, Software Developer

What is your go-to place for unique holiday gifts? 
Nothing like a good thrift store find. I love reusing and not being wasteful, so if I can find someone else’s trash and turn it into someone else’s treasure, I’m all for it. Facebook Marketplace is also a great place! ♻️

What is a unique/personalized gift you have given before?
I like to give my wife handwritten poems 📝, though I will admit it’s been hard to make the time with kids.


Amanda Barnes, Designer

What is your go-to place for unique holiday gifts?
My family owns a small chocolate factory in the Metro Detroit area, so I’ve spent a lot of time helping them out during the Holiday time growing up and during college breaks. It’s safe to say that many friends and family receive some form of chocolate from my family and me during the holidays!

Whenever possible, I try to shop at local/small stores, support artists or brands that give back because I understand the passion and hard work that goes into their craft.

A few of my favorite local stores and artists are: 
 — 🍫 Ross Fine Candies (My family’s business) We make lots of yummy chocolates! From molded 3ft Santas and Easter bunnies to chocolate covered potato chips and fresh fudge! 
 — 🐱🐶 Kat Curtin: a friend of mine who creates custom watercolor pet portraits. She has such a talent to be able to bring out the pet’s personality through art. (She takes orders for custom portraits year round, just send her a DM!)
 — 🖼 Libby Vanderploeg: I love her illustration style and her line of dog prints and maps! 
—💎Barbara C. Pellegrino: I found Barbara on Instagram this year. She creates these amazing handcrafted semi-precious stones and ancient fossils into statement pieces. 
 — 🎁 Rebel Reclaimed: they always have a great selection of cards for any occasion and witty gifts that anyone would love! 
 — 🍂 Woosah Outfitters: Wow! The artwork created there is seriously cool and impressive, every time I go in there I’m inspired to get outside and be more connected to nature.

What is a unique/personalized gift you have given before?
Last Christmas, the crazy dog lady in me came out when I gave my whole family custom socks with my dog, Stout’s face all over them from DivvyUp. 🧦🐶 How could you not want that cute face on a pair of socks?! The best part is that for every pair of socks sold, they donate clean socks to those in need! My family may or may not be getting another Stout related gift this year… 😉


Dan Drust, Software Developer

What is your go-to place for unique holiday gifts?
🍵Global Infusion! Loose leaf teas are the best. And they have a lot of fair-trade products, too.

What is a unique/personalized gift you have given before?
In that past when I was stuck on what to buy an out-of-town family member, I would get them a gift certificate for a restaurant in Grand Rapids. That motivates them to visit and share a meal with me! 🍴


Jen Bancino, Designer

What is your go-to place for unique holiday gifts? 
🛍 Uncommongoods.com— Great site for unique gifts 
🖼 Etsy.com— The best site for anything personal 
🧧 World Market — Love walking around this store. You’ll always find something charming. 
🌲 Rebel, Woosah — Classic shops to explore in Eastown, Grand Rapids, MI.

What is a unique/personalized gift you have given before?

☕️ Bitmoji merch 
I stumbled across the Snapchat store one day on my phone and was so happy I did! I left purchasing three coffee mugs with my friends/family’s Bitmoji’s. You can select any of your friends to put on the merch, spanning from coffee mugs, sweatshirts, to notebooks. Such a fun personalized gift. You can get them in any of the Bitmoji sticker design! So many possibilities.

🎞 Personalized Flash Drives:
This year I ordered wood boxes and USB flash drives that were customized and laser etched. For these, I was able to upload a personal design with a custom quote and gave them to my family with all of the VHS and 8mm videos I recently converted to digital. This is a perfect way to present wedding photos or family videos in a more personalized manner. This is the gift I’m most excited about this year ❤

PhotoPandora has an amazing selection.

🎶 Personalized Sound Prints
I haven’t given this as a gift yet, but I sure plan too. Sound prints are great for loved ones especially if they have a favorite weddings song or a song that reminds them of someone special. You can even upload any voice recording and they can make a print of the sound waves from it! There are so many options on Etsy for these types of prints but I found that IGREAN has some of the best options for colors and designs! You can personalize the text on the print also.

📸 Square Prints
I did this a few years back for my cousin when she got her new place. After a little social media searching, I found photos of her, her family, with her husband and fur baby. I had 25 square prints made up which come on quality cardstock. Parabo Press is a great site that’s affordable but also has many stylish options. You can purchase wood blocks, photo rope (what I got) or wood rails to hang up your prints. I did purchase the square versions, but you can buy the copies in 4x6, 5x7, fine art styles, engineer prints and so on. They were so great I had to go back and purchase a set for myself. So many options!


Amelie Watt, Product Manager

What is your go-to place for unique holiday gifts? 
Aside from the classic local shops around here that are everything (Rebel, Dime & Regal, Fox Naturals, and Woosah), I love to shop on Etsy. Most of the time, I’m able to find something I can personalize, which I feel makes it more unique. I also love making things for people. And, what can I say, homemade is pretty in these days.

What is a unique/personalized gift you have given before?
Last year, I needed to be very budget conscious, so I made crocheted snowflake ornaments 🧶 and homebaked cookies for my friends and family. I also like to give experiences. One year, I gave concert tickets as a stocking stuffer. Another year, I gave tickets to a cooking class 🍳. It gives us something to look forward to after the holiday.


Mackenzie Almquist-Murray, Community Manager

What is your go-to place for unique holiday gifts? 
Local bookstores are always my go-to. Since moving to Grand Rapids, I love exploring Books & Mortar. The helpful staff can point you in the right direction for any family member or friend. Whenever I’m there, I make sure to peruse the biography wall and the quirky cards they sell.

What is a unique/personalized gift you have given before?
I love eating delicious food, but I’m impatient in the kitchen. A few years back, my partner got me the perfect cookbook from Chrissy Teigen. It’s the perfect mix of hilarious stories and easy-to-make recipes. It taught me to cook in many ways, and I’ve used it more than any other cookbook on my shelf!


Elevator Up’s clients also have great holiday gifts!

Montisa: 
Beginning with steel stools back in 1906, Montisa has had many versions and iterations of their company. Relaunching with a new line of furniture in 2017, Montisa crafts beautiful steel furniture to small to midsize companies. Check out their website to see some of their awesome products!

Baker Bookhouse:
Baker Book House was founded in 1939, when Herman Baker started the store with 500 books from his personal library. Baker is known world-wide as the source for out-of-print Christian books, as well as having a wide selection of today’s products. Don’t forget to check out their 12 days of Christmas Sale that’s being held now through December 24th on their e-commerce site.

Sightline Display:
An e-commerce site for retail signing solutions. Sightline has supported companies such as; Meijer, Johnson & Johnson, Gordon Food Service, Yankee Candle, and Kroger. If there is a business owner on your list, check out their products!

We hope this post helped out anyone who still has some last-minute shopping to do, or gave you an idea for another upcoming special occasion!

Cheers,
~ The Elevator Up Team