Whether you’re heading into Christmas, a birthday, or any other gift occasion, giving gifts that are intentional and heartfelt can be tricky. In this post you’ll find our tried-and-true intentional gift ideas to make your holidays more meaningful and memorable.
A Different—More Intentional—Way to Give Gifts
We felt the pressure of the cultural norms around gift giving for years. The holidays felt stressful because the things we valued—high quality goods, shopping second hand, an uncluttered home, non-material things—felt like they constantly rubbed up against the gift giving expectations around us.
- Hearts of gratitude
- Having fun and making memories
- Sticking to a budget
- Keeping it practical and simple
Instead of throwing in the towel, we decided to embrace our values and form new gift ideas and traditions around those goals.
And it’s worked! The holidays and other gift giving occasions no longer feel stressful. In fact, they’re a lot of fun and we, as a family, have plenty to look forward to any time those special days roll around!
So, let’s get practical! Below we’ll take you through (5) categories of intentional gift ideas that we’ve found to be the winning recipe for gifts that leave a lasting impact.
Note that following this gift guide to a “T” may or may not work for your family. These are gifts that we have loved to give or receive as a family of 6 with young children. Some are also specific to our location. But we hope it can serve as a helpful and inspirational guide for the uniqueness of your own family situation!
Books are the perfect timeless and family-oriented gift. We don’t do much TV in our household so books are one of our main forms of entertainment. And they can be packed with meaning and memories.
(1.) Chat Books – These beautiful and simple flip picture books have become our staple stocking stuffer for our kids! We make them each a classic photo Chat Book that recaps that individual child’s year in picture form. You can also add a brief caption for each picture helping you and your kids remember fun details from their childhood. Like our little guy used to call cars “honk honks” and we smile every time we read that! We love how easy they are to put together using the pictures on your phone or computer!
Book Series – We read aloud one book series every year as a family. Last year we read (2.) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This year we are going to be reading (3.) The Green Ember Series by S.D. Smith.
The book series we are eyeing for next year is (4.) The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson.
Cook Books – Our kids have received a couple cook books over the years and it’s a win win! They love to flip through, pick out recipes to make, and practice cooking skills. And we all get to reap the benefits in having dinner on the table!
(7.) Little Pilgrim’s Progress – This book has been another family favorite this past year. It has easy to read, short chapters that tell a beautiful story and amazing pictures that kept even our younger children engaged.
I could go on and on with other books that we love but I’ll instead just refer you to my go-to source for the best book lists – Sarah Mackenzie’s site, The Read Aloud Revival! Her book suggestions never disappoint!
Non-material gifts that encourage us to get out and make memories are some of our most cherished. Experience gifts have also been helpful in allowing us to do things as a family or for our kids to take certain classes or lessons that otherwise didn’t fit into our tight budget.
Some of our favorites:
(8.) Classes or Lessons – Swimming, horseback riding, art, learning an instrument, etc.
(9.) Pool Pass – We ask for a local pool pass for our kids ever year.
(10.) Local Museum or Zoo Pass – These make great educational outings or homeschool field trips.
(11.) Water Park – Indoor parks are the perfect getaway in the winter months.
(12.) Sporting Event – It doesn’t need to be a Pro team; our 5 year old will still only watch the mascot the whole time 🙂
(13.) Show or Concert – This year we’re gifting our family a trip to Medieval Times, a local dinner and show that we’re SO looking forward to!
(14.) Going on a guided boat tour or just renting a boat! – We did a mail boat tour with family this past year and it was such a unique experience.
III. Get Outside
Even though we live on a farm that forces us to get outside to some extent all year long, life still seems to pull us indoors more than we would like. We love gifts that make our whole family, and especially our kids, want to be outside.
(15.) Tent – Last year we were gifted this Family Camping Tent with Screen Porch. Having regular backyard camping adventures became a highlight of our year. We loved the tent so much, we reached out to the company and they gave us a discount code for you. You can use the code fromscratchfarmstead15 to get $15 off any of their tents.
(17.) Standup Paddle Board (SUP) – Going paddle boarding is one of our new favorite activities! This is such a fun thing to do if you have a body of water near you and they are big and stable enough that I felt very comfortable taking our 2 bigger kids for a ride. Or our 7-year-old could do it herself. Plus, if you are limited on space, this inflatable paddle board is perfect. Again, we were such fans of our stand-up paddle board that we wanted to be able to give you a discounted price – use the code fromscratchfarmstead25 for $25 off.
