Special Gifts to Give Each Year

Special Gifts to Give Each Year

What is a special gift to give a child, grandchild, or even godchild each year? I get asked this question all the time and I am finally putting my answers in a blog post. Most of these are for children but some could be for adults, too! Keep reading to see my ideas and definitely share yours at the bottom of the post!

Schleich Animals

Schleich is a German company that makes these sweet, hand-painted figurines. Their goal is to help children learn about nature and animals through their detailed, authentic figures. This would be a special, inexpensive yearly gift for boys and girls. Gift a small set each year.

Lionel Train

Lionel produces classic train sets that make special gifts for boys and girls. Start with this Lionel starter set and give a different car as a gift each year. You can find Lionel cars at many places, including Amazon, Target and Walmart. And don’t you just love a train going round a Christmas tree on Christmas morning? I do!

Dallas friends: don’t forget about Northpark Trains! You can make a donation to the Ronald McDonald house and they will hand paint your child’s name on a railcar. (Deadline approaching soon!) Call ahead before your visit and they will make sure your train is steaming through the exhibit when you arrive. Your child or grandchild will have so much fun finding his train. Such a sweet tradition and a gift that gives back.

Add-a-bead or add-a -pearl necklace

I received a gold bead necklace when I was younger and I loved receiving a new gold bead each year and I still have it. Visit your local jeweler to find a beautiful gold chain that can be added to each year.

Charm Bracelet

A James Avery Charm Bracelet is a classic yearly gift for girls. Their charms are special because there is a large selection of beautiful charms that can relate to activities they are doing, things they enjoy or significant events in their life.

Beatrix Potter Books

The individual Beatrix Potter mini books are great, inexpensive yearly gifts for boys and girls. You can find them all on Amazon when you search each book by its title. After many years, he or she will have a full collection of these special, keepsake books.

Classic Children’s Books

Think about how wonderful a child’s collection would be after years of getting a classic book each year! Give a nice hardcover each year. A wonderful Christmas book each year is also fun and something the child can eventually share with his or her children/ Visit this page for my favorite classic children’s books!

Mint Julep Cups

Collecting mint julep cups is a uniquely southern tradition. These cups are typically monogrammed and dated to mark special events and are common gifts to receive as baby gifts, christenings, weddings and other special occasions. These cups have a variety of uses but are definitely an heirloom that can be passed down. You can give every year with the date or monogram engraved. Fill with flowers for a special celebration gift. Read more about the Mint Julep Cup tradition here.

Silver Goblets

Giving sterling silver goblets as gift was a common tradition centuries ago because typically a family would have one cup assigned for each child. This practical tradition has become a special gift to give to parents at the birth of their child and would be an equally special yearly gift to give.

Antique Linen Hand Towels

You can find all sorts of neat hand towels and napkins with unique elegant monograms at area antique malls. I have a whole collection from my grandmother.

Madame Alexander Dolls

Madame Alexander Dolls are a classic yearly gift for girls and are so special to pass down.

Fontanini nativity sets

Fontanini is known for their beautiful Nativity sets and while buying a whole set at once can be quite pricy, buying a piece or two each year as a gift will result in a full set. I also love that they are plastic so children can enjoy playing with them and you don’t have to worry about them breaking them. This is such a special yearly gift that will be appreciated for many years to come!

Silver place settings

Pick out a special pattern and give one serving piece or place setting each year. By the time she gets married, she will have a whole set.

Camille’s Easter Egg

Camille’s Easter Eggs are one of my favorite yearly gifts for my girls. Her beautiful, hand painted Easter eggs are so special and can be painted with a picture of your child or grandchildren and the hobbies they enjoy. She also has hand-painted ornaments.


When they grow up and have their own Christmas tree, they will have a unique collection of ornaments with special memories behind each one. Waterford, Christopher Radko, or one of Neiman Marcus’ annual ornaments are elegant and timeless. If the year isn’t engraved on it, perhaps you can write the date on it. Camille’s Creations are more playful and childlike. Have her paint what your child loves that year (soccer, dance, bunnies!).

