As a child, my parents used to tell me what they wanted from me was not something I bought, but something I made. Never understood that, since my skills at making anything were never as good as whatever I could buy.

But, of course, the point of gifts from a child are not to see how fancy they can be, but the heart they put into the gifts.

As an adult, I also find that the best gifts I receive and give are the ones that have a meaning to the recipient.

Over the past few years, my family has enjoyed gifts that provide a memory of a family activity or just the family as a whole. Here are some of the gifts I find people have really liked.

Family photos on canvas, glass or metal. Most of the big photo printing sites offer all of these, as do the local pharmacies. Look for discounts as they’re almost always available. We have a handful of these around our home and have given them as gifts.

One product my wife really liked was a photo scarf. I used MailPix.com to upload a handful of photos of our children to make a scarf that she could wear every day. It’s like having our children hug her all day.

On a truly no-tech scale, there are two items we have used successfully in our family.

Make a booklet of coupons for someone. The coupons could include things like: “Good for one Date Night,” “Good for me to clean out the garage,” or “Good for a back rub.” Kids can offer coupons to parents or siblings for similar offers. These are really easy to make and can show not only a good understanding of what the other person wants, but can also be quite humorous.

A bit more complicated, but still on the no-tech end of the spectrum, we’ve made leather belts for friends and family members. It’s a basic leather strap with a buckle on one end and holes in the other. We’ve developed ways to cut, trim, puncture, dye and finish these belts. They look great and since they’re made out of a single piece of leather, they last forever. As they age they even develop a great look to them.

As you are looking around for gifts to give people this year, consider something that you created just for them. Whether you truly made it in your own home or had a friend or other company make it isn’t as important as that the item is personalized just for them.

And, yes, I still ask that my children make something for my wife and me every year. Having these items means far more than anything they could buy for us. Our collection is growing every year and is truly priceless.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends and gifts that last a lifetime.

Mark Mathias is a 35+ year information technology executive and a resident of Westport, Connecticut. His columns can be read on the Internet at http://blog.mathias.org. He can be contacted at livingwithtechnology@mathias.org.