40 best sentimental gifts to show your love in 2023

40 best sentimental gifts to show your love in 2023
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40 best sentimental gifts to show your love in 2023

When it comes to being a great gift-giver, there are so many different routes you can take. The perfect gift might be based in practicality or luxury and indulgence. For those partial to nostalgia, the best sentimental gifts will always win them over.

A sentimental gift does not only mean a hand-written note that’ll make them misty-eyed. To us, a sentimental gift is one that’s thoughtful and goes the extra mile in showing the person on the other end of the gift exchange that you really care. Whether it’s an item that nods to memories you’ve shared together or a product that’ll help them learn that new skill they can’t stop talking about, this list is filled with the best sentimental gift ideas that will make anyone in your life feel special.

A picturesque plaque that links to music
A plaque with a scannable Spotify code of "Better Together" by Luke Combs with a photo of a couple.

Personalized Acrylic Song with Photo

Best for: The music lover

From cassette tapes to CDs, making someone a playlist has always been seen as an act of closeness. Give this classic gesture a modern twist with this personalized acrylic song display. You can customize this gift with a photo and Spotify link to a memorable song or road trip playlist.

A custom print for couples
Framed artwork of assorted photos arranged in a heart shape on a shelf.

Heart Snapshot Mix

Best for: The scrapbookers

Remember the good old days of making scrapbooks for the ones you love? This customized collage from Minted is the much more sophisticated, grown-up version. Upload 30 of their favorite photos, or your favorite photos featuring them, and Minted will organize them into a sweet, heart-shaped collage that looks great on display. 

A book you can fill in with things you love about them
A pink book that reads "What I Love About You" in white text

Knock Knock “What I Love About You” Book

Best for: The one who needs a boost whenever

With over 110 pages of fill-in-the-blank prompts, this book lets you get as mushy-gushy as you’d like. You can be sure they’ll have this stored somewhere special so they can reread your answers whenever they need a boost. 

A customized puzzle
Custom puzzle featuring a family photo on a beach.

Memorable Family’s 20″ x 30″ Jigsaw Puzzle

Best for: The board gamer

Help them stay entertained by gifting them a customized puzzle of their favorite picture. This puzzle also comes with a customized box, making this gift even more special. Choose from any image to commemorate a special event, remember a great vacation, or show love to their favorite pet.

A framed quote
Artwork of a custom quote inside a wooden frame.

Minted personalized custom quotes

Best for: The utterly quotable one

Frame one of their favorite quotes, lyrics, or sayings and customize everything from font color to matting to make it theirs.

A calendar full of cherished personal photos
Photo calendar and wooden easel featuring a wedding photo of a couple.

Personalized Walnut Desktop Photo Calendar

Best for: The planner

Photos of loved ones are an instant source of joy. Structuring your daily life around them with a calendar is a great way to fill each day with more gratitude and happiness. Artifact Uprising’s desktop calendar is sustainably made from reclaimed wood and fully customizable. You can also choose the calendar’s starting month, so you don’t have to wait for a new year to create one.

A pinky promise keychain
Two of the Pinky Promise Keychains connected with each other.

Pinky Promise Keychain

Best for: the long distance friend or partner

Whether you’re near or far, they’ll always remember the promises you made with this pinky promise keychain. Every time they go to unlock their car or house, they’ll be met with a daily reminder of the bond you two share.

A custom keepsake book for kids
The two "Where Are You" books standing next to each other.

“Where Are You?” Book

Best for: Youngsters

A search-and-find book is a challenging and fun activity for young kids learning how to read. This personalized option makes your little one the protagonist and it makes for a sweet keepsake they can have for years to come.

A birthstone necklace
The Quince Birthstone necklace on a gold chain.

Quince 14k Gold Birthstone Necklace

Best for: Sentimentalists that are minimalists too

For those who like to tap into their sentimental side more subtly, this birthstone necklace is a beautiful choice. Each birthstone is set in pure 14k yellow gold, and the necklace has a dainty design that works well for everyday wear. The special meaning they assign to this piece is all their own, and that’s what makes it so special.

