Give gifts that are both practical, meaningful

Staff Writer
The Steuben Courier Advocate

(StatePoint) Adapting to these uncertain economic times, many of today’s shoppers want to give gifts that will be used, but still want to find creative ways to convey their emotions.

“Shoppers feeling constrained by budgets like the idea of giving practical gifts, but many are worried that they will feel too impersonal,” said Amy Myers, vice president of creative services for national gift retailer, Things Remembered. “Even the most useful gifts can have meaning when personalized to honor your special relationship with a loved one.”

 Here are some practical gift ideas that offer room for personalization:

For the Family

Although toys and games typically top children’s wish lists, practical gifts can be fun when personalized just for them. Embroidered animal backpacks personalized with his or her name are a fun way to carry school books and can double as an overnight bag when visiting Grandma. 

Tools aren’t traditionally viewed as meaningful gifts, but when engraved with a personalized sentiment, can become a cherished item. Even home decor can have special meaning, like a family heritage tree that puts family photos on display for an instant heirloom piece.

Function and Fashion

In today’s busy world, gifts that make lives easier and express personal style are twice as nice. For example, Things Remembered offers an engravable USB photo key chain, which allows parents and teens to conveniently keep memories close and personal files safe. The gift is even better when pre-loaded with family photos or a thoughtful note. And unique items, like a combined watch and money clip, offer men on-the-go a fashionable and creative way to keep track of time and money.  

Creative Options

Great gifts are catered to that individual. What is your loved one passionate about? Gardeners will appreciate a holiday card embedded with the seeds for a spruce tree. And nature lovers might like a butterfly-decorated journal that doubles as a photo scrapbook.

Gifts that Give Back

Just as a gift reflects a special connection between two people, a charitable gift creates a special bond with someone in need. This holiday season, many retailers are offering gift items that do double duty by earmarking a portion of the profits to organizations that do good. For example, Things Remembered offers an entire collection that benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  

Or you can donate to a philanthropic organization on behalf of a loved one, commemorating the donation with a card or a framed picture of the benefactor. No matter the cause, you’ll spread holiday cheer with a gift that brings joy to more than one recipient.

For more thoughtful gift ideas, visit

And don't wait until the last minute. A little foresight can go a long way in making your gift more meaningful.