It really is the thought that counts.
Sometimes this cliché gets thrown around when gifts don’t always land with the recipient, but perhaps it should instead be leading our gift-giving thought process.
After all, what everyone really wants is a gift that makes them feel special, known, and understood. They want to be thought of, remembered, and at the forefront of your mind when it comes time to pick out a gift.
Something thoughtful that invokes happy memories, like a special photo album or a personalized piece of art that can be cherished for a lifetime simply means the world — and they don’t go to waste in the “return” or “re-gift” piles.
If you’re looking for ideas for sentimental gifts that make your loved ones feel extra loved, you’ve come to the right place.
By the way, some of the products and links in this article are affiliates, which means we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Everything in this article was independently and honestly written by the Good Good Good team. Thank you for your support!
The Best Sentimental Gifts You Can Give Your Loved Ones
A Fujifilm Instax camera to document memories
The first step in sentimentality? Holding onto beloved memories! Instax cameras are great at providing that simultaneous instant gratification of a lovely photo with the classic vintage touch of holding a printed image in your hand.
Artifact Uprising photo prints
If you’re looking for larger photo prints, Artifact Uprising offers gorgeous prints in various sizes — and they’re made sustainably with recycled paper!
Shop: Artifact Uprising
An astrology book all about them
Calling all Leos! Consider an astrology book that takes your gift recipient on a trip to the stars to learn all about themselves and understand their full birth chart.
A personalized history book from the New York Times
Any history buffs in the house? The New York Times makes these beautifully bound books of all the front pages of the iconic paper from each of your gift recipient’s birthdays.
This is a meaningful way to look back on the years and get a larger picture of what was going on in the world with each rotation around the sun.
Shop: Uncommon Goods
A fancy book valet for their coziest reading endeavors
This one is for the bookworms.
Is it just me, or is it almost impossible to get fully comfortable when reading a book? You’ve got your book or e-reader, your favorite beverage, and maybe a snack or reading glasses — where does it all go?!
A book valet keeps everything in one place and helps your voracious reader move from reading nook to reading nook around the house.
A custom journal for their innermost thoughts
Giving someone a space to tell their story is one of the most empowering things you can do — even if it’s in the privacy of a personalized journal.
→ Check out our full guide to guided journals and self-care planners!
A set of personalized stationery
For all the words that they’ll share with the world, a set of personalized stationery gets our stamp of approval. This also makes a great gift for milestones like graduation or starting a new job!
→ Check out our favorite eco-friendly stationery brands!
An affirmation card deck
Who doesn’t love a good positive affirmation? Card decks like these are a great and simple way to tell someone you think they’re amazing — and that they should believe it.
This DIY picture book all about them
You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate a picture book! For the folks with big imaginations, give them the opportunity to write their story in picture-book format.
Shop: Uncommon Goods
An eco-friendly bouquet of flowers from ReVased
ReVased is a small women-owned flower delivery business that sustainably sources its stems from farms — and even donates flowers to nonprofits, too!
If you’re planning to gift someone a bouquet of flowers, nothing is quite as meaningful as this.
A book filled with things you love about them
If you’d rather do the creating, you can get an easy-to-fill book that helps you communicate all the things you love about this special person.
Framed artwork from a beloved artisan
Art prints can be so special and meaningful. Perhaps you’ve found a stunning watercolor image of their favorite flower or an abstract painting that would fit in perfectly with all of their other decor.
Check out any number of artisan marketplaces for the perfect piece!
A Storyworth subscription
Storyworth is a subscription service that sends your gift recipient weekly prompts, encouraging them to preserve memories or tell silly stories that are worth documenting.
Then, those stories can be printed in a beautiful book that can be cherished for a lifetime!
A print newspaper filled with good news
It’s all of the nostalgia of the newspaper your loved one grew up with… but with none of the bad news! We might be biased but a subscription to the Goodnewspaper might be the best gift out there.
A custom music box with a special tune
Music boxes are not just for tiny ballerinas anymore!
Get a custom keepsake box that contains a favorite photo — and plays a meaningful song when it’s opened.
