Giving someone a personalized gift is an opportunity for you to communicate so many distinct sentiments—appreciation, love, joy, support—depending on the circumstance. Here are 11 different occasions to give personalized gifts that show how you feel and remind your recipient of the occasion for years to come.
A loved one’s wedding is an occasion to get them something they wouldn’t typically buy themselves that fits their style. Decorative serving plates and other elegant kitchenware are great functional options. Buying them a high-quality set of bathrobes or a vacuum would be appropriate too, as couples try to begin their lives together. Kitchenware, in particular, provides useful reminders during their daily life of their commitment to one another and can be passed down as mementos to children later on.
Baby showers are meant to help new parents prepare for their child, but that doesn’t mean your gift has to be a generic kid-centered item. Inject some of your friend or family member’s personality into the clothes or toys you buy. Look for baby clothes sold by their favorite band, or get them a stuffed animal version of their parent’s favorite animal. The parents will be touched by these gifts (they’re the ones opening them, after all), and this will give both the parents and child a springboard into sharing these interests for life.
Big accomplishments are worth recognizing and remembering. Graduations are big moments in a young person’s life, but there are many types of graduations that all kinds of people celebrate. If you’re commemorating a high school or college graduation, consider getting a gift that considers their future—an easily moveable piece of furniture or quality coffee maker. If your loved one is finishing up their time at the police academy or training for military service, you can pick a gift that fits their upcoming career. Something to organize their things in a patrol car is sensible for a new police officer, and a nice picture frame will be appreciated by someone who will be deployed.
The first thing that comes to mind when the word anniversary is used is a marriage anniversary. For these celebrations, reference a “gifts by year” list categorized by material for ideas for your spouse. Some notable examples include paper for 1 year, wood for 5 years, crystal for 15 years, and pearl for 30 years. For a more malleable material, such as paper, you can even make something meaningful. Other anniversaries deserve a personal gift, too. Buying your boss a yearlong journal or root beer of the month subscription is a great, ongoing way to thank them for their tireless effort toward the company. Your pastor would love a new Bible commentary for their anniversary with your church.
Perhaps even more significant than a graduation, a career’s worth of accomplishments cannot go unrecognized. A loved one’s retirement represents a time when someone begins a new chapter in their life while also reflecting on their time as a professional. And just like graduations, there are many kinds of retirements. To commemorate a retiring police officer, pick up a custom police retirement plaque dedicated specifically to them. This physical representation of their service goes a long way, and that extra personalization will mean the world to them—they can reflect on it for years to come. You can gift a retiring teacher with a college course to fill their newfound free time with an activity they’ve always wanted to do. Or, if you want something really creative, you can commission a portrait for a retiring professional of them at work. All of these potential gifts cement the memory of work and aid their transition into another phase of life.
Times of bereavement are less obvious occasions for a personal gift, but gifting something to a grieving person can be a touching gesture. Typically referred to as “sympathy gifts,” something that incorporates the personality of the person lost is especially impactful. This can be a book or sentimental object. Perhaps it’s an item that recalls a good memory or story to the mourner’s mind. This can assist in the grieving process by allowing for reminders of the person’s presence. If you’re worried your grieving loved one doesn’t want more reminders of the person they’ve lost because it highlights their absence, gift them a group activity. Doing a boat tour or spa day together will give them something positive to do.
Mother’s and Father’s Day
You’ve been given the gift of life, and it’s difficult to pay that back. But cooking a meal for your parents is a great way to give back to the people who raised you and cooked for you. Try to make it a dish traditionally prepared during your childhood, and maybe enlist your parents in the activity if they would enjoy it. And if you can’t cook for your parents—maybe they aren’t around or have passed away—consider cooking a meal for a parent-like figure or your siblings.
There are few occasions to give personalized gifts like Christmas. The collective narrative around Santa Claus and the happiness of the season makes it perfect to give special gifts to those you care about. If you’re part of a gift exchange with gag gifts, try to get an item that references a shared joke. A custom t-shirt with a funny quote or picture is perfect for this.
Your relationship with your significant other may be new or established. Regardless, to reciprocate their love with yours, consider tickets to a play, sports game, or other event you’ve wanted to do together. If you’ve been with each other for a while, this will give you shared downtime and a new experience. And if your relationship is newer, this gives you another occasion to get to know them better.
Memorial and Veteran’s Day
Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day are times to remember current, former, and deceased military members’ lives and thank them for serving. For loved ones with a lost family member, purchasing a display case for their military mementos and documents is a thoughtful gesture. And for living veterans, you can write them a personalized letter or poem that goes deeper than saying “thank you for your service.”
There are times that signal an individual’s commitment to faith as well as others’ commitment to them in their life of faith. Baptisms and baby dedications are important spiritual beginnings, and a monetary gift to a college fund may be appropriate. If someone is baptized as an adult, consider a piece of jewelry with imagery that reminds them of their decision, such as a custom cross necklace.