A personalized gift box
A person looking at an opened personalized Greetabl gift box.

Personalized Gift Box

Best for: The long-distance bud

Let them know you’re thinking of them with a cute custom gift box from Greetabl. Choose a mini gift like caramels or chocolates, a gift card, and add a note and photos to be delivered to their door. 

A plant to bring good luck
The Lula's Garden Money Plant in a pot next to the box it comes in.

Lula’s Garden Money Tree Plant

Best for: The Green Thumb

A money tree is said to bring positivity and good fortune into any space it occupies. Who wouldn’t want that? It doesn’t hurt that these plants are also non-toxic, pet-friendly, and work to purify the air around them.

A luxurious journal to last forever
leather journal with a snap closure.

Medium Snap Journal with Pen Loop

Best for: The lifelong journaler

Leatherology’s monogrammable, full-grain leather journal is built to last and be refilled as much as needed. If you know someone who loves writing but can’t find the right journal, this will show them that you care. Whenever they write in the journal, they’ll remember who got them started.

A phone case covered in people, places, or things they love
Two examples of custom phone cases from Casetify.

Casetify Custom Photo Grid Phone Case

Best for: The screenager

For most of us, and for better or worse, our phones are with us 24/7. So why not make their phone case an homage to all the people, places, and things in life they love most? With CASETiFY, you can upload photos directly to the site and quickly turn them into a phone-case-ready collage. 

Wishes they can watch bloom
Pack of circular plantable cards with wish-inspired phrases on them.

Plantable Wish Cards

Best for: The plant lover

For the one who’s always looking to improve, give them a gift that’ll help them pursue their self-growth goals — quite literally. This set of plantable wish cards calls them to write down their goals or wishes on each card, then plant them, water them, and watch as they bloom into beautiful wildflowers. 

A book for your favorite astrology lover
Hand turning a page in a custom birth chart book, showing a page of natal charts.

The Birthdate Book

Best for: The astrologer

If they know their sun, moon, and rising sign, this made-to-order astrology book will make the perfect gift. Provide their birthday and time of birth, and the company will create a 70-page book with information and insights customized from their birth chart.

One Insider Reviews writer said the book felt extremely personalized, and no two books are the same.

Personalized stationery for thank you notes and more
The Papier Custom Notecards.

Papier Custom Notecards

Best for: The one who loves handwritten letters

For those who err on the side of nostalgia, what better gift than that of analog communication. While we can communicate completely digitally these days, there is something so special about sharing your thoughts, and your appreciation for others, in your own handwriting. A set of customized stationary is all they need to do just that.

A photo album on a keychain
The Personalized Leather Keychain opened and closed.

Personalized Leather Keychain

Best for: The traveler

No matter where they go, they’ll always keep you close with this miniature photo album keychain. Sure, they could just scroll through the photo album on their phone, but this old school iteration is so much sweeter.

A love letter they can wear
A gold love letter shaped charm on a chain and an additional charm shown from the back with the engraving "I love you forever."

Smallest Love Letter Charm

Best for: The minimalists

Is there anything more romantic than a love letter? This mini, 100% gold charm version can be engraved with up to 30 characters, which is the perfect amount for a short but sweet message. Pair it with a dainty chain and they can always keep it close to their heart. 

A book holder for their nightstand
A wooden book holder on a nightstand with a chapter book opened, lying in a downward position on top of the book holder to bookmark the page that the reader stopped on. A pair of reading glasses are resting on the book holder.

ColWood Night Stand Book Holder

Best for: The bookworm 

Your book lover can get rid of their paper bookmark and replace it with this wooden book holder. They can place their book on the stand and pick up where they left off later. You can choose from six different wood color options.

A monogrammed vegan leather passport cover
Assorted colors of monogrammed Fillmore Vegan Leather Passport covers.

