Encouraging Thoughtful Gift Giving Between Siblings

Thoughtful Gift Giving Between Siblings

Gift giving between siblings can often feel obligatory around the holidays or birthdays. While it’s nice to exchange gifts, the presents sometimes lack thoughtfulness or meaning. As siblings grow older and busier, they may default to simply gifting each other gift cards or cash.

However, thoughtful and personalized gifts can help strengthen the sibling bond. Here are some tips for encouraging more meaningful gift exchanges between siblings.

1. Give Gifts That Reflect Current Interests

Introduce the idea to give gifts that reflect knowledge of each other’s current interests. Spend time catching up and learning about what your sibling is into lately. For example, if your sister just took up mountain biking, get her some new bike accessories. If your brother is trying new recipes, gift him some unique cooking tools. Giving relevant gifts shows you pay attention to who they are right now.

2. Use Wish Lists

Request wish lists and swap them with each other. Create an Amazon wish list or note some items you’d appreciate. This gives your sibling options to select from, so they feel confident you’ll use and enjoy their gift. Wish lists also help curb duplicate gifts. Sharing the lists ahead of time leads to more thoughtful purchases.

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3. Give a Shared Experience

Give an experience gift you can share together. Rather than material items, gift event tickets you can use together, like a concert, play, or sporting event. Experiences create special memories and quality bonding time. Or, give them cooking classes or wine tasting you can do as a duo.

4. Make a Heartfelt Handmade Gift

Make your gift by hand for a personal touch. Homemade gifts show effort and care. Try baking their favorite treats, knitting a scarf, designing a photo calendar or framed collage, or crafting a piece of art or another handmade item. Even better, take a craft class together to create gifts for each other.

Give Sentimental Gifts

5. Give Sentimental Gifts

Give sentimental gifts that highlight your history. Create a nostalgic photo book chronicling your journey from childhood until now. Or, unearth cherished items from your childhood and gift them, like old cards, drawings, or game pieces. Sentimental gifts remind the recipient how long you’ve been in each other’s lives.

5. Help Them Pursue a New Hobby

Help set them up for a new interest or hobby. If your sibling mentioned wanting to get into metal detecting, photography, golf, or other hobby, gift them beginner gear to start their new pursuit. Enabling a passion project shows you listen and want to encourage their growth.

6. Give Their Favorite Food or Treat

Surprise them with their favorite treat or food. Determine their current food obsession and present it beautifully. For instance, if they’ve been craving Nashville hot chicken, order from the trendy new spot so they can try it. Or, recreate Grandma’s famous lasagna recipe for a taste of nostalgia. Food gifts can feel homemade and thoughtful.

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7. Donate to Their Cause

Make a donation to a cause that matters to them. If your sibling is passionate about a certain charity or organization, make a donation in their honor. Attach a printed receipt or certificate to a card explaining you contributed to their cause. It allows them to give back.

8. Mix Handmade and Purchased

Handmake part of the gift but purchase part. For example, sew a scarf but buy designer mittens to pair with it. Or, create a photo collage of special memories but put it in a high-quality frame. Mixing homemade elements with purchased items provides the best of both worlds.

9. Give an Experience Plus Memento

Gift an experience together, then give a small memento. Register for a team cooking class, pottery workshop, or carnival skills session. Afterward, present them with a cookbook, set of crafted mugs, or juggling balls to remind them of the shared time. The experience creates a memory while the item allows them to carry a piece of it forward.

10. Talk About Thoughtful Giving

Have an open conversation with your children about what makes a thoughtful gift. Explain that the best gifts are ones specially chosen with the recipient in mind, not generic gifts everyone would like. Discuss how meaningful gifts show someone you truly care about them.

Give examples of gifts that reflect knowledge of the sibling’s hobbies, interests, inside jokes, favorite things, causes they care about, or significant memories. Highlight gifts you’ve given each other that were thoughtful or sentimental.

11. Brainstorm Personalized Ideas

Help your children brainstorm gift ideas specifically tailored to each sibling. Ask them about their sibling’s current interests, hobbies, wishes, and personality. Have them share memories and inside jokes. Then generate ideas together for relevant, meaningful gifts.

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Write down their creative ideas to reference later when shopping. Steer them away from generic toys, clothes or gift cards. Encourage personalized presents.

12. Set a Budget

Give each child a set budget for sibling gifts, based on what is reasonable for your family. Explain that thoughtful gifts do not have to be expensive. In fact, homemade gifts often have the most meaning. The budget prevents overspending and teaches money management. Have them think creatively about gifts they can make or find within the budget. Guide them to focus on the personal value versus the price tag.

13. Make Homemade Gifts

Encourage children to make gifts themselves rather than buying them. Homemade gifts show time, effort, and care. Assist them with baking, knitting, painting, sculpting, recycling old items into art, sewing, putting together photo books or collages, recording songs, designing coupons for future activities together, or other crafts suited to their age and ability level. Make it a fun family activity. The imperfections will add to the charm!

14. Model Thoughtful Giving

Set the tone by giving thoughtful gifts yourself, both to your children and between parents. Verbally explain why you chose each gift. Children notice and learn from observing their parents’ examples. Demonstrate that holidays are about showing love through meaningful gifts, not materialism. Share favorite sentimental gifts from the past to inspire their ideas.

The key is guiding children to think creatively about their siblings as an individual. When kids put care and effort into gifts for each other, they learn important values like empathy, generosity, and thoughtfulness. The gifts become meaningful symbols of the siblings’ unique lifelong bond.


With some creativity and insight into what matters to your sibling now, gift-giving can become much more thoughtful. Make the gifts personal and meaningful. Gift exchanges will help fortify your lifelong bond as siblings, even when miles apart. Learn here more about siblings relationship tips and guidance.