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If you frequently find yourself trapped in a cycle of giving generic gifts, selecting something off a wishlist, or just giving cash or gift cards — you’re not alone. It can be difficult to think beyond the practical to select items that will delight and surprise your giftee. If you’re looking to truly impress your loved ones you’ll want to choose gifts that are custom, unique, and thoughtful. The best gifts will convey just how much you care by referencing fun memories, inside jokes, and hidden interests.
We’ve compiled 41 sentimental gifts, which include a flower subscription, a customized puzzle, a personalized photo book, and more. Each of these gifts are sure to make your giftee feel special and remind them of special memories and events. If you’re looking for more gift ideas, be sure to check out all of our gift guides here.
Below are 41 sentimental gift ideas:
Skip gifting cheap and cheesy chocolates and go for something a little more elevated with Bon Bon Bon’s box builder. Our pick for best truffles and ganaches, we love Bon Bon Bon for its unique packaging as well as unconventional flavors such as Strawberry Balsamic, PB & Jam, and Bourbon. The box builder allows you to create a box by price range, by your giftee’s favorite flavors, or even by clicking a random selection function. Each bonbon comes individually wrapped in its own box, and you can even purchase a bonbon passport to mark off your favorite flavors as you explore them all.
A monogrammed notebook
Whether they love making lists or writing through new ideas, every writer needs a durable, trusted notebook to store their notes and stories. These unique notebooks can be customized with a monogram and lined, dotted, or plain pages. The notebooks come in solid colors as well as several fun designs including the brands The Pahari, Constellation, and Colourblock styles.
A book for your favorite astrology lover
If they know their sun, moon, and rising sign, this made-to-order astrology book will make the perfect gift. Simply provide their birthday and time of birth and the company will create a 70-page book with information and insights customized from their birth chart.
A set of low-maintenance plants
Add some greenery into their space with this set of easy-to-care-for plants from The Sill. Choose from sets of three to seven plants that change seasonally.
A fresh flower subscription
Instead of gifting flowers solely during holidays and special occasions, send them beautiful arrangements on a more consistent basis with a subscription from Fresh Sends. Choose from three delivery frequencies and two size options for a unique bouquet every time.
A calendar full of cherished personal photos
Photos of loved ones are an instant source of joy, and structuring our daily life around them with a calendar is a great way to fill each day with more gratitude and happiness. Artifact Uprising’s desktop calendar is sustainably made from reclaimed wood and fully customizable. You can also choose the calendar’s starting month, so you don’t have to wait for a new year to create one.
A cube of conversation-starting prompt cards
Never experience another boring dinner again with these cards from Table Topics. Each cube comes with 135 thought provoking topic cards to help keep your meals and relationships interesting. With six themed options ranging from card sets for families, couples, and friends you’ll give them the chance to get to know everyone in their life a little better.
A customized puzzle
Help them stay entertained this winter by gifting them a customized puzzle of their favorite picture. This puzzle also comes with a customized box, making this gift even more special. Choose from any image to commemorate a special event, remember a great vacation, or show love to their favorite pet.
A video montage of and from their loved ones
During these times, they might not be able to get together with their family or friends, but you can ask everyone to record and upload videos to be automatically compiled, scored, and delivered for a thoughtful present that’s sure to bring on happy tears.
An astrology necklace
Get them their zodiac sign in gold, if they’re into that sort of thing. Mejuri offers all signs in its Zodiac Collection in gold vermeil, sterling silver, and 14k yellow gold.
A custom night sky star map to commemorate a birth, anniversary, or any other day their stars aligned
Commemorate any special night of their (or your) life by getting it printed on museum-quality 200gsm Matte paper or on canvas.
An e-gift card to Goldbelly
Whether you spend most of your time together trying out different recipes — or they’re often treating you to a delicious meal — you may want to turn your gift into a thoughtful, shared experience.
Wherever they are in this big old world, they can call in any comforting favorite they please from Goldbelly.
A bottle of bourbon every bit as unique as they are
If they’re bourbon drinkers, nautical-obsessed, or both, they might just cherish this forever.
An Airbnb gift card
Travel might not be an option right now, but Airbnb is currently offering Online Experiences held by instructors from around the world. Treat them to a coffee master class, history lesson, or even a dance class. And in the meantime they can daydream about their next far-flung adventure or cozy staycation.
Plan a meaningful trip
Help them plan a getaway that’s closer to home with Journy’s staycation planning. The online startup acts like a personal travel concierge for $60 per day. An expert takes into account your preferences, plans, and feedback to design the ideal trip — including booking hotels and making dinner reservations. Journy is keeping up-to-date information on COVID-related policies and guidelines and specifically recommends accommodations and activities that are COVID safe. Find more details on the service here.
A custom map poster
Grafomap is a website that lets you design posters with maps of any place in the world — including their hometown, college town, or favorite travel destination.
A personalized photo book
Convert their pile of photos and favorite mementos into one glossy book they can showcase around the home for a cohesive, beautiful keepsake.
Expertly framed memories
Framebridge makes custom framing for not-custom-framing prices. You can print or paint something on your own and have it framed, or have them print and frame it, and you can take advantage of a team of designers to help decide what frame to get.