Fillmore Vegan Leather Passport Case

Best for: The avid traveler 

For the giftee who loves to travel, a passport cover is a great gift. You can have their initials monogrammed onto the cover to add a thoughtful and special touch to the gift. 

A name bracelet with handwritten lettering
Closeup of a custom bracelet made to match a handwriting sample on a person's wrist.

CaitlynMinimalist Handwriting Bracelet

Best for: The romantic

A custom piece of jewelry is already a thoughtful gift but this handwritten bracelet from Etsy goes the extra mile. Surprise your gift recipient with a gold, sterling silver, or rose gold bracelet with words on it written in your or a loved one’s handwriting. 

A family cookbook to pass down
"My Family Cookbook" slipcover and book open to show two pages of a handwritten recipe.

My Family Cookbook

Best for: The family who takes tradition seriously

The My Family Cookbook is a sweet gift that will keep on giving. After having various family members add recipes, the book can become an heirloom gift that gets passed down to generations. 

A chic print showing off their favorite song
Two people holding a Music Memories Canvas from Lime & Lou.

Music Memories Canvas

Music makes for such powerful memories. Is there a song that’s the soundtrack to your friendship? Are there lyrics that you and your partner live by? If so, consider this custom canvas print from Lime & Lou. Add the song title of your choice, give the memory a name, time, and place, choose the frame and colorways and you have a personalized gift that’s sure to tug on their heartstrings.

A mug with handwritten words
Person holding a coffee mug with a handwritten message on it that says "I love you."

Loved Ones Handwriting Coffee Mug

Best for: The caffeine lover

A mug with a meaningful message is a tender gift for people who may have lost a loved one or who live far away. You can customize this mug with any words you want, printed in your handwriting or someone else’s.

A monogrammed notebook
Papier notebook with a scalloped line along the spine.

Scallop Spine Notebook

Best for: The writer

Whether they love making lists or jotting down new ideas, every writer needs a durable, trusted notebook to store their notes and stories. These unique notebooks can be customized with a monogram and lined, dotted, or plain pages. The notebooks come in solid colors and several fun designs, including Constellation and Colourblock styles.

A fresh flower subscription
Person holding a bouquet of flowers wrapped in newspaper with a card that says "so very thankful."

The Send Bouquet

Best for: The fan of getting flowers all the time

Instead of gifting flowers solely during holidays and special occasions, send them beautiful arrangements on a more consistent basis with a subscription from Fresh Sends. Choose from three delivery frequencies and two size options for a unique bouquet every time.

A cube of conversation-starting prompt cards
Stack of assorted Table Topics conversation cards in a pyramid arrangement.

Table Topics Cards

Best for: The sharer 

Never experience another boring dinner again with these cards from Table Topics. Each cube comes with 135 thought-provoking topic cards to help keep your meals and relationships interesting. With six themed options ranging from card sets for families, couples, and friends, you’ll give them the chance to get to know everyone in their life a little better.

A personalized photo book
Father and son looking at a custom photo book.

Mixbook Custom Photo Book

Best for: The parent with the falling-apart photo album

Convert their pile of photos and favorite mementos into one glossy book they can showcase around the home for a cohesive, beautiful keepsake. You can browse our favorite photo book services here.

A custom pet portrait
Custom pet portrait of a Daschund dog named "Rosie" on a green background hanging on a wall above a chair and plant.

CanvasPop Custom pet portrait

Best for: The person who loves their dog more than anything

If they love their pet more than pretty much anything in the world, a Pet Portrait immortalizing them is a uniquely thoughtful gesture — and decor they’re unlikely to have already. You can also get them a custom painting (from $250) if that’s more their style or a framed print (from $120) of them with their pet.

A cute mug of them and their favorite hobby
Four mugs personalized with illustrations of people with hot chocolate inside them.

Uncommon Goods Personalized family mugs

Best for: The hobbyist

Turn your family or friends or a newly engaged couple into characters that actually look like them. One side features the artists’ depiction of them (personalized through your choices of skin tone, hair, and clothing color) and the mug owner’s first name, while the other displays your family name and year “established” (for friends, this could be the year you met). 

