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3 unique gift ideas to keep memories alive

I hate to brag, but I am a pretty decent gift giver. Every year of my childhood, I would produce dozens of random handmade gifts for my family—everything from woven potholders to clay spoon rests, Popsicle stick jewelry boxes to magazine racks made in wood shop. I get giddy just thinking about the art of gift giving, the more personal, the better.

Maya Angelou once said, “People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” Here are a few of my favorites to make those in your life feel special, treasured and important.

Although moms love the macaroni necklace, pairing it with something they can treasure for years to come is ideal. Kendra Scott recently introduced the Charms collection, which evokes memories of my own charm bracelet from childhood and how each charm told a story. I picked out a necklace for my mom and will be taking her to the store to select charms that mean something. From grandchildren’s birthstones to a butterfly dedicated to the strength of those affected by breast cancer, you can combine more than 300 charms to create a gift that can be added to for years to come.

Home is where the heart is

A home is where so many memories are created, and a few years ago I decided to commission a portrait of my parents’ lake house. I took a photo of the front and gave it to an artist, who painted an incredibly lifelike watercolor likeness of our favorite spot on Earth. Some day, the home might be sold, but with this portrait we can keep our memories of fishing, sledding and bonfires alive. You can easily find an artist on Etsy using the search term “house portrait.”

Memory lane

This year, I will be starting a new tradition. I love putting together our family holiday card with an array of images that represent our year, but the cards eventually get stowed in a box. Every year from now on, I will be make “trees” with photos on them—cardboard cones covered in images and affixed with Mod Podge. Yes, a veritable forest of memories will be grown throughout the years, and we can look back on each year as we decorate for the holidays. You can find cones at most craft stores or online. Print images on standard white paper and seal with Krylon Crystal Clear to prevent ink from bleeding before adding to cones with sealant.

Time together

Nothing is more valuable than spending time together with family and friends. Find an event that your recipient would love, even if it isn’t your cup of tea. Monster truck rally? Opera? Vintage car show? Craft beer festival? Pie making class? Enter a few hobbies of theirs into a search engine + “event” and see what pops up. I also like adding a frame that matches their decor and make sure to take a photo together.

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