Laser Engraving Gifts for Christmas

Holiday season is right around the corner.

20230828 141943
Have your Christmas items ready by Thanksgiving.

Depending on your point of view, it may be unfortunate that we consider Christmas to be a time to maximize our revenues. Regardless, the Holiday season does offer us a chance to add items to our product offerings that can be carried every year or can be customized to suit a particular customer.

You can also take a standard item and add a specific date to celebrate a New Year. Remember that Thanksgiving really marks the unofficial start to the Holidays, so be ready to start on Christmas items then.

Please don’t forget our Jewish and Muslim friends, who also celebrate significant Holy Days around the same time of the year. They do have slightly different calendars, so timing can vary, but they’ll be close enough to build into the general Holiday Season.

Ornaments and beyond

The biggest opportunities will involve personalized gifts described in previous articles but don’t forget Christmas ornaments. Again, a wide range of materials can be used, but I have found wood or glass to be those most commonly requested.

20230828 142306
Engraved specialty cocktail glasses are a popular Christmas request from customers.

Metal and ceramic-marked items are popular as well. The processes to produce these pieces are basically no different than for any other item, using the suggested setting as a baseline. As always, judicious settings for power and shade on wood, in particular, and to a lesser extent on glass and metal, can achieve various results if you choose to keep the natural wood finish.

Color fill is another idea for ornaments and other wooden gifts, but please don’t forget that this will be time-consuming, and your pricing will have to reflect that. I have found it necessary to limit the number of color-filled items to three per customer and produce no more than six at any one time in order to help reduce the time spent on color-filling. I will usually offer to mail a customer order if I don’t have enough pieces on hand. Never give a customer an excuse not to buy!

We are fortunate enough to have two universities here in town and a third a few miles away, as well as two high schools. This is a great source for all sorts of gifts, again covering the whole gamut of objects using the school logos, including Christmas ornaments, barware, glassware, etc. Please, though, get permission to use the logos. Many schools and universities have licensed their logos to third parties, so be careful.

There are lots of open-source locations from which you can import designs. If you look hard enough, you can find editable vector art that you can manipulate to suit your, or your customer’s, own preferences. If not, tracing a jpeg design into an editable format will again afford you the chance to change things to your liking. Again — always remember to take any additional time into account for pricing.

A quick note about wooden ornaments: I use 1/8″ sheet stock of a medium hard wood. Softer woods, like bass wood for example, can be easier to work with, but are prone to burning more easily if you’re not careful.

If you are going to be making pieces that include cut-outs, remember to have sufficient margins so the piece doesn’t break up as soon as you finish it! I do some pieces which involve sandwiching two pieces of 1/16″ sheet stock but which have a different material in between the two pieces, and then glued together.

20230828 142141
Use caution with pieces with cutouts.


This is obviously essential around the holidays. If you are mailing out items, remember to keep in mind the volume of items going by mail, Fed Ex, UPS, DHL, etc. The “last date for delivery” your shippers will send are only guidelines, and you should plan on getting orders out for delivery no later than mid-December.

As far as taking orders is concerned, I try and set a final order date of Thanksgiving to ensure I have stock in hand, have enough time to produce the order, and ship it to the customer. (I have taken orders for local folks as late as Christmas Eve, though!).

The Holidays are stressful enough for business owners such as ourselves without getting worked up about getting orders done in time. If you have a backlog of orders, try and organize your work so that everything that needs a cutting table or a rotary adapter gets done at the same time so you’re not spending time chopping
and changing the configuration of your machine.

I’ve always been a Christmas nerd, OK? Even so, I find producing gifts for any of the Holiday Season to be a great way to get me really in the mood for the Season. Without backing yourself into a corner with a large volume of “Must have by…” orders, the Holiday Season makes working with your laser even more fun.

John Morman

John Morman

Celtic Tides

John Morman is the owner of Celtic Tides in Lexington, Virginia. He and his wife, Mary Jo, have been running the shop since 2005.

View all articles by John Morman  

Related Articles

Back to top button