30 Sentimental Gift Ideas for Coworkers

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There are many reasons you may give a sentimental gift to a coworker one day. Maybe it’s a close team member’s birthday. Maybe a colleague is retiring. Maybe a coworker is simply going through a difficult life experience and you want them to know they have your support.

Jump ahead to these sections:

Regardless of the reason, when giving a sentimental gift to a coworker, you want to make sure the gift clearly expresses your feelings. Not all gifts do so equally well.

That’s why you should consider the examples from this guide. It offers a range of sentimental gifts for a coworker. There’s a good chance you’ll find one that’s perfect for your colleague.

Inexpensive Sentimental Gifts for Coworkers

Giving a sentimental gift to a coworker doesn’t need to involve spending a lot of money. These examples prove it.

1. Motivational or inspirational books

Plenty of books are inexpensive and chock-full of inspirational stories or poems your coworker will love.

We recommend Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed and The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold for Healing Ourselves and Our World by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu.

2. Framed picture

Framing a picture of you and your coworker hanging out and having fun is an inexpensive way to let them know how highly you think of them.

You can even buy them a digital photo frame to put on their desk at work.

3. Sympathy card

The right sympathy gift for a coworker going through a tough time is often simply a card featuring best wishes from all their fellow team members.

Tip: Purchase sets of blank sympathy cards so you have one on hand when you need it most.

4. Affirmation cards

If you search for affirmation cards online and you’ll quickly find many inexpensive decks of cards featuring positive phrases (like this set of Mindful Messages affirmation cards) that will keep a coworker motivated when challenges arise at work.

5. Religious figurine or decoration

If you’re thoroughly confident a coworker’s faith plays an important role in their life, show respect for their religious beliefs with an inexpensive religious figurine or similar decorative object.

You can find several types of figurines on Amazon.

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DIY Sentimental Gifts for Coworkers

A gift you make yourself is naturally sentimental. Consider one of these projects:

6. Reasons you’re awesome book

This is a sentimental gift for a coworker that combines all the benefits of inexpensive gifts and DIY projects.

Make sure your coworker always has a pick-me-up on hand when they’re down by giving them a personalized notebook filled with entries from yourself and your other coworkers explaining all the reasons this particular coworker is an awesome person.

You can even buy a fill-in-the-blank "You're Awesome" book and gift it to your coworker.

7. “Favorite Things” box

The best sentimental gift for a coworker is often one that shows you care enough about them to know what their favorite things in life are.

Thus, you could easily put together a gift basket featuring items you know your coworker will appreciate.

Start with a pretty, decorative box and fill it with small treasures.

8. A meal

Ideal gifts don’t always last forever. For instance, you might let a coworker know you think they’re great by taking the time to cook a meal for them.

This is a particularly good idea if it’s a meal you’ve made in the past that your coworker definitely enjoyed. If you don't know them well enough to cook a meal, consider sending a large box of snacks directly to their house.

9. “Treat Yourself” container

Remind a coworker they deserve to take a break every now and then with a glass jar filled with various treats and the words “Treat Yourself” or “You Deserve This” painted on it.

You can fill it with chocolate, candy, chips, and other snacks found in this 50-count snack package.

10. DIY plant pot

An entry later on in this blog will explain why an office plant is a smart practical and sentimental gift for a coworker. It can also serve as a DIY gift if you include a custom pot with it.

Because there are numerous ways to turn an ordinary pot into something more interesting, you may want to search online for ideas you believe would appeal to your coworker.

You can also start by purchasing them a foolproof plant, like this ZZ plant.

Personalized Sentimental Gifts for Coworkers

Personalizing a gift is also another easy way to make it feel just a bit more special. Keep these ideas in mind the next time you’re thinking about giving a coworker a personalized gift:

11. Best officemate mug

Sure, it’s a classic, but that’s for a reason. Plenty of us appreciate receiving personalized mugs from our coworkers featuring our name and a message about how we’re one of their favorite officemates.

Or, you can buy a mug with a message like "Best Coworker Ever."

12. Personalized business card case

Congratulate a coworker on a major promotion with a durable monogrammed business card case, like this personalized stainless steel case.

13. Device and cable organizer

If a coworker is starting a project that will keep them on the road for a while, tell them you’ll miss them by ordering a  case that will help them keep their electronic devices or cables organized while they travel. 

We like this WUTCRFT Wood Charging Station in bamboo.

14. Desk nameplate

Like the business card case, a personalized fancy nameplate for a coworker’s new desk is a smart way to congratulate them on getting a promotion.

You can get order a nameplate in a variety of colors and fonts to best match their style, company colors, or another pallette. 

15. Team member shirt

There may be instances when you’re in charge of providing gifts for a number of coworkers.

