Some of you brave souls actually went Black Friday shopping. I know this not from personal experience, but from the pictures I saw on tv. You are warriors, my friends! You actually went out of your house (by choice) to snag up on doorbuster deals at your local brick-and-mortar stores. Admirable, your bravery. I salute your dedication to the cause.
I waited until Cyber Monday to pick up a few gifts whose price tags I could not resist. Yesterday, I bought two sleeping bags for little more than a song and hurdled exactly zero shopping carts during the purchase. Hurrah!
Today, I’m a little nostalgic for the most epic gifts I ever bought.
Several years ago, I had become weary of shopping.
I wanted to give something more personal… more thoughtful…something with meaning.
Instead of trying to dream up the perfect gift for several individuals with varied tastes, I decided to order a dozen custom t-shirts for my dad’s side of the family.
My grandfather was a coal miner, and my father and his nine brothers and sisters grew up in a coal mining camp in Coalgood, Kentucky. I found a picture online of the tokens that the coal mining company minted to pay wages to their employees. I selected the $20 token with “Mary Helen Coal Corporation” stamped on it. I uploaded the photo and placed in squarely on the t-shirt. I chose a charcoal grey t-shirt to compliment the coppery-bronze patina of the token. Once the design was perfected, I selected each family member’s size and made the purchase.
The custom t-shirts were a huge hit. The token printed on the t-shirts was a piece of my family’s collective history, and had meaning for each of them. We sat together after opening gifts and talked about their childhood.
My dad remembered using these coins to ride the bus into town and to buy a movie ticket at the Margie Grand Theater. My aunt remembered buying her first pair of new shoes at the Mary Helen Coal commissary with these tokens. Almost-forgotten stories of childhood were shared by my uncles. Some of these were heard for the first time by grandchildren. These were not only the easiest gifts I selected and purchase, they are easily the most “talked-about” presents I ever gave.
Here at BlueCotton, we’re dedicated to making things easy. The easier it is for you, the more we like it. Would you believe you can take care of everyone on your list in one fell swoop, and give them a unique gift they will remember? You can, and I’ll show you in 5 easy steps how it’s done.
1. Think about your extended family. I know it’s all-at-once painful and hilarious – like hitting your funny bone, but do it anyway. Do you have a nifty story in your ancestry that would translate well to a t-shirt design? Mike Coffey (our CEO) has a family-owned gas station in his history. My maternal great-grandfather once owned a motel. Any kind of business works well on a t-shirt, and makes for great storytelling when you’re with the family. Better yet, invent one! Does your family like coffee? You could create a Coffee House with your last name – or a Hunting Lodge, or a Ski Resort, or a Drag Strip. The possibilities here are endless – whatever fictional business or activity would appeal to your family works perfectly.
2. Go to BlueCotton.com and start your design! You can use our clip art archives, or upload photos of your own. Do you have a picture of great-great-great-great Grandpa Chester? Upload that old photo of him with his Model-T and share it with everyone on a t-shirt. Family trees also make for great designs. Maybe you can finally figure out how you’re related to that cousin twice removed. Enlist assistance from other family members to fill in the blanks.
3. Once your design is ready for prime time, you can begin adding your sizes. Refer to your list, and add sizes next to their name. Tally up the sizes and enter them in to the Design Studio.
4. Checkout! During checkout, you may add additional shirts in another color, or another style. If you’d like a different color of shirt for Aunt Clara who strongly dislikes the green shirt you’ve chosen, you can add your design to a different color or different style while still enjoying the bulk pricing. See? I told you we like to make things easy.
5. Your order arrives! All your presents arrive together, and you never once had to stand in a line. You simply open the box, unfold them and wrap them. You could even take the easy way out by dropping them in those fancy printed bags, stuffing tissue paper in the top (or not), and slapping a tag on each one.
6. Be the hero and give a thoughtful family-themed custom t-shirt that they’ll remember!