Clever monogram ideas for backpacks, towels and more.

What's in a monogram? Conventional thinking defines it as a three-letter statement of initials, but it has the potential to be much more. After all, Lands' End provides the option of using 10 letters for just $8. Unless you happen to have an exceptionally long name, that leaves the possibility for creative wordplay wide open. Below is a sampling of some of our favorite new monogram ideas—and just in time to provide someone with a truly one-of-a-kind holiday gift.

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Instead of adding a kid's name or initials to a backpack (safety first!), think about the future. Your animal-loving fifth grader might be a "future vet." Or your favorite numbers cruncher, a "math whiz." Make it a game – see who can come up with the most fun in ten letters or fewer.

Want to make sure bath towels are fresh? Monogram each with a day of the week: that way you'll know exactly how many days it's been in use, giving you an easy way to mark the next rotation.

If you or someone on your list is a farmer's market devotee, consider marking some canvas totes with whatever ingredients they'll be used to hold: one labeled vegetables, one for fruits, and depending on tastes, one for pickles.

Getting uniforms for a softball team or bowling league doesn't have to be complicated. Just consider monogramming the name of each member on a polo shirt.

For some, cotton cardigans will always be thought of as "the mom sweater" for their history of hiding baby spit-up, helping her ease back into work or giving her a boost on low-sleep days. Is there a mom in your life with a professed love for cardigan sweaters? Add "best mom" to the cardigan via monogram and present it as a badge-of-achievement gift.

Something as cozy, casual, and personal as a bath robe is ideal for monogramming. Even non-morning people can enjoy spending the moments of day in a terry cloth robe, particularly if it bears a relatable message like "#morecoffee" or the simple plea, "coffee plz."

Alternatively, you emblazon a long fleece robe with something more aspirational, like "awake." Or if it's the kind of thing the wearer is more likely to lounge about in, consider a fitting mantra like "relax."

No conversation on monograms could be complete without mention of a button-down shirt. If there is ever a question of which shirt is better suited to the office and which is more at home on the weekend, spelling out "work" and "play" above the pocket will provide a final answer.

The attention that a handshake brings to the cuff of a button-down shirt makes it a natural monogram setting. But instead of initials, think of adding something that goes with a handshake. Perhaps a simple "hello."

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