I had a really hard time choosing a title for this post. I went back and forth with sentimental, thoughtful, and meaningful, but I ultimately settled for sentimental! I’m a firm believer that a gift can be both practical and extremely thoughtful or meaningful, but in this blog post, I wanted to talk about some gift ideas that were more sentimental in nature. Instead of explaining what I mean by that, I’m just going to jump right in, and I think you will see 🙂

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First up is custom art! There are endless opportunities when it comes to this one, making it a great gift for anyone from parents and grandparents to your spouse or friends! Here are some examples:

  • A custom painting of your parents’ house
  • A custom portrait of your dog
  • A custom drawing of your daughter’s wedding venue
  • A custom drawing of the place you got engaged

I could go on and on with ideas, but you get the picture! Custom art is such a great idea for a super personalized and thoughtful gift for your loved ones.

If you’re wondering where to shop for custom art, Etsy is my go to! One of my FAVORITE shops for custom art is Dear Margo Designs. She does such amazing work, and is such a joy to work with. I have worked with her twice now for custom watercolors (peep my favorite coffee shop below) and she has given so much attention to detail for each project. Her passion for her work is truly evident in each and every piece. I seriously cannot recommend her enough. Keep in mind, the deadline to order to ensure on time delivery for Christmas is December 1st!

Click her logo below to visit her Etsy page!

Custom Art by Dear Margo Designs


Sentimental ornaments. You either love them or you hate them! Personally, I love having sentimental ornaments sprinkled throughout my tree, and they have truly been some of my favorite Christmas gifts. That being said, keep in mind who you’re shopping for, and try to think if this is something that would be meaningful to them!

Just like the custom art work, there are endless options when it comes to sentimental ornaments. Did the person you’re shopping for just move into a new house? Did they just get married or have a baby? Maybe they just adopted a dog and it will be their puppy’s first Christmas in its furever home. For pretty much any occasion you can think of, there is a personalized ornament out there!

If you’re looking for a personalized ornament, you can find pretty much anything you want on Etsy! I recently ordered an ornament from Keptsake on Etsy and I was so impressed with the look, quality, and fast shipping. I would highly recommend them if you’re looking for a commemorative or sentimental ornament.

Click on their logo below to visit their Etsy shop.

Personalized Ornaments from Keptsake

If you’re wanting to get even more personal with your ornament, another great idea is to make it yourself! To get your creative juices flowing, I’m going to share one of my favorite ornaments of all time with you (and a little back story). Back in 2017, when I was a student at Auburn, we won the Iron Bowl and rushed the field! It was my first Iron Bowl in the stadium, and my first time rushing the field, so I kept a little piece of the bush that we jumped into from the stands. When I moved out of my apartment in Auburn, that little piece of bush made its way back to my parents’ house in a box, labeled with a little sticky note that said “don’t throw me away, I’m from the Iron Bowl”. I know, kind of silly to keep a piece of a bush from a football game, but my friends’ and I joked that maybe we would put it in our wedding bouquets one day hahahaha. Anyways, my mom ended up finding the little piece of the bush and the note, and turned what inevitably would have ended up in the trash into the sweetest little ornament! I seriously could not believe it when I opened that gift on Christmas morning. I would have never thought to do that, but I am so glad she did. It is one of my favorite ornaments ever, and she even added a picture from the game of me and my husband!

You could do this with wedding flowers, a baby hospital bracelet, a pet’s collar tag that has passed away, sand from where you got engaged, you name it! This is such a personalized, and special gift that any sentimental person would love.


In the age of digital media, I feel like photo books and photo albums are underrated. Parents and grandparents LOVE having tangible photos, so a photo book would be an amazing gift! Photo books are great because they can hold a lot of photos, are perfect to look through with family and friends, and can be easily displayed on a shelf or coffee table for easy access.

As an example, I’m sharing a photo book I made for our parents as a wedding thank you gift. This was the perfect way to share a lot of wedding photos with them in a format that they can easily look through to reminisce on our special day. They really loved it, and it was a lot of fun to make. You could do this with wedding photos, family photos, a photo from a recent family vacation, and anything in between!