Yearly Letter

Remember when Reese Witherspoon posted that beautiful box filled with letters she wrote her daughter and presented to her on her 18th birthday. This is something you can start at any time and is so meaningful.

Savings Bonds/Gold or Silver Coins

Maybe not as exciting in the moment, but much appreciated down the road!

Want more special gift ideas? DoSayGive’s Holiday Gift Guide is launching soon and we will have an entire section on timeless gifts for children. Subscribe to DoSayGive so you don’t miss it!

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16 thoughts on “Special Gifts to Give Each Year

    1. I posted in my Early Bird Christmas post about Camille’s Creations hand-painted dog ornaments. They are under $50 and personalized. Also our holiday gift guide launches soon and there will be lots of ideas there!

  1. I love this post! ?

    My mama does the add-a-pearl for my little girls each year for their birthday and I get them the Enesco Growing Up Girls and a Charm on their James Avery Charm bracelet.

    For Christmas, each year they get a Waterford Crystal ornament from my husband and I and my mama gets them an ornament that is representative of something they loved that year. When they get a little older we are going to take them to pick out their Christmas China and then they will get a place setting each Christmas so that when they have their own home they will have their own Christmas China set. Most people register for formal China at their wedding but don’t receive Christmas china!

    We also add a classic children’s book to their collection for each holiday! You can never have enough books and I love that they can pass them down to their children as well.

    For yearly ballet recitals, they get a monogrammed mint julep cup with a bouquet of flowers in it to add to their collection.

    1. Hi Lee-
      love all these ideas. I love the idea of a mint julep cup but how do you I engrave it? If I’m giving one to my daughter do I put her initials even though she’ll be married one day and have different initials? And do I put my son’s initials on it or just our last initial?

      1. Yes, she will still enjoy it with her maiden name. Same with your son. It is very traditional to do it this way. But you could also do one initial.

  2. I love this list!
    We do special ornaments for each child; I keep a list so someday I’ll know what to give each when they leave the nest 🙂
    And thank you for the idea about Madame Alexander dolls; I have about 15 I collected as a little girl. My daughter is 2 now, so maybe in the next year or so I will begin passing them to her at holidays. I usually chose dolls that had meaning (a book character, or one representing a country we traveled to) so it will be fun to share those stories.

  3. This is timely and helpful! I remember my aunt giving us a piece to our nativity set each year, and I’m going to ask my kids’ aunt if she would like to do the same.

  4. My godfather gave my twin sister and me and Christopher Radko ornaments each year. As we entered middle school he began taking us to lunch and to a specialty Christmas shop to pick out our ornaments each year. The year I got married my mom shipped the box of ornaments, and my husband and I had a beautiful tree for our first Christmas together. Such a nice tradition!

  5. Love love LOVE these annual gifts. My husband’s family was so thoughtful about these and we had a full julep cup set and a Fontanini nativity to display for our first Christmas. Such special gifts that have found special places in our home. We are excited to continue the tradition for our children, nieces, and nephews!

  6. Hi Lee,
    Any thoughts on setting up a gift registry for a silver pattern for one’s daughters? We have 3 little girls and with the different specifications for flatware (type of knife, size of the setting, etc.), I thought this would streamline gift-giving a bit, but I keep having that “I’m throwing my own bridal shower feeling.” How do traditional moms and grandmothers usually do this, logistically, if they want to invite others (who have asked us what to get for birthdays, Christmas, etc. – I would never give the registry unsolicited) to give such a treasured and traditional gift? Or is it best, ettiquette-wise, to just say their pattern is X (or not even that?). Thank you!!

    1. Don’t do a registry. If asked for ideas in that price range you can tell the friend or family member you are collecting x pattern for your daughters. They may or not want to do that and that’s okay.