A nice picture frame to hold your most cherished memories together
Once you have those printed photos we mentioned earlier, you’ll probably need a place to keep them. A beautiful picture frame is always such a special staple in any home — bonus points if it’s engraved or made from a special material that means something to your gift recipient!
A beautiful photo album or book
Maybe your loved one already has a wall full of photos or is running low on tabletop space. A photo album is another way to keep precious moments in one place.
This CatBird love letter necklace
This extra-special necklace from CatBird includes an engravable charm for you to write a tiny love letter to your gift recipient.
Made with 100% recycled solid 14k yellow gold, this charm will stay close to their heart for years to come.
Any personalized bracelet from Bauble Bar
Say something that sparkles. Whether you customize one of these bracelets with your gift recipient’s name, their child’s name — or heck, even their pet’s name — it’s sure to wow.
Shop: Bauble Bar
A family birthstone necklace
This is the surefire way to make your mom cry. A family birthstone necklace includes the stones of multiple family members, making a beautiful rainbow of gems that represent all the people you love most.
A botanical birth month jewelry dish
Does your gift recipient already have enough jewelry? There’s a good chance they don’t have a place to store it!
Get them a beautifully unique jewelry dish adorned with the flower that corresponds to their birth month.
A Viewfinder of all your favorite moments together
If you’re interested in going a more playful direction, a Viewfinder (and an accompanying custom photo reel) takes a nostalgic and beloved toy and makes it all yours.
A candle that smells like home
Well, we can’t always recreate your grandma’s lasagna, or the exact combination of ocean water and seagulls-carrying-french-fries, but we sure can try.
→ Need more inspiration? Explore this guide of eco-friendly candles!
A beautiful map of their favorite place
Need the perfect keepsake to remember that life-changing adventure? Get a map of your honeymoon destination, the city where you met, or just the place you call home.
A set of glasses etched with the map of their favorite city
Whether you want to remember the times you spent in a specific city, or you want to invoke memories of their hometown, grab a set of glasses that outline that special place.
Pro tip? Get a bottle of whiskey or a bag of coffee beans from that place to make the drink in the glass even more sentimental.
→ Want something nice but a little less customized? Check out our favorite recycled glassware!
A map of the night sky on a special date or anniversary
We often think of a place as the pin on the map, pointing to a building or a street name. But a place in time is also written in the stars.
Capture their most meaningful memories as a grid of the night sky: the day their child was born, the night you met, or the moment you said “I do.”
This bracelet that contains sand from their favorite beach
Experiencing the perfect beach getaway often makes you wish you could just bottle up the moment and keep it forever.
While this item can’t exactly create the magic that would keep you from your desk job forever, it does remind your loved one of a favorite trip to your choice of one of thousands of beaches around the globe.
Shop: Uncommon Goods
A blueprint of their favorite sports arena
Whether your gift recipient is a die-hard Cubs fan, never wants to forget the hot dog they ate at Dodger Stadium, or wants to remember their Eras Tour show from the iconic summer of 2023, this vintage-style blueprint poster will bring those core memories to life.
Or… a print of their favorite ski trails
If your loved one is more of a ski bunny than a sports fanatic, there’s something for them, too!
Get them an art print that follows their favorite ski trails or resorts from the majestic mountains.
For the homebody, a watercolor portrait of their home sweet home
And — if your person doesn’t quite have a taste for adventure and would prefer to stay home all day, we’ve got the thing for them, too.
A watercolor portrait of their beloved home — or the place they just moved into — is always a sweet touch.
An artistic portrait of their beloved pet
Call us biased, but most of all, we’d cherish a portrait of our furry friends. Pick from endless styles, formats, and finishes and put that beloved companion in the hall of fame where they belong.
An embroidered sweatshirt with their dog’s face on it
If your gift recipient would be more likely to carry their pooch on their person, an embroidered sweatshirt could be the way to go. These custom apparel items put those beloved pups right next to your heart to wear all day long.
A necklace personalized with their pet’s nose print
If you want to go a fancier route, a piece of jewelry makes for the perfect keepsake, as well. These necklaces can be personalized with their pet’s nose print!
The only tricky part will be actually acquiring a photo or print of that beloved boop.
→ Check out our full guide to gifts for animal lovers!