I order all of my photo books from Shutterfly. I used them for these wedding photo books for our parents, our wedding guest book, and our wedding album, and have been so impressed with the quality and the process each time. Here are a few things I love about Shutterfly:

  • The print quality is amazing. Their prints are crisp, clear, and the colors almost perfectly match what I see on my computer screen.
  • They have so many options. From hardback to softcover and lay flat pages to professional flush mount, they have it all!
  • Each page is completely customizable. This is something you don’t get on every company’s editing software. I tried making a photo book from another company and you had to use their set layouts, which didn’t work for some of the pages I wanted to create (for example, the reception photo page seen above).
  • They are reliable and have fast shipping.
  • They always have a sale or coupons available! Seriously, never pay full price on Shutterfly. There is ALWAYS a coupon, I promise!
  • If you have discover cash back, you can use it at Shutterfly!


A handwritten recipe from someone’s mother or grandmother engraved on a wooden cutting board would be such an amazing gift for someone who likes to cook! I’ve never actually had this done, so I don’t have any personal recommendations for you, but there are tons of shops on Etsy and Amazon that make these! I’ll share a few options from Amazon below:

click on the images above to view the product listings


This little gift idea came from a wedding gift that was given to us last year! One of our really good friends took our wedding invitation, wax seal and all, and put it in this beautiful gold and glass floating frame. This was such a special gift, and something I hadn’t even thought about doing myself! I love this simple and elegant way to preserve and display this special piece from our wedding.

I ended up using this idea myself to create a gift for my husband! When my husband got his pilot’s license, his mom gave us his dad’s old pilot’s license as a keepsake. For a while, it sat in his night stand drawer, never seen, but always there. So rolling with this idea, I decided to frame it and put it on his desk where he could see it everyday!

Framing this little piece was the perfect way to preserve and protect it while allowing him to actually look at it and take in all of its sentimental value.

You could do this with all sorts of different things! You could frame an old handwritten recipe or note, a pet’s paw print, or pressed wedding flowers, to name a few! This is such a great way to give someone a sentimental gift in a practical way.


Okay, so let me tell you a little bit about this one! When I was in college, my favorite coffee shop also sold local art and goods. One of the local vendors at the shop, My Historic District, sold these amazing vintage prints from cities all over the United States! One day, as I was flipping through his prints while waiting on my coffee, I came across this vintage print of my hometown. I’m from a small town, so I was so surprised when I came across this print in Auburn! If you haven’t picked up on this yet, I’m kind of a sentimental person, so of course I had to buy it.

A historic photo of your hometown or special city would make such a great gift for parents and grandparents! My Historic District has an eBay store with all of his historic prints that range from the 1850’s to the 1960’s. He has over 200 cities in Georgia and Alabama alone, so there is a good chance he would have just the city you’re looking for! Click the photo below to visit his eBay store, or visit!

A lot of these historic prints come in unique sizes, which can sometimes be challenging to frame! I actually found this gold frame pictured above at an antique shop. It was a framed art print of some ducks, but I removed the ducks and my historic photo fit perfectly inside! I really had to hunt to find this frame, and with Christmas being so soon, you may not have the time to do that! To give you some easy options, I will link a few unique sized frames below. Also note, custom framing at Hobby Lobby is always half off, so if you can’t find a size that works for you, that is always an option!


Last but not least, an amazing sentimental gift idea is quality time! Instead of doing physical gifts, you could use the money you would have spent on gifts to plan a family vacation or trip instead! With the year we’ve had, I think we all could use some quality time with our family.

I know traveling right now is a little iffy, but a weekend at a cabin in the mountains, or a house at the beach together would be a great way to spend time together while social distancing!

I hope this gift guide has given you some unique, sentimental gift ideas for your loved ones this Christmas! I would love to hear what you think, and if you have anymore sentimental gift ideas, put them in the comments below!

P.S., If you’re you’re ordering anything custom, ORDER SOON! These gifts take time to make, so make sure to place your orders in time for Christmas delivery. If an order by date for Christmas is not listed on a shop’s website, I would highly recommend sending them a message to make sure! Happy shopping 🙂

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