Meaningful audio turned into art
Person holding a piece of artwork inspired by a soundwave.

RindleWaves Soundwave Art Print

Best for: The musician

Send in a song and artist or email an audio file of you or a loved one speaking, and this Etsy shop will turn it into personalized sound-wave art. This gift is particularly thoughtful for long-distance relationships or for commemorating a loved one.

Long-distance touch lamps
A long distance lamp lit up with blue light placed on a nightstand.

Set of two Filimin Long-Distance Touch Lamps

Best for: The far-away friend or family member

Everyone is busy these days, and it’s not as easy to keep up with loved ones as we all wish. A set of paired lamps, one of which lights up when the other is touched, lets them know you’re still thinking of them even when you don’t have time to talk. One Insider Reviews editor uses them to keep in touch with her parents.

Brightly embroidered pillows of their favorite state
Pair of two pillows embroidered with details from a particular US state.

Hand Embroidered State Pillows

Best for: The person beaming with state pride

Bring their favorite state to them with detailed and brightly embroidered pillows that pay homage to each state’s cities and cultural touchpoints. 

A photo print of an important life moment
Framed photo of a street sign customized with a couple's last names on a shelf next to a candle and vase of flowers.

Intersection of Love Print

Best for: The newlyweds

Commemorate the moment their paths first crossed in a sophisticated, unique design.

The blueprint of a beloved ski resort
Framed photo of Breckenridge ski resort blueprint hanging on a wooden paneled wall with a flannel scarf hanging next to it.

Ski Resort Blueprints

Best for: The ski bunny

Whether they grew up on the slopes or drag friends and family along as adults, skiers can take their favorite slopes home with them with this blueprint-inspired art. Featuring iconic ski resorts such as Park City, Vail, and Breckenridge, each officially licensed print is created with a vintage, distressed finish and contains detailed historical and statistical facts about the area.

A portable printer
Polaroid printer with a photo of a person blowing a bubble of chewing gum coming out of it.

Polaroid Hi-Print Printer

Best for: The frequent photographer

Polaroid’s Wireless Mini Printer prints mini photos from your phone or tablet using a WiFi connection. It’s small enough to stow in a purse for travel, and there are customizable features like stickers, filters, and borders to edit photos within the Polaroid app. 

A reel viewer filled with snapshots of old memories
Customizable Reel Viewer.

Create Your Own Reel Viewer

Best for: The child at heart

As a kid, flipping through a reel viewer was one of life’s greatest joys. Just because they’re all grown up doesn’t mean they won’t like playing with the gadget. Fill the reel with snapshots of their most cherished memories (use the redemption code included with your viewer) for a gift that’ll flood them with all sorts of nostalgia.

A custom watercolor of their wedding venue
Custom made watercolor painting of a wedding venue inside a wooden frame.

JustArtinAround Custom Watercolor Wedding Venue Illustration

Best for: The anniversary toasters

For a deeply thoughtful gift for newlyweds, commission a custom watercolor of their wedding venue or location. All you’ll have to do is send the artist a photo of the location, the couple’s first and last names, and the wedding date. 

A candle that smells like home
Homesick candle scented around Minnesota on a kitchen counter next to lemons, a bowl of salt, and scallions.

Homesick Candles

Best for: The homesick friend

If they’re far from home, this affordable candle is a small but meaningful gesture that can bring them just a little closer.  Uniquely specific scents are made to capture the ethos of states and cities or memories like road trips, backyard BBQs, and cooking in Grandma’s kitchen. 

A cutting board that memorializes a meaningful recipe
Wooden cutting board engraved with a family recipe for peppermint meringue cookies set on a counter, surrounded by candy canes, eggs, a whisk, and measuring cups.

Family Recipe Cutting Board

Best for: The chef

There’s something about family recipes that make them taste even better. This cutting board offers a unique way to preserve those special favorites. Ingredients and directions are engraved on solid cherry wood and can even be etched in the recipe writer’s handwriting. 

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