An engraved timepiece
If you’re looking for subtle and impactful, engraving a watch is a classic for a reason. They can keep it forever, wear it every day, and know how much personal significance it has without always answering questions from onlookers. It’s functional, thoughtful, and timeless.
A custom-made comic book telling your shared story
If you have the means, few comic book nerds would turn down owning a detailed, beautifully designed comic book featuring them as the lead character or superhero, or a comic book version of the story of how they met their partner. Purchase the comic, email the makers telling them your story, and send in photos of the characters and event setting to make sure everything looks right. You’ll see a rough draft, send back any edits you have, and they’ll complete the final copy. Opt for a digital print (emailed) or get it sent to you as a canvas print.
A personalized letter necklace
AUrate offers engravings and personalized jewelry like this necklace with a mini letter charm. Pick a letter and select from 14-karat or 18-karat white, yellow, or rose gold. Learn more about online startups making sustainable, relatively affordable fine jewelry here.
A framed quote
Frame one of their favorite quotes, lyrics, or sayings and customize everything from font color to matting to make it theirs.
A family portrait that includes pets
Get a digital download of a custom family portrait that includes their furry roommates.
A custom pet portrait
If they love their pet more than pretty much anything in the world, a Pet Portrait immortalizing them is a uniquely thoughtful gesture — and decor they’re unlikely to already have. You can also get them a custom painting (from $250) if that’s more their style, or a framed print (from $79) of them with their pet.
A spoon with a sweet engraving
For a daily reminder of how much you love them, get them a spoon engraved with a sweet message.
A cute set of mugs
Turn your family, friends, or a newly-engaged couple into characters that actually look like them on a cute set of mugs they can keep around the home. One side features the artists’ depiction of them (personalized through your choices of skin tone, hair, and clothing color) and the mug owner’s first name, while the other displays your family name and year established — for friends, this could be the year you met.
Turn meaningful audio into art
Send in a song and artist, link, or email an audio file of you or a loved one speaking, and this Etsy shop will turn it into personalized sound-wave art. This gift is particularly thoughtful for long-distance relationships or for commemorating a loved one.
Long-distance touch lamps
Everyone is busy these days, and it’s not as easy to keep up with loved ones as we all wish. A set of paired lamps, one of which lights up when the other is touched, lets them know you’re still thinking of them even when you don’t have time to talk. One Insider Reviews editor uses them to keep in touch with her parents.
90 tiny messages in a bottle
Write 90 tiny personal messages to a loved one and stuff them inside these cute capsules for easy, daily reminders of love — none of which you have to remember to send every morning.
Handmade rings with engravings of the actual fingerprints and handwriting of a loved one
Custom-design these sterling silver, 18K gold vermeil, or rose Gold vermeil rings with the actual fingerprint and handwriting (or text, if you prefer) of a loved one.
Brightly embroidered pillows of their favorite state
A photo print of an important life moment
Commemorate the moment their path first crossed in a sophisticated, unique design.
Personalized wine labels
Celebrate a loved one’s birthday, achievements, or new life stages such as a marriage with a bottle of wine and a thoughtful, personalized label they’ll want to keep.
The blueprint of a beloved ski resort
Whether they grew up on the slopes or drag friends and family along as adults, skiers can take their favorite slopes home with them with this blueprint-inspired art. Featuring iconic ski resorts such as Park City, Vail, and Breckenridge, each officially licensed print is created with a vintage, distressed finish and contains detailed historical and statistical facts about the area.
A bound book of love letters, curated from A-Z
Follow 26 prompts laid out in old-school typewriter font to leave your loved one with a bound book of love letters they can keep forever — the perfect spot for recording your favorite romantic moments, memories, inside jokes, and all the tiny and enormous reasons why you love them.
A poster of you and a loved one characterized by your favorite drinks
Whether you’re turning a best friend or a lifelong partner into a cocktail avatar, the quirky Personalized Drinks Print is a sweet and fun approach to sentimental gifting.
A portable printer
Polaroid’s Wireless Mini Printer prints mini photos from your phone or tablet using a Wi-Fi connection. It’s small enough to be stowed in a purse for travel, and there are customizable features like stickers, filters, and borders to edit photos within the Polaroid app.
A reel viewer filled with snapshots of old memories
As a kid, flipping through a reel viewer was one of life’s greatest joys, and just because they’re all grown up doesn’t mean they won’t like playing with the gadget. Fill the reel with snapshots of their most cherished memories (use the redemption code included with your viewer) for a gift that’ll flood them with all sorts of nostalgia.
A custom watercolor of their wedding venue
For a deeply thoughtful gift for newlyweds, commission a custom watercolor of their wedding venue or location. All you’ll have to do is send the artist a photo of the location and the couple’s first and last names and wedding date.
A candle that smells like home
It’s hard to put a finger on just what makes home smell like home, but a whiff of a Homesick candle will transport them there with its nostalgia-inducing scents. Uniquely specific scents are made to capture the ethos of states, cities, and even memories like road trips, backyard BBQs, and cooking in Grandma’s kitchen. If they’re far from home, this affordable candle is a small but meaningful gesture that can bring them just a little closer.
A cutting board that memorializes a meaningful recipe
There’s something about family recipes that make them taste even better. This cutting board offers a unique way to preserve those special family favorites. Ingredients and directions are engraved on solid cherry wood, and can even be etched in the recipe writer’s handwriting.