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Best of Indie Spotlight: Last Minute Stocking Stuffers

Dec. 23, 2012
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Every week or so, we’ll be writing about our favorite handmade, vintage, and indie finds of the week. Check out our coupon site for coupons on handmade gifts for stores like these in our Indie Coupon Tool. Want to share something with us? Please leave a comment below.

Stocking stuffers don’t have a great reputation. After all, they’re not distinguished enough to warrant their own wrapping paper: generally, they’re throwaways or just gift cards, which are perhaps the most thoughtless gift you can give.

“Gee Uncle John, I can’t believe you thought of me at the checkout line as you were buying your cigarettes and whiskey! This $20 gift card to CVS is just what I wanted!”

These items, however, all available through Etsy, were crafted with time and effort. Call me crazy, but something about these handmade gifts suggest that you, the giver, took the same time and effort to select it—as if you made it yourself. I think the transitive property is at work here.

Per stocking-stuffer tradition, most of these items are cheap, under $20 each. One exception is the bulldog bookmark by BenMcfuzzylugs, just because it’s so damn adorable.

Owl Pink Grey – iPad Mini Case / IPad Mini Cover / Mini iPad Sleeve (Faux Leather)
By rabbitdream

If you’re giving the gift of Apple this holiday season, you’ll want to ensure that pricey new gadget remains sleek and sexy.

Travel Journal
By Istriadesign

For the writer or artist, a journal is always a good bet. The Moleskin is a classic choice, and one used by greats like Hemingway, but they’re also remarkably expensive, at $20 for a 5 x 8 stack of paper. This alternative comes with ruled pages and a quaint cover—almost literally quaint, with an image of the Old World—and it’s only $5.

The Honey Badger Funny Notepad Office Memo Pad Gag Gift

By GuajolotePrints

This item’s shelf life is as short as our collective attention span. But if that special someone is still laughing at that flamboyant voiceover, with lisp and all, then why not get it while the getting’s good? I’m still laughing at least.

Justin Bieber iPhone Case – Rubber Silicone iPhone 4 Case or Plastic iPhone 5 Case
By PicassoShop

I personally can’t stand the kid, but I’m also in the minority.  If your kid—or adult—is delirious with Bieber fever, outfit him or her with this case, available in black or white and for any of the latest iPhone models: the 4, the 4S and the 5.

Splat – Bulldog Bookmark – Needle Felted Plushie Puppy
By BenMcfuzzylugs

For the voracious reader. Unlike your typical bookmark, this felt bulldog is impossible to lose. It’s pricey, at $55, but it’s one of a kind and, really, kind of adorable. Plus, if you decide you’d rather have, say, a cat stretched out between the pages of your latest read, just ask. The artist can make custom bookmarks of the animal of your choice.

iPhone 4/4s Jack Daniel’s Hard Snap On iPhone Case
By KustomCases

For the big bourbon drinkers. If we have the same friend in mind, he does often lose his phone on a night out. But hey, it’s the thought that counts.

Hazelnut Latte Lip Balm – Avocado & Jojoba
By ForBentley

For the coffee-shop hipster. You know who they are. Now, their lips can taste like a delicious hazelnut latte even without a hit of espresso. Plus this lip balm is made with all natural Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, and other yummy ingredients. At only $4 each, you can get a coffee flavored lip balm for all your family’s stockings.

Classic Batman Keychain made from NEW Superhero Lego Minifigure
By MoLGifts

If one of your friends was wild about The Dark Knight Rises this summer, and he or she just couldn’t stop talking about what a badass Big Old Batman is—clearly, I have this friend—then this oughta shut him or her up. This keychain reduces a hulking Christian Bale to a 2-inch-tall Lego figure—complete with stubby legs.

50s Satin Ball Drummer Boy Ornament / Vintage Drum Major
By livinvintageshop

This circa-1950s felt ornament is, frankly, kind of creepy, but also adorably pudgy. The classic red and white colors are hard to beat, too. Great for a parent.

Bear Glass Ornament
By LaBelage

This glass ornament is decidedly creepier. But it’s creepy in such a way that you can’t avert your eyes—it’s oddly attractive. It’s also vintage, and it’s not something you should give to a klutz—this ornament’s made out of glass, and it’s neck and legs are thin, so it’s a delicate piece.


Ornaments aside, all these gifts are great for any time of year. And if you’re intrigued but still not satisfied with an item, don’t give up there. Unlike something you’d buy through Amazon, with Etsy, you can e-mail the artist and possibly even commission a design you want.

Written by Mike Anderson, a freelance writer and contributor to NerdWallet Shopping.