Going Away Gifts Give one that matters

The most meaningful and thoughtful going away gifts evoke fond memories. This is on my mind as a dear friend’s daughter is moving from Michigan to Virginia for her first job.

Especially when the person moving is someone special to you, memory gifts make great going away gifts. As your kid goes away to college or close friend moves away, consider one of the following ideas. Most can be adapted to group gifts.

Scrapbooks and Photo Going Away Gifts

It’s hard to beat a scrapbook or photo collage when it comes to going away gifts. They don’t have to be fancy, either. When I left my office in Germany, I received a scrapbook of each of my co-workers sitting at their desks. Under each photo was a humorous caption of what that person might be saying. I loved this then and still enjoy it 20 years later.

Scrapbook as going away gifts

When my son went off to college, I make him a collage of hometown friends for his dorm room (I slipped a family photo in as well). For me it was a good way to make sure he had a reminder that he is loved.


If you’re making a scrapbook of local activities and people, see if you can include a picture of a recognizable community sign. If you can get a bunch of folks to pose around it, even better.

Of course, you want your gift book to look beautiful, but it’s the content that matters. Don’t obsess; the receiver will love what you create.

Don’t overlook scrapbook-ish options available through Shutterfly, Snapfish, or your local Costco. You can morph that scrapbook idea into a beautiful gift poster, mouse-pad, calendar, or coffee cup. (For my friend’s daughter, I’m making a custom “Pure Michigan” poster.)

DIY Memory Gift Ideas.

If you’re artistic, any kind of personal artwork or craft will make wonderful going away gifts. For instance, I have a small quilt hanging in my bedroom that reminds me of my college roommate and her sweet mother every time I see it.

DIY going away giftsGifts for the new house are particularly meaningful. A mosaic frame (or table, depending on your energy) made from broken tiles or china from your house(s) might take some organizing, but might be worth the effort. One of my favorites is making a favorite bottle of wine into a lamp.

Painted flowerpots or stepping-stones with favorite quotes is a relatively easy craft. You can also embellish them with anything else that would be meaningful—rocks from gardens, sea-glass, etc.

Armed with local maps and Mod Podge, you can make all sorts of meaningful gifts—drink coasters, ornaments, birdhouses, and more. (My Memory-Sharing Pinterest board has many more ideas.) Of course, most things you can do with a map, you can also do with photographs.

Other Thoughtful Going Away Gifts

You don’t have to be a crafter to come up with a meaningful going away gift. Just focus on the things the person loved to do in your area and things that you enjoyed together. A simple Google search will yield a plethora of results.

For the gardener that will be living in a similar climate, you can send a part of your own garden with them. Tulip or Iris bulbs from a group of friends, for instance, make touching going away gifts. For a sports fan, something with the local team’s logo—wearable or not—will be appreciated. Beer lover? A glass from the local brewery. You get the idea. Any gift that reminds someone of the good times you’ve shared will be a hit.

Your Turn

Going Away Gifts how to give one that matters Do You Have Other Ideas or Comments? Please leave your thoughts.



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