22 Thoughtful Keepsake Ideas to Give a Loved One


Cake values integrity and transparency. We follow a strict editorial process to provide you with the best content possible. We also may earn commission from purchases made through affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more in our affiliate disclosure.

The word “keepsake” may cause you to think of a gift you would receive after a person’s death, but this is just one of the uses of the word.

Overview: Our Top Picks

Jump ahead to these sections:

You can also give a keepsake to a friend, partner or spouse, child, or another family member. A keepsake can be something that was previously owned, or it can be a new item. 

Here are some small gifts or keepsakes you can give to the people you are closest to in life.

Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, it's tough to handle both the emotional and technical aspects of their unfinished business without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.

Keepsake Ideas for Friends

Do you trade holiday or birthday gifts with your friends? You may agree to have a spending limit on the present. Instead of purchasing an expensive or large item, you may tell your friends that you prefer to trade small gifts with each other.

Even though these items may be small and inexpensive, they may have tremendous meaning and emotional value.

1. Friendship jewelry

Some pieces of jewelry can be costly. You should be able to buy less expensive pieces at gift or specialty shops. Look for necklaces or bracelets designed for women to buy for other female friends. While these pieces may not become family heirlooms, your friends will love and cherish the gift because it is heartfelt and simple. 

Tip: You can find plenty of unique, inexpensive friendship necklaces, bracelets, and rings on the Etsy marketplace.

2. Keychain

How many times a day do people hold their keys? If you purchase a good friend a special keepsake keychain, he or she may think of you multiple times a day. A keychain is a good gift because it is gender-neutral, as well as useful.

3. Windchimes

Think of the soft, tinkling sound of wind chimes. Each time your friend hears the sound, he or she can think of you. A small set of wind chimes would make a perfect keepsake gift. 

4. Personalized mug

Do you have a group of friends who like to meet for coffee? You may consider purchasing a mug for each member of the group. You can have the mug personalized with a photo or your favorite saying or buy friendship mugs online or in specialty shops.

5. Wine glasses

Maybe instead of having a coffee-drinking group of friends, you have a group that periodically meets to share a few bottles of wine. If that describes your friends, you may purchase a keepsake wine glass that they can use at home while thinking of you.

Keepsake Gift Ideas for a Partner or Spouse

Sometimes it’s harder finding a gift idea for a partner or spouse than it is to find a gift for a friend. Some couples are better at giving keepsake gifts than others. 

Here are some keepsake gift ideas for the life partner who shares your home.

6. Memorial diamond

If your spouse or partner has a deceased loved one or pet's lock of hair or cremated remains, you can send them in to be turned into a memorial diamond. After a consultation and a few months of waiting for the diamond to grow, you'll have a custom diamond that you can get set on a ring, necklace, or other jewelry.

Some companies, like Eterneva, create lab-grown diamonds and allow you to pick from several cuts and colors for your gemstone. 

7. Cremation stones

Another unique keepsake for someone who's lost a family member or pet is cremation stones. Parting Stone can transform all or some of the ashes into beautiful, one-of-a-kind, and natural-looking stones. Your loved one can then put the stones on display, keep them in a keepsake box, or place them somewhere special in nature.  

8. Photo

Does your partner travel for work? You may consider purchasing a small frame and inserting a picture of yourself in it. You can tuck it into his suitcase, and when he arrives at his destination, he will find the keepsake of you.

» MORE: Your family has 500 hours of work to do after you die. Learn how to make it easier.

9. A ticket stub

Did you keep the ticket stub from the movie or concert that was your first date? Create a special keepsake with the stub. Look on Pinterest for ideas.

10. Pressed flowers or dried petals

Did you keep the first flowers that your husband ever gave you? Maybe you dried some of the blooms from your wedding. Create a unique keepsake out of these dried pieces and give it to the one you love.

11. Ornament

You can find plenty of specialty ornaments to commemorate a special anniversary, event, or date. Perhaps the ornament will remind your partner of an inside joke or will have your wife recall a particular moment from a trip you shared.

12. Clock

You can give your loved one a beautiful clock to tell him or her that your love will last throughout all time. Some clocks can be personalized with etched names, dates, or photographs. 

Keepsake Ideas for Sons or Daughters

Your sons and daughters may not appreciate keepsakes until they become adults. Here are some ideas of keepsakes that you may want to purchase for your son or daughter.

13. Pocket knife

You may consider purchasing an engraved pocket knife to commemorate a special event in your son’s or daughter’s life. Of course, the event may be simply that he or she has reached the right age to be able to handle a somewhat dangerous gift. 

14. Jewelry

Buy your daughters special pieces of jewelry. Again, these items don’t have to be expensive. Consider purchasing a necklace with a heart pendant or a unique pair of earrings.

15. Photo collage or photo book

Create a photo collage to share your favorite photos of you and your child. Photo albums or memory books make special keepsakes because most people keep them for the rest of their lives. 

We love photo albums with adhesive pages, like the one shown above, for easy scrapbooking photo album creation.

16. Memory box

Most parents hold on to keepsakes from their child’s youth. Give your child a decorative memory box filled with cherished items. Include a favorite stuffed toy or blanket, his first drawings, photographs, and certificates.

Tip: You can DIY your own memory box or order one from a creator on Etsy

» MORE: You need more than a will. Start here.

17. A religious text

If you're religious, you may consider purchasing a special text for your child as soon as they begin to read independently. Some texts have spaces in the front that allow you to fill out the recipient’s name, the date, and the occasion for the gift. 

Keepsake Ideas for Other Family Members

You may want to purchase or create keepsake gifts for your nieces, nephews, or siblings. Here are some ideas. 

18. Family tree

There are many decorative ways you can present the information found in your family tree. Look at Pinterest for inspiration.

Add photographs of your family members to make the gift extra special. Instead of creating a display to hang on a wall, you may want to create a family tree book with all of your family’s genealogical information. 

19. Craft items from old clothes

If you know how to sew (or how to hire a person who can sew), there are plenty of ways to turn old shirts or ties into quilts, dolls, or pillows.

These items can be a cherished keepsake that would remind your family of a matriarch or patriarch who has recently died. You may consider waiting until the death anniversary before distributing the items. 

20. Piggybank

You may consider purchasing a piggybank as a baby keepsake gift. This gift can be practical, decorative, and act as an item that can be passed down to members of the next generation. 

If you're looking for more baby keepsake ideas, read our guide on baby memory box items.

21. Journal

Are you looking for the perfect birthday keepsake item? Purchase a journal for your family member. Encourage the person to write down goals and bucket list items. 

22. Flower bulbs or plant cuttings

Do you have a flower or plant that belonged to previous generations of family members? You may want to make a cutting or give a bulb from the original plant to other members of your family. Place the plant in a personalized container.

You may even consider adding care instructions as well for those family members without green thumbs.  

Tip: Honor a loved one's memory with a custom cremation urn from Foreverence. By creating an urn with your loved one's passions, personality, and interest in mind, they're kept in your thoughts for years to come. 

Choose a Thoughtful Keepsake

Think of all the gifts that you’ve received through the years. What items have you kept for decades that make you think of the person who gave them to you? Use those gifts as inspiration when thinking of presents for others. 

Your family may have traditional keepsakes that they use for specific gifts. For example, maybe every newly wedded couple receives crystal candle holders, and every baby born receives a silver-plated rattle. 

Chances are that some of your most precious belongings weren’t expensive items. Instead, they were items that were chosen with care and designed to recall a cherished memory or a particular person. 


  1. “Keepsake.” Lexico. www.lexico.com/en/definition/keepsake

Icons sourced from FlatIcon.