12/12/2019 | By Seniors Guide Staff

The holiday season is here, and with it comes the opportunity to exchange gifts with the people we love. American author Barry Lopez wrote, “For so many centuries, the exchange of gifts has held us together. It has made it possible to bridge the abyss where language struggles.”

So if gifts are a form of language, how do you make sure your gift says the right thing? Instead of guessing which tech gadget they might need this year, or going the gift card route, choose a meaningful gift that will bring back memories or connect them with their family. Here are a few tips for touching, sentimental Christmas gift ideas that will tell their recipient that you love and them and cherish the memories you have made with them.

Gifts for Your Spouse

Photographs of treasured memories make great gifts. Enlarge a photo from a special vacation, wedding, or other event you’ve shared. Either frame it yourself or have it professionally framed. Digital photo kiosks in stores like CVS and Walgreens can print sizes up to 8×10. If you’d like to enlarge an older print, photo kiosks also provide scanning and printing services. If you’re not sure how to scan a photo, just ask an employee to help you out.

Or if you’d like to showcase several photo memories, consider designing your own custom calendar. Websites like and Shutterfly let you upload photos and add them to all sorts of products, including calendars.

Personalized gifts are always meaningful. Have a watch engraved with a special message for a sentimental gift they’ll wear every day. You can personalize a watch with your message at starting at $75.

Got a spouse who has everything? We can help!

Gifts for Your Kids

A personalized photo book or photo album is a great gift for adult children. Many younger people rely on digital pictures now, and rarely get the chance to flip the pages of photo albums. Share memories of your kids’ childhoods by creating a photo album for your them. You can have photo albums printed from your snapshots at photo kiosks or on websites like Or you can simply have copies made of family snapshots and slide them into photo albums yourself.

If your kids have moved away, gift them a reminder of home. Home state pillows, like these hand-embroidered ones from Uncommon Goods are a cute way to let them know people back home are thinking about them. A personalized gift basket, filled with cookies, jellies, or other non-perishable from their hometown or state is also a great gift, especially if they can’t make it home for the holidays.

Do your children have young kids? Help the kids make something special for their parents. A handprint garden stepping stone is a cute way to preserve a moment in time, or have kids’ artwork framed, enlarged, or made into jewelry or other keepsakes.

Gifts for Grandchildren

T-shirt quilts are a great way to preserve your grandkids’ childhood memories. Ask their parents if they have a stash of their kids’ old school, camp, or sports t-shirts that are too small but have too many memories to be thrown away. Create colorful quilt squares from the shirts’ graphics, and use cozy fleece for the backing.

Encourage kids to preserve and treasure their own memories with a shadowbox or a stylish bulletin board.

Sentimental Christmas Gift Ideas for Family

Share your family’s favorite recipes in a custom family cookbook. Chances are you have a recipe box full of tried-and-true recipes that you can share with your family. This is a great way to preserve family traditions.

Create a decorative version of your family tree. This can include photographs, like this chalkboard tree, or beautifully-written names like this tree art. If you’re a quilter or are interested in fabric arts, you can even quilt a family tree. Or check out some of these cost-free gifts!

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff