Thinking Outside the Box: Meaningful Holiday Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

One year for Christmas, one of my college best friends gave me framed photos of a trip to Europe that we took the previous summer. It was a gift I’ll never forget: It’s currently hanging in my apartment to this day. Sure, the latest gadgets are fun and all, but what about giving meaningful, unique gifts to everyone on your list like the one my friend gave me? Here’s a holiday gift list of interesting ideas that will surely be loved by all.

For your best friend

Invite your friend out for an activity that you both love doing together. You can keep it simple—go out to dinner, take a hike, or just go get coffee together. The trick is to make sure you document it all. Snap selfies, take some artsy shots of your food, or photograph all the scenery around you if you venture outdoors. Select your favorite photos from the day and head to a photo gifts site like Shutterfly or Snapfish. (If you’re running short on time or live far away from your BFF, go back and find photos of the two of you on past adventures.) Choose a way to present the photos, like a book, blanket, or ornament. When you exchange gifts, get ready to watch them light up with joy that you documented your “day in the life” in something way more meaningful than an Instagram post or Snapchat story.

For your significant other

This one will have all your friends saying, “Aww.” Plan a dinner date and cook your partner’s favorite meal, but before they arrive for the date, go old school and make today’s version of a mixtape—a Spotify playlist. Pull together a playlist of all the songs that remind you of your relationship and throw in a couple holiday tunes for good measure. Your significant other will appreciate the special gesture.

For your parents

If you have any siblings, you’ll probably want to enlist their help for this one. Choose your favorite holiday photo from when you were growing up and pose for it as adults with your siblings (or solo if you’re an only child). Take your original photo as children and the new one as adults and get them blown up to poster size. Your parents will adore the same photo decades later!

Who is the best gift-giver in your life?

For your siblings

Now this one will need help from your parents. Ask mom and dad for all your favorite recipes growing up. Make sure to include your brother’s favorite spaghetti sauce Mom used to make or those delicious tacos your sister devoured every “Taco Tuesday.” Plenty of websites like this one will make it easy for you to create a family cookbook for your siblings. For extra flair, cook a batch of your sibling’s favorite Christmas cookies and gift it to them with the book.

For your grandparents

If you happen to live far away from your grandparents, this map print is something sweet Grandma and Grandpa will enjoy. With a print of your current state and the state your grandparents live in, it’s the perfect way to remind your grandparents of how strong the love between you three is.

If you live closer to your grandparents and want to still give them something to decorate their home, this sentimental sign is a fun way to help them remember all their grandchildren’s names and dates of birth.

For your coworkers

Take the charitable route and order from organizations like Baking Memories 4 Kids, which sells cookies whose sales go toward giving children with life-threatening illnesses sunny Orlando vacations. The cookie jars are not only thoughtful, but your whole office can share in the delicious treats while feeling happy about helping others.

Originally published on November 27, 2017.

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