Thoughtful holiday gifts for the ones you love

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The past few years, my family has been approaching Christmas gifts in a new way. This year, we’re doing a Secret Santa (find out why) and last year, we agreed to only give what we considered a “thoughtful” gift. So, I gave my dad a collage frame with photos of our blended family throughout. My step-mom made her kids these super sweet scrapbooks with photos from their life.

Across our 11-person family, we took the time to really think what would warm the hearts of our loved ones, and chose to gift that, instead of the typical material things. Sometimes it’s nice to consider the simple things and use the holidays as a way to focus on the deeper needs we have.

If you feel like this is a year for more simple, thoughtful gifts, here are some suggestions to get you started.

Artifact Uprising Wood Calendar
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Photo Gifts

When I saw a photo of Artifact Uprising‘s custom Wood Calendar on Instagram recently, I absolutely fell in love. Photo gifts are an amazing way to relive memories and show how much you care about a person, while also giving them a delightful and useful gift. Check out the rest of their selection, including photo books, cards, and prints.

Flicker Box candle
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Subscription Box

My step-mom loves candles, so for her a birthday a few years ago, all of us kids chipped in to get her a 3-month subscription to Flicker Box. It’s (literally) the gift that keeps on giving and is a meaningful way to remind them how much you care—even after the holiday is over. Some other fun subscription boxes include Winc, FoodyDirect, Bitsbox, Bonding Bees, and Art in a Box.

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
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I know, books aren’t a revolutionary gift idea. Plenty of people give books, but I wanted to put it on this list because of the meaning behind it. Literature can change lives, I truly believe that, and what an amazing gift to give someone. Spending time searching through books, reading descriptions, and analyzing cover art just to find the exact book that will enlighten, entertain, or educate your loved one is as meaningful a gift as they come.

A few standout book gift ideas:

I Can Change The World Personalized Book: I See Me! Book

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Pet portrait from OneShoppe
Photo from Etsy shop OnekoShoppe


Bosch and I have been talking about getting custom portraits of our cats for months now. Maybe one of these days we’ll do it. Check out this amazing custom pet portrait on Etsy! Any pet owner in your life will swoon over a pretty picture of their precious. Etsy is full of customizable gifts like this Custom Hand Stamped Necklace, this Personalized Ornament, or this Adventure Together Print. Customized gifts tell your loved ones that they deserve a one-of-a-kind present.

Photo from
Photo from


Hobbies, careers, and side hustles bring so much joy and purpose to people’s lives. Imagine being able to gift that to your loved one. Gifting online courses, like the ones from Skillshare or Master Class, shows your family member or friend or coworker that you see potential in them. Maybe it’ll just be a one-time class or maybe it’ll turn into their next great passion. Either way, you enriched their lives with your thoughtfulness.

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