The Etsy Gift that Made My Mom Cry (In a Good Way!)

updated Nov 20, 2019
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It’s the holiday season, which means it’s time to do some gift shopping! We’re sharing our favorite picks for anyone on your list—check out all of our gift guides here!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that mothers are difficult to shop for. While there are about a million things your mom would be happy to receive, nothing feels quite good enough to gift the woman who gave you life. You can’t just give her a candle and be done with it. There has to be thought behind it; there has to be meaning. Every year I think long and hard about what to gift my mom, and every year I feel like I fail. But I am not a quitter, and last year I found The Perfect Gift.

A little background: I’m one of four siblings, with two brothers who are on the Autism Spectrum. As you might expect, family pictures are not easy. My brothers do not like sitting still for longer than 15 seconds, and my youngest brother only likes to wear the same red shirt and red shorts when he’s in the house. While we do have a couple pictures of all of us together, they aren’t what you would describe as “good”—at least two of us aren’t looking at the camera and all of us look a tad harried. The last time we had a professional photograph taken of all six of us was in 2007, and that picture is still hanging in the entryway to our house.

Then I heard about custom illustrated portraits on Etsy, and I knew it was the best gift for my mom. After doing some research, I chose the Printable Wisdom shop and sent in my request. The process involves sending a few pictures of each family member, and specifying things like eye color, hair length, and height. For my youngest brother, I asked if she could illustrate him wearing his favorite red outfit and holding a piece of long ribbon (which he is never without). After a few rounds of back and forth to get everyone just right, the portrait was done—and I had never been so excited to give a present before.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get my portrait in time for Christmas morning. It was my fault for waiting until December to jump on it, and then the back and forth added some time. On Christmas morning I showed my mom the final proof on my computer, and she was so excited. Yes, there were tears, but also laughter at how cute everyone looked. Shortly afterwards, the physical portrait arrived, and my mom immediately had it framed and hung in our entryway, right next to the older professional photo from last decade. It’s a great conversation piece when guests come over, and it’s something I know my mom will cherish forever.

Credit: Donna Lund
Our family portrait!

If you want to buy your own custom portrait, here’s what you need to know: Turnaround time is 3-4 weeks, and pricing starts at $60. You can’t buy it framed, but you can choose prints ranging in size from 5″x7″-18″x24″. Pricing is based on size and also number of people (and pets). If you don’t want to do a full family portrait, you can also do a couples portrait. I can confirm that it’s a one-of-a-kind holiday present—but if you want to gift this to someone, get started soon!