A monogrammed mug for their morning coffee
Although most of us already have a pretty robust collection of mugs, we all deserve a favorite. Get them a monogrammed mug that will earn the top spot on the shelf!
Their favorite sweet treat
Nothing says “I care about you” more than an invitation to enjoy something decadent. Chocolate, anyone?
→ Check out our full guide to the best consumable gifts for more ideas!
A cutting board inscribed with a beloved family recipe
Perfect to display in a kitchen or use for that show-stopping charcuterie board, these cutting boards are both meaningful and practical.
A cookbook filled with family recipes
Pass down generations of family recipes in a way that is both timeless and chic. Own those Jell-O salads and Christmas cookies with a simple custom cover that will quickly become a staple in the kitchen.
For the chef, a monogrammed knife
Knives are already a meaningful (and pricey) gift, so an extra few dollars to engrave them with your chef’s name or initials will make them that much more special.
Can I get a “yes, chef?!”
A personalized harvest basket for the green thumb among us
That seasonal produce deserves a beautiful place to land.
If your gift recipient is a gardening enthusiast, help them pick fruits and vegetables in style with this personalized harvest basket.
This long-distance favorite: The Lovebox
Go beyond text messages and send a message that means the world.
The Lovebox is a digital messenger that spins when your recipient receives a message. Different designs of the box allow users to send messages, emojis, and photos.
This turntable art print that features an upcycled customized record
Playlists and burned CDs are so yesterday. Take it to another level and share a list of songs via this beautiful art print that includes a real upcycled vinyl.
Shop: Uncommon Goods
An extra thoughtful gift box from Greetabl
Gone are the days of boring fruit baskets and impersonal corporate gifts.
Greetabl gives users the chance to personalize their (small but mighty) gift boxes with photos, meaningful messages, and hand-selected goodies.
A throw blanket stitched with a handwritten letter
Wrap them in love — literally. This blanket allows you to print a meaningful handwritten message right onto its soft and cozy threads.
A monogrammed passport holder
Have a globe-trotter in your midst? Get them a colorful custom passport holder for all of their travels!
It’s basically the equivalent of saying “I’ll miss you but at least you can see Italy in style.”
A personalized case for their playing cards
Poker player? Card game enthusiast? World champion of Spoons? Give them a place to store those playing cards that is alllll theirs.
This welcome mat that helps them say what they really feel
Letterfolk’s tile mats give people the freedom to switch out their doormat greetings with ease. Plus, they’re cute as all get-out.
If your gift recipient loves to host, always has something witty to say, or just loves to dedicate a moment to home design, this is for them.
An embroidered Boat & Tote from L.L. Bean
If you haven’t already fallen in love with L.L. Bean’s Boat & Tote bags from the iconic Instagram account @ironicboatandtote, allow us to introduce you to the tote bag of everyone’s dreams.
Get the bag embroidered with their initials, a favorite saying, or something Tom Wambsgans-approved.
Shop: L.L. Bean
A pair of custom-designed shoes
Take a cult-classic shoe like a Chaco sandal or some high-top Converse and make them totally unique!
Both shoe companies offer the option to create custom designs, with various colors, patterns, and embroidery. Help your favorite person step out in a way only they can.
This customizable camp flag to adorn their wall
Whether you’re calling back memories or sayings from your old summer camp days, or you just want to invite a playful and meaningful element of design to your loved one’s space, a camp flag is a great way to do so!
A whimsical night light engraved with their name
For those kiddos who are scared of the dark — or those grown-ups who trip on their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night — these personalized night lights are both cute and practical.
A pride flag to display with, well, pride
Nothing says “I love you and cherish our relationship” than a pride flag that symbolizes acceptance and joy.
Whether your loved one recently came out, or you want to celebrate their love for any occasion, find their pride flag design and let that thing wave!
→ Explore our full guide of LGBTQ+ pride flags!
A donation to their favorite cause or charity
At the end of the day, none of us really need a custom shirt or necklace. If you’re still stuck on how to share a meaningful gift with your loved ones, consider donating to their favorite cause or charity.
You can set up donations in their name, print off a fun certificate they can frame, or talk about what kind of difference this gift can make.
Donate: Check out this ultimate list of nonprofit organizations