One of the biggest challenges of the holiday season is, of course, finding the perfect gift, so when a garden-variety gift just won't do, turn to creative customization.
On the broadcast Tuesday, "Early Show" Style Contributor Katrina Szish shared her picks of the best items you can personalize and customize for everyone on your holiday shopping list.
Gifts for the Foodie:
Personalized chocolate bar - This is a dream come true for Willy Wonka wannabes. Like the fictional candymaker, you can fashion your own individual chocolate bars! You can bedeck Belgian chocolate (dark, milk or white chocolate) with some of their 100 premium ingredients, such as nuts, fruits, spices, candy -- even potato chips. Each bar is hand-made. It's chocolate with a choice! Bars start at $4, toppings at 15 cents each.
Available at www.chocomize.com.
Customizable Mini-Cupcakes - The cupcake trend has been getting smaller and smaller. Now teeny, bite-size cupcakes by "Baked by Melissa," are the must-have for anyone with a sweet tooth. This New York City offers a "Create Your Own Cupcake" feature on its website. The Create Your Own Cupcake site is like a blank canvas for stuffed cupcake aficionados, for whom the only limit is the imagination (and the palate). Customers across the nation can now create and order the cupcake of their dreams by choosing from a wide array of cake, frosting, stuffing and topping colors and flavors. The minimum for ordering customized cupcakes is 300. All orders will ship overnight or second day air so that the cupcakes arrive to customers fresh (and delicious). An order of 300 cupcakes with custom stuffing is $300.
Available at www.bakedbymelissa.com/.
Custom wine labels - You don't have to be a vinter to produce these bottles of wine! Here's a way to customize every bottle. These labels from "The Butter," a new online design store creates personalized paper goods and sends them right to your door. $48 for 25 wine labels.
Gifts for Kids:
Design Your Own Kids & Doll Clothes: Girls 5-12 years old can design their own skirts, blouses, even handbags (which if you have any experience with a Barbie doll, you know is tons of fun). They pick out the style, color, and even embellishments such as ruffles, ribbons or bling -- and with the click of a mouse, they've put together an outfit. A girl can even put her own name on the label. When we were kids, girls played with paper dolls. Enter the digital age and that's morphed into virtual dress-up. Kids can share their creations virtually with friends. And the company will make the dress as designed for purchase. Within three weeks, her custom clothing is delivered to her door.
Available at www.FashionPlaytes.com.
Customizable Books - Who wouldn't want to star in his or her own book? You simply upload your child's photo, then the company adds a little pixie dust, and voilà! A new book is created. They also have one for "My Super Mom" or "My Super Dad." We had "SuperSomeone," books created for the anchors. (About that book - "Of all the great things your SuperSomeone can do, is that they are a hero and super to you.") It takes one-and-a-half to two weeks to receive your personalized book. $40.
Available at http://www.flattenme.com/us/.
Gifts for Adults:
Design Your Own Sneakers -- Converse and Adidas have been on this trend for a few years and they pretty well have customized shoes down to a science. Consumers select from a selection existing shoe models, then go through a long series of menus, choosing the colors they want for all parts of the shoe -- the sides, trim, tongue, sole, mid-sole, heel, stripes, stitching, laces and more -- including options for laser etching of logos, embroidering of names -- the sky's the limit. The end result is a true one of a kind pair of kicks. Our own Dave Price created these shoes. He logged on to miadidas and selected a brown leather sneaker and chose the liner and eyelet color - light scarlet lace color, sole color etc. $100 and they arrived in two weeks.
Available at www.miadidas.com.
The customizable pairs of Chuck Taylor and Jack Purcell styles cost $62 - $65.
Custom designed jewelry for Moms - Moms love special items that are uniquely their own. Posh Mommy offers jewelry for mommies with style. The line's engravable discs, loops, circles, mini dog tags, tall tags and hearts are made in sterling silver, gold, or white gold, and can be customized with a birthstone and back stamped with dates or messages. Posh Mommy has become the staple accessory for moms from Hollywood (Brooke Burke, Kimberly Quaid, Milla Jovovich, Garcelle Beauvais and others are fans). Silver discs, tall tags and mini tags without gemstones start at around $50-$70, depending on style. Then, adding a stone will then bring prices up to about $100 per style. Available in over 25 retail boutiques and many more online, Posh Mommy gives moms the chance to show off their kids in style, whether they're at the playground or out for date night. Prices start at $50 and up.
Available at www.poshmommyjewelry.com.
Custom planners, journal or art (using photos) - We all have great pictures, but what to do with them? Turn your photos into personalized gifts. At a company called Tiny Prints, you can upload your photos and turn them into planners, journals and mounted wall art (for your desk or wall). Prices vary, but these personalized journals are only $8.
Available at http://www.tinyprints.com/.
Gift For The Person Who Has Everything:
Make Your Own Action Hero - Make your own custom male or female action figure using just two photo images. This "Harry Smith" action figure is from Herobuilders.com (the company produces everything in their Connecticut studio.) Built-into this little doll is a micro-chip where you can record any 20 second message. The talking figures are $399.00 (then $49.95 for any subsequent copies). To adorn your action figure, check out their 70 accessories (Harry doll has a blackberry in hand) and have the capabilities to make any outfit or custom accessory needed (including paint tattoos).
Available at www.Herobuilders.com.
Personalized stockings - These personalized snowflake stockings from Walmart are a steal! They're $15 and free shipping.
Available at Walmart.com.
Personalized stickers & postage stamps - Make your presents or cards strictly personal with these stickers and postage stamps from "The Butter." Postage stamps $45 for 1 Sheet (20 postage stamps) and $30 for 25 stickers.
Available at http://www.thebutternyc.com/products/Dots-and-Stripes-Postage-Stamp.html.