One option to consider is a tee-shirt featuring each worker’s name and their “position” on the team (such as “Our Favorite Optimist” or “Team Spirit MVP”). You can even custom order the shirts online and get them shipped directly to your office.

Practical Sentimental Gifts for Coworkers

A gift for a coworker can be both sentimental and practical. If that’s the type of gift you want to give, consider:

16. A spa day

A practical gift for a coworker can simply be one that helps them relax. Show a coworker you appreciate their hard work with a gift card for a spa day and a corresponding thank you letter.

You can buy them a generic spa gift card that they can use at the participating spa of their choice.

17. Stress ball (with a thank you note)

Make a coworker feel good about their own behavior on the job by giving them a stress ball and a note thanking them for keeping their cool during challenging times.

This "You Rock" stress ball strikes the perfect balance between funny and practical.

18. Pen

Don’t dismiss this idea! A fancy pen can be a sentimental gift for a coworker (that also serves a practical purpose) because giving a pen as a gift traditionally indicates respect for someone’s intelligence.

You can even personalize a pen or engrave a special pen with their name, title, or another special message.

19. Work memories calendar

Add some extra heart to the practical gift by personalizing it with photos of you and your coworker enjoying good times together.

This small desk calendar lets you choose a photo for each month and has a tent display to sit comfortably on a desk.

20. Desk plant

Giving a coworker a desk plant serves two purposes. It lets a coworker know you think they’re responsible enough to care for one, and it can also serve a practical purpose by boosting their mood.

Looking for something easy to take care of? We like ZZ plants, rubber plants, or snake plants.

Sentimental Gifts for a Coworker’s Birthday

Add some extra cheer to a coworker’s birthday with these gift ideas.

21. Something they need

Maybe your coworker needs a new ergonomic desk chair. Maybe they’ve been needing a new desk organizer. Maybe they’ve been complaining that their headphones haven’t been working as well lately.

Regardless, surprise your coworker by giving them whatever it is you know they need on their birthday. This shows you both remembered their birthday and remembered what types of items they’ve been in need of lately.

22. Surprise birthday card

Sometimes the most common sentimental gifts for coworkers are also the best.

For example, you might want to surprise a coworker on their birthday with a card featuring birthday messages from everyone else in the office. You can find a comically large "Happy Birthday" card to make it extra-special.

23. A gift card

Don’t overlook the value of this simple gift! The right gift card can help a coworker treat themselves to an enjoyable experience on their birthday.

It also may show you pay enough attention to them to know what type of gift card would most appeal to them. Read our guide on the best eGift cards for more.

24. Office treats

If you have the authority to do so, you could let a coworker know they’re also a valued employee by surprising them (and everyone else in the office) with their favorite treats in the office breakroom on their birthday.

We recommend sending them a basket or gourmet muffins and snacks.

25. Countdown to retirement clock

Many brands sell clocks (like this festive countdown clock) their owners can program to count down to their retirement. Consider this birthday gift for a coworker who’s getting close to that milestone.

Sentimental Gifts for a Coworker That’s Leaving or Retiring

Retiring is a tremendous milestone in anyone’s life. Help a coworker enjoy the experience even more with one of these gifts.

26. “Business” cards

A sentimental gift for a coworker on the verge of retirement can still be humorous.

A popular funny retirement gift is a set of “business” cards that say “retired” where a person’s occupation would normally be, like this set of "Out of Busines" cards from Amazon.

27. Friendship bracelet

A friendship bracelet is the kind of retirement gift you might give to someone you’ve been close to for many years.

And they don't have to look like children's friendship bracelets. You can buy a more sophisticated set with seed beads.

28. Surprise party

A sentimental gift for a coworker who’s retiring doesn’t need to be a physical object. You may want to brainstorm surprise retirement party ideas with your colleagues instead.

Don't forget the decorations! Get a full set of retirement party decorations to keep it festive.

29. First day photo

If you’re lucky enough to have a photo of your coworker from their first day with the company (or at least their first week), you can make a simple but meaningful gift by framing it in a nice wooden frame, like this walnut frame with a mat.

You may even have enough photos for a full retirement memory book.

30. Something related to their hobbies

Ideally, retirement will give a coworker more time to focus on their personal hobbies. Thus, a good sentimental gift for a coworker who’s retiring is anything related to their hobby, such as a cookbook for someone who likes to experiment in the kitchen.

This type of gift will also show that you’ve listened to your coworker in the past when they’ve discussed their interests.

You can buy them kombucha brewing kits, gift boxes for golf lovers, or a rock tumbling kit.

Sentimental Gifts for Coworkers: Ideas to Consider

A coworker can be a teammate and a friend. These gifts will help you show how important their friendship is to you. So get inspired and show your colleague how much you care!

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