(19.) Tree Swing – I cannot tell you how many hours have been logged on this tree swing. Primarily by our kids and their friends. But, it’s also one of my favorite places to sneak away and read a book on a nice day.
Other helpful outdoor gifts:
(20.) Bikes – Kids need a new size of bike every couple years so looking used here is also a great option.
(21.) Helmets – We have a strict NO helmet, NO riding rule at our house!
(22.) Sleds – Our kids keep asking for “fast sleds” and are anxiously awaiting the first big snow.
(23.) Roller blades – Yes, they’re still just as fun as when we were kids 🙂
(24.) Sports equipment – Some second hand soccer balls were a hit for our son’s birthday.
As a family with a smaller home and 3 kids that share one room, clothing space is tight. We have been very thankful for an abundance of hand-me-downs that have been passed along to our children making the need to purchase clothing almost non-existent. So, when it comes to gifts, I like to be intentional about asking for a few specific, quality items that we use all the time.
(25.) Meriwool Base layers – We live in base layers all winter and I love for all of us to have a set of base layers in everyone’s size. These are also great because with neutral colors they can easily be passed down. There are several good brands but the one’s we have are from Meriwool.
(26.) Darn Tough Socks – This is one area where we definitely prefer quality! We have found socks get holes so quickly with constantly wearing farm boots and we love natural fibers that will keep feet warm and dry all winter. Our favorites are Darn Tough Socks for their life-time warranty! While being more expensive up front, we’ve found them to be more than worth it for our whole family!
Shoes – Again, we’d much prefer to have a few pairs of high-quality shoes that we wear over and over again. Besides our work boots for wearing around the farm, we look for minimal, zero drop shoes. Here are our favorites:
(29.) Farm Boots – We’ve tried them all and do a side-by-side comparison of Bogs, HISEA, and Muck Boots. But we’ve leaned toward HISEA for their warranty, comfort, and price. You can use promo code FROMSCRATCH to get 15% off your boots of choice.
(30.) Swim Suits – Swim suits just don’t seem to pass down like others things might so we are generally looking to get a new swim suit for each kid every year. Our favorite brand for high quality, made in the US swimsuits are from City Threads.
V. Shop Small/Local Gifts
While this one is at the end of our list, these are the gifts that we give most often and are some of our favorites! There is just something special about giving a gift where you know the face of the creator behind it.
This list includes a few makers and ideas local to our area. We’d recommend exploring the holiday markets, fairs, and other venues near you to see which small businesses you connect with and want to support!
(31.) Custom, Water Color House Paintings – We’ve moved around quite a few times before landing on our homestead. After each move, we were given a custom painting of each home. What a sweet way to remember the different places that we’ve lived in and brought us to where we are now! Jim’s sister is the artist behind these and does amazing work, you can find her over on Instagram @lifewithlaura_art.
(32.) Personalized Jewelry – For Christmas last year, Jim got me this beautiful custom locket that I love. Our friend, Katie over at Gigi’s Petals handcrafts the prettiest jewelry that makes such a special and personal gift. And Katie generously gave our readers this promo code—FROMSCRATCH15—for 15% off your order!
(33.) The Coziest, Hand-Crafted Wool Mittens – I picked up a pair of these at a holiday market a decade ago and they are the only pair of mittens (off the farm) that I’ve worn since. These are now one of our go-to gift ideas that everyone loves. Handmade with repurposed wool and so stinkin’ cute—what could be better?
(34.) Juniper Grove Journals – While I know the trend is to use digital calendars, notes, lists, etc., I prefer going old school and writing all of that down. Last year, I received this beautiful handmade journal from Juniper Grove and love, love, love it! It keeps me organized and looks beautiful in the process. You can mix and match different journal inserts depending on your needs. At the top of our daughter’s list is a Juniper Grove journal with the nature journal inserts so she can keep all of her water coloring in one place.
(35.) Local Food – Besides the Chat Books in our kid’s stockings, the other item that you will find in stockings hung at our house are some sort of locally made treat. After perusing our local winter farmer’s market last year, Jim filled our stockings with locally made chocolate bars and hand cut pasta. Our 5-year-old recently proclaimed, “I can’t wait to get more noodles in my stocking this year!”
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Looking for More?
We also have a gift guide specifically created for the farmers, homesteaders, and foodies in your life.