December 5, 2014

I love giving gifts. Finding the absolute perfect present for someone makes me so happy. What I really want for Christmas is more experiences and more time with the people I love. I think that other people would tend to agree so I try to give these kind of gifts to my friends and family, too. By nature, these gifts are simple and can cost you as little or as much as you want. These are some gifts that I enjoy giving that give over and over again. I think they are perfect for travelers or anyone who likes to get out there and soak up life!


1. Time together.

The best gift I can think of is spending time with my loved ones. This can be a note wrapped up in a box with a promise to bring over a bottle of wine and some snacks, and settle in for a night on the couch together catching up with your mom/best friend/husband. Or it could be a gift certificate to your favorite place to have dinner together, movie tickets, or tickets to go see your favorite team together.

2. Date night jar.

This gift is intended for your significant other, but you could also make one for your best friend, mom, sister, anyone, really who you spend a lot of time with. I first found this idea from the blog Life in the Green House through Pinterest. You can find the original instructions here. You take a bunch of popsicle sticks, write down some ideas for things to do, and stick it in a jar. When you are looking for something to do, instead of going back and forth asking each other “What do you want to do?” you just pull out a popsicle and do what’s on that list. I made it for Nick for Valentine’s Day and it’s a lot of fun to just do whatever the popsicle says!

3. A photo album.

We have to commemorate all of these awesome experiences! Go through pictures from a vacation, the whole year, or even the length of time you have known someone. I make a scrapbook for Nick every single Christmas in which I put photos, ticket stubs, hotel keys, and other little items from the year before. It’s our annual tradition to look through these scrapbooks together and it’s so much fun. For my brother’s birthday this year, I made him a photo book on AdoramaPix, which I think is by far the best site for photo books. I put in pictures of us as babies up until we started school. You can print out pictures and put them in a photo album and there are even places where you can make photo books out of Instagram photos – the possibilities are endless! With digital and phone cameras, people do not print out pictures as much as they used to, so this would be a really appreciated gesture.

4. A gift certificate to their favorite coffee shop.

Some people say gift certificates are what you give someone when you don’t know what else to get them, but I totally disagree. I think that a gift certificate is a way of telling someone that you know what they like, that you care about them, and you want them to treat themselves to something they love. A $10 gift card to someone’s favorite coffee shop or lunch spot can go a long way in making someone’s day brighter. Using a gift card to buy coffee just feels more special to me!

5. The best book you’ve read this year (or CD you’ve heard or movie you’ve seen).

I love passing on my favorite books to people who I think would enjoy them, too. Giving someone a book or film or CD that touched your life in some way and letting them know you want it to touch theirs is a truly special gift. My most cherished books have been ones that have been passed on to me.

6. A Christmas ornament. 

Did you and your significant other/mom/friend/cousin go somewhere this year? Do you have a favorite thing to do together? Chances are you can find an ornament to commemorate that. One of my favorite traditions I have with Nick is buying him ornaments each year for Christmas. We have all kinds of fun ornaments – ornaments from our travels, a Grinch ornament (our favorite Christmas movie), and even a popcorn ornament to commemorate one of our favorite things to do together — going to the movies and getting popcorn. It’s the thought that counts and an ornament is a super thoughtful gift that will be treasured for years to come.

7. Something baked.

Is there a cookie recipe that your mom just goes nuts over? Why not bake a special batch just for her? I like to bake Nick’s favorite things on holidays because I know how much he loves them.

8. A handwritten card or letter.

Christmas makes me all mushy inside. It’s the perfect time of year to let someone know how much you love and care about them. With snail mail practically a lost art, a simple, handwritten card or letter will mean so much.


I will surely be filling Nick’s stocking with more than gift cards and photos. But I wanted to share some of my favorite gift ideas with you if you are looking for some unique Christmas gifts that aren’t overly complicated and don’t have to break the bank.

Do you have any gift ideas to add to this list?

I would love some new ideas!

10 responses to “8 meaningful gifts to give this Christmas”

  1. Such lovely ideas here!! I absolutely love the idea of the date night jar – I’m totally going to use that one day! We always end up spending ages thinking about what we’re going to do and the jar would be perfect for that! Also like the idea of having different Xmas ornaments to bring back memories from different trips etc 🙂

    • carolann says:

      Thanks so much Shikha! It is a lot of fun to just pick up and go wherever the popsicle stick says. And I just love looking at my tree, remembering all of the places we have gone and things we have done together!

  2. Chris Carter says:

    I always love the more meaningful gifts… both with giving and receiving!

    Those are great ideas. 🙂

  3. carolann says:

    Thanks so much, Chris! I think they are so much more fun!

  4. Emma says:

    I lurve these ideas!!

  5. Wifey says:

    No new brilliant ideas to add but is kind of funny that some of these things are to come to you when you get my present! I really like the coffee shop idea too. I love the baked gift but not to give rather to receive (hint hint) hahahah I love you.

    • carolann says:

      You may have noticed that I always get you pictures! So I tried to be a bit creative this year but meaningful as well. Can’t wait for you to open your presents!!

  6. Holly says:

    I love these ideas!! I always try to get things that are meaningful, even if it’s as simple as a t-shirt or something from a mainstream store (which I try to avoid for the holidays, I like to go local or crafty). As long as it means something to the person I’m giving it to, that’s important to me.

    I like to go practical as well, so things I’ve heard them mention throughout the year! I like to listen and surprise people with things they forgot about 🙂

    • carolann says:

      I totally agree –a t-shirt or something from a store can be incredibly meaningful! I can’t give away any of my gifts yet, but you’re right — as long as it is meaningful to the person you are giving it to, that makes it meaningful. I try to get inside the person’s head as much as I can! Thanks for these great ideas!!

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