7 ideas for Giving Gifts that Matter Graphic


We all want to give memorable gifts to loved ones— gifts that matter. Even with all the ads and sales, it can be hard to find a gift your loved one will cherish.

Here are few ideas to jump-start your giving lists. Many more are on my Gifts that Matter Pinterest board.

Things you can buy

Yes, you can buy, as opposed to make, a gift that matters. It doesn’t even have to be expensive. The key is thinking carefully about what your loved one values and enjoys, or how they spend their time. Simply buying something from a favorite store shows thoughtfulness.

Gifts that matter for hobbyists

Practical and fun: gifts that matter to photographers from Photojojo.com

You can find a gift that honors their hobby or vocation. For instance, I know a choral director that was tickled pink (or green) to receive a conducting baton in Michigan State colors.

Keeping your special someone’s heritage in mind will also help you find gifts that matter. Gifts from their hometown or food from ‘the old country’ make great gifts. Similarly, gifts that honor their faith of values almost always land well, as do any gifts that involve a favorite quote or sentiment.

Hint: If you strike out at your local stores (which I firmly believe in supporting), Google can be your personal shopping assistant.

Splurge Gifts that Matter

This doesn’t have to be as expensive as the title implies, especially if you have a cheap skate someone who is careful with his or her money on your giving list. Finding gifts that matter can be as simple as figuring out what they’re tempted to buy for themselves but don’t. One of the most thoughtful gifts I ever received was from my dad. He gave me 20 single dollar bills with instructions to use them to upgrade from the lowest price Subway sandwich to one I really wanted.

Time you spend

Gifts that matter books for bedtime

This pin suggests giving a stack of children’s books for bedtime reading

Gifts that involve you spending time with your loved ones are inherently gifts that matter. Plus, you get to have fun too! Such gifts include books you read with a child, jigsaw puzzles you work with your aunt (HINT), or games you play with the family.

Things you Make = Gifts that Matter

Ugly sweaters aside, most things you make will end up mattering to your loved ones. Again, see the Pinterest board for more ideas or to follow the pins to the websites with instructions.

Gifts for Relatives

You can turn artwork into refrigerator magnets or greeting cards. For your significant other, you can morph your love letters into napkins. Almost anything with a child’s hand or foot print will make a wonderful gift: aprons, napkins, cards, or tree decorations.

Memory Gifts

Memory gifts that matter

Make an old house key into a bracelet, such as this one from hautelook.com

Think about how you can up-cycle old items into memory gifts that matter. The key to your first home can make a beautiful ornament or a vacation map can be turned into coasters. You can re-purpose vintage jewelry or make a wine bottle from a special occasion into a lamp. Of course, writing about your memories goes at the top of this list.

Family Tree Gifts

You can hardly go wrong with family tree gifts. If your loved one is into genealogy, they’ll love that you embrace their quest. If they aren’t, they’ll appreciate a gift about their heritage that they didn’t have to research.


You loved one doesn’t have to actually receive a gift to be moved by it. Find a cause that they support and make a gift in their honor. We usually think of doing this when someone dies, but this is a great gift for any occasion.

Your Turn

What’s the most meaningful gift you ever received? Do you have an idea for a gift that matters?

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