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Our founder’s gift picks and stylish entertaining tips

by Framebridge Editorial
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December 01, 2023
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5 min read

From custom-framed artifacts and exclusive art prints to stylish jewelry and decadent desserts, Susan Tynan (Framebridge Founder & CEO) shares her curated gift guide of beautiful, meaningful ideas for everyone on her list. Get inspired by what she’s framing, gifting and celebrating this holiday.

Celebrate what’s meaningful to you

I sincerely believe that if you surround yourself with the things that remind you of the highlights of your life, you'll feel more gratitude for the things you've done and it'll propel you to incorporate more of those things in your life. Surrounding yourself with life’s artifacts is inspiring and brings you joy on a daily basis.

I also think design is fun–I want to click to buy everything I see and am inspired by on Instagram–but I want my home to look like my home. Framing is a great way to have some personality come through in your space, and you can do this through holiday decorating too.

Through the years we’ve collected Framebridge ornaments, so our tree is loaded up with them. The frame style of this year's design is Newport, which is always my can't-go-wrong recommendation when people ask about framing–especially as a gift because it really fits in any decor. I always order a bundle because I can't narrow down the best highlights of the year, and I always include one of our dog, Cobber, too. It's really a beautiful way to commemorate something special, and the size and price is perfect for a gift for a neighbor or friend too. I've hung our ornaments on a garland before, but this year I'm using them as place cards for my guests.

Keep tradition–but mix in new ones 

The holidays for me are definitely a blend of recreating traditions I grew up with and really creating fresh traditions. I love references to old traditions, but I never think you have to be beholden to them. Sometimes you can mix it up. 

I’ve tried to take a cue from my kids about what matters to them. When they were little, we started allowing them to open one gift the night before to let a little air out, so that they could go to sleep. We can’t stop that tradition! We're big on Christmas music too–from classical (King's College Cambridge, Mormon Tabernacle Choir) to pop (Mariah Carey and Wham, of course). There's a version of "Let There Be Peace on Earth" by the Boys Choir of Harlem that is so beautiful–it makes me weep every time. My kids are tweens/teens, but we all still love Burl Ives' version of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." 

I also love putting up the tree–and it’s a maximalist tree that’s for sure. It's one of the most special days of the year and it has to pair with a cozy meal like turkey chili or pasta bolognese. My kids joke that I rearrange the ornaments once they leave the room to get the look I like! I am very serious about the order of operations for tree trimming too (big lights, small lights, globe ornaments, decorative ornaments). I'm usually pretty laid back about traditions but that process, invented by my dad, has no wiggle room. 

Give gifts that truly mean something 

I have seen time and time again, people looking at a framed photo that they’ve seen before–or maybe that they’ve posted on social media–having an emotional reaction when they see it framed. There is something really powerful about it. Framing is the thing that makes something last, makes it real. 

Framing as a gift is really personal, and that's what I love about what we do. We allow people to reflect on highlights of other people's years and celebrate them. It’s a compliment to the recipient, it’s an acknowledgment that something really special happened. Going to a concert with your nieces is really special, and remembering the beach you grew up on is really special. We've seen many people frame matchbooks or menus from a favorite restaurant or a momento from a big event–like the cocktail napkin from a wedding. The holiday season is a chance to relive the big moments from the year. 

A Framebridge gift allows people to pause on Christmas morning. There's a flurry of opening gifts, but there's a minute of reflection when you give a Framebridge item. I think about that every year when I think about just the volume of gifts we're shipping out, about what that means for so many families who are getting the most special moments.

5 things I’m framing for my family this holiday:

  1. Obviously I have an Eras Tour poster to frame. My sister bought the tickets as last year’s Christmas gift, so I'm going to float mount it for her in Irvine Slim and thank her for treating me and my girls to the concert of a lifetime in a story pocket.
  2. I have a vintage photo of the beach that my husband grew up on in Australia that I bought the last time we were there. I'm framing it for him in Black Walnut with the name of the beach engraved on a brass plate. That'll be a big hit.
  3. We also did an awesome spring break trip to Paris as a family, so I will definitely frame a photo for my husband in Georgetown and I’ll add a story pocket with details from our trip (including the sneaky way we were first in line to see the Mona Lisa!).
  4. My parents just moved nearby from Cleveland, Ohio, so I’ve been thinking about framing them a sketch of their old house in Richmond and adding our old address in a mat caption.
  5. This year, we have a giftable print collaboration to share: Clare V. (the LA/Paris chic fashion brand). I'm going to give this Égalité Art Print to my daughters. 

My go-to gifts for hosts:

  1. Avaline wine (100% organic, easy ordering) & Athletic Brewing IPA (non-alcoholic and so delicious…one of my favorite finds of the year).
  2. Two great female founders started this mixer company, Navy Hill. Their Soda & Tonic really ups your entertaining game.
  3. The 7-Layer Southern Chocolate from Caroline's Cakes is my Christmas dinner dessert tradition because it is the cake of my dreams. The cakes ship reliably and freeze well. I think Oprah picked these cakes in the past, but I'm sure I've ordered more at this point!
  4. I order the Cinnamon Roll Kringle every year from O&H Danish Bakery as a Christmas morning treat. The backstory is hilarious: it was a gift from an accountant in the early years of Framebridge, but now it’s a tradition for my family on Christmas morning. Here's the Kringle–order one! I swear I'm not affiliated with this happy treat.  
  5. Gaby Dalkin of What's Gaby Cooking is my favorite food influencer/author. She just launched her own spice collection, so I'll be gifting Dalkin & Co Lemon Pepper.
  6. I love the founding story and the beautiful Indian spices from Diaspora & Co spices. The Trio makes a perfect gift.

More inspired gift ideas:

  1. Pomela Casa mugs make coffee more fun every morning. I think they are so beautiful and just one or a set make a perfect gift.  
  2. Earrings anyone would like by Ana Luisa. My sister gifted them to me and then my daughter asked for a pair as well. 
  3. I gifted this Faherty half-zip to my dad and he said it was the most comfortable he ever wore.
  4. Fitness gifts can be rude, but recovery gifts are always nice! This Therabody Recovery Cube is cool for an athlete on your list.
  5. I've also gifted Bala bangles to everyone. The colors are fun and they are a low pressure workout gift.

For more thoughtful gift ideas and inspo, visit The Holiday Shop

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