The best gifts I’ve ever given, or received, have been the really personal, meaningful ones: My A necklace after Arlo was born, the custom ornament of Jeff’s childhood home, the photo books we put together each year. They’re things we’ll have forever, or wear every day. Today, I wanted to take a moment to round up some of my favorite personalized and sentimental gift ideas.
From family portraits to ways to commemorate family recipes to ways to turn a child’s drawing into a tangible gift and more! These gifts are perfect for parents, grandparents, best friends and any of those extra sentimental folks in your life. Several of these are items I own or have gifted, and almost every single item is from a small business!
1. Custom Cross Stitch Family Portrait: A unique take on a family portrait! Consider starting a tradition of documenting your family, and how it changes and grows, each year with a different style portrait every time!
2. Colorful Portrait Gouache Painting: Hands down, I will be commissioning one of these portraits. The colors pop so beautiful against the dark background. Commission one of a child, a family member who has recently passed or another person you want to honor in your home.
3. Initial Necklace: This is an item I wear every day. These necklaces are simple, delicate and beautiful. And you can send them back to add additional initials if and when your family grows.
4. Custom Plush Toy From a Drawing: How special would it be for a child to see a drawing come to life in stuffed animal form!? Guaranteed to blow their minds!
5. Freehand Embroidered Family Portrait: One of my most cherished positions is the freehand embroidered portrait Michael Birch-Pierce did of our son. Freehand! On a sewing machine! The talent.
6. Custom Watercolor House Portrait: If you know someone who moved into a new home recently, how perfect would this be? Same goes for someone who especially cherishes their childhood or family home. The watercolor style is stunning.
7. Birthstone Stacking Rings: I’m not typically one for birthstones but these rings are so simple and delicate, I absolute love them. They would be perfect for anyone who has a “stack” of rings/bands they add to for meaningful life events.
8. Personalized Photo Books: We make personalized photo books for the grandparents every year. This one makes it super simple because you can connect your Instagram and select photos from there, or simply upload from your camera roll!
9. Family Recipe Pie Plate: Have a cherished family recipe in your family? This would be the perfect way to commemorate it. This shop has all sorts of ceramic dishes and will print the handwritten recipe right on it! This is something I see being passed down for generations, just like the recipe on it. 😉
10. Custom Pet Magnet: Have a pet lover in your life? Make them a custom magnet of their little pet! Magnets are often overlooked as gifts but they are ALWAYS needed. I love giving and getting magnets, so practical and something the recipient will see every day on their fridge!
11. Custom Doll Portrait: I cannot tell you how badly I want a full doll portrait set of my entire family. How incredible is that!?!? They even customize the outfits, the whole thing! The comparisons of photo to doll are incredible.
Here’s another style of custom doll “portraits” that I love, too!
12. Plate with Child’s Drawing: Such a sweet gift for a parent, aunt, uncle or grandparent, a plate with a child’s drawing on it. Makes such a sweet and sentimental gift that you know they’ll keep forever.
13. Engraved Family Recipe Cutting Board: For the sentimental entertainer in your family, have a handwritten family recipe custom engraved into a cutting board! They can set it out at every gathering as a cheeseboard and it will be the perfect conversation piece.
14. Custom House Ornament: One of my favorite gifts I’ve ever given is the custom house ornament I had made of my husband’s childhood home. So much so that we got another one for a family gift this year!
15. Colorful Abstract Portrait: If you have a family member who loves color, one of these portraits would make the most perfect and unique gift.
Though Starters for Personalized and Sentimental Gifts
Here are a few questions to ask if you’re trying to figure out which of these are the perfect personalized gift for someone on your list:
- Is there a specific photo they love of someone close to them or someone who has passed? Turn it into a freehand stitched portrait!
- Do they love to cook or bake? Is there a family recipe they’re “famous” for? Engrave it on a cutting board!
- Is there a past home (or other building, like a local restaurant or family shop) that they always talk about? Have it memorialized in ornament, or painting, form!
- Are they a new parent? Give a gift with the child’s initial or birth stone.
- Do they always have their children’s art displayed on the fridge or in their office? Turn a favorite piece into a coin dish!
- Do they have a pet they cherish? Have a magnet made of their cute furry friend!
Photos by Jeff Mindell
Understandably, custom gifts can have quite a long lead time. Consider ordering as soon as possible. Or, if the shop can’t meat that Christmas deadline, wrap up a hint or preview of the gift instead! Gifts like these are always worth the wait.
Is there another sentimental gift you’ve given or received that was extra special to you? Would love to hear it below!