Yesterday I was talking to a mom who told me that she specifically adds “No Gifts Please” to all her sons’ birthday party invitations. They are 9 and 7. Invariably, she said, someone will call or text saying, “Are you sure? Can’t I bring a little something?” Her response is always, “No. We have too many things.”
I am always on the lookout for meaningful gifts for this very reason. Many people have too many things. Gifts that are memorable, meaningful, and heartfelt are the very best kind, but they can sometimes be hard to come by. For the last My Favorite Things post this month, I want to provide some fantastic gift options for you all in one place. You can Bookmark or Pin this post to come back to for holidays, birthdays, graduations, milestones, anniversaries, thank-yous and other special occasions.
Family-Related Gifts to Encourage Connections
As I mentioned last week, sometimes connections between family members happen naturally, and sometimes they need a little orchestration. Each of these links has many suggestions for specific age groups that involve (or are related to) the whole family, so enjoy exploring them. The gift ideas here foster connections.
- Gift Ideas for the Whole Family
- Family-Themed Gift Ideas for Kids
- Interactive Gift Ideas for Teenagers
- Family-Centered Gift Ideas for Grown-Ups
- Family stories are a gift! They help kids cope, they help heal from grief, and they especially empower kids.
One of the best family-related gifts I’ve ever given was a personalized deck of playing cards. My only regret is that I did not take a picture of them before I sent them off! But this gift was a huge hit, and continues to be to this day. On my husband’s side of the family, a favorite family game involves many suits of cards. While this game is easily purchased in stores, I decided to actually create my own deck of cards, replacing the suits with family members’ names and faces. So instead of a suit of stars, for example, I made a suit of Grandmas with the word “Grandma” along the top and a picture of her. I made a little suit (9 cards each) for each family member. There are names and pictures for each of the family members. I can’t say it enough: it was a huge hit!
This is a picture of a different playing card deck I made, so you’ll have to use your imagination. (I made this deck, obviously, to be recipes to share instead of a card game.) You can learn how to make your own playing card deck at this tutorial video. (You create the cards online and then they are published and shipped to your door. They come in a plastic case like you see here.)
Special Someone Gifts
Whether for a close friend or a spouse, for a birthday or anniversary, it’s especially nice to give a meaningful gift from the heart to someone special. Most of these links have several suggestions:
- for friends, sweethearts, and classmates
- Five Amazing Gift Ideas Under $35
- the gift of words: “You Can’t Re-Read a Phone Call”
- appreciation/”reasons I love you” book (with video tutorial)
- Building Self-Esteem through Family Stories and Personal Messages
I will be so bold as to say that everyone needs to be appreciated! Having some great resources like this when a special day comes along is pretty fantastic.
One of my favorite “special someone” gifts is a Reasons I Love You book. I actually wrote a little about it in the “You Can’t Re-Read a Phone Call” post I linked above since it was a gift of words. For my husband’s 40th birthday, my kids and I wrote out 40 reasons we love him, and I included pictures of us all over the years. It is a precious book. (Read the post to find out his reaction!)
Any little thing that’s heartfelt can make a wonderful gift. For over 20 years, I had a piece of real mistletoe hanging up at Christmastime. (I literally hung it until it fell to pieces.) My husband volunteered as a Boy Scout leader the year after we got married. Hiking in the woods in California, he happened upon some mistletoe, growing right there in the wild! He picked it, and I suppose put it in his backpack, and brought it home as a little gift for me. Now mistletoe isn’t anything wonderful, but the fact that it has the idea of romance attached to it made it a sweet little gift.
The gifts in all these links I’ve provided will give you a lot of ideas to choose from as birthdays, thank yous, anniversaries, holidays, and other special occasions come along.
We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it. ~John Lennon