According to the dictionary, sentimental means to be ruled by feelings and to be emotionally idealistic. “Emotionally idealistic” is not the same as “emotional.”
Emotional people cry easily and are quick to anger or excitement. In contrast, “emotionally idealistic” describes how sentimental persons cherish “perfect” memories and save keepsakes of persons they loved and special occasions.
Sentimental persons love old photographs and things handed down to them by persons they loved. Instead of remembering the flaws of real life, they cherish the ideal of an occasion, such as a wedding – the memory of a “perfect” day in a not-so-perfect life.
Is There Really Such a Thing as Being Sentimental?
Whether or not people who are sentimental have special characteristics in the brain was the subject of the Fox News article “‘Warm and Sentimental’ People Have More Tissue in Certain Areas of Brain, Study Finds,” published on May 19, 2009. The study, published in the European Journal of Neuroscience, showed that sentimental persons have greater concentrations of tissue in certain areas of the brain.
Far more useful than this study was an informational website that asked people the question, “What is the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own that means more than anything else you own?” Almost invariably, the responses involved cherished items from family members:
- “A beautiful ring that belonged to my grandma’s sister, I idolized her…”
- “…my Mom’s wedding ring and my Grammy’s engagement ring.”
- “A pendant with my sons’ image engraved on it….”
- “My great grandfather’s turquoise necklace that my father gave me, it is tradition that it is handed down to the oldest male.”
- “It was a 10 caret military ring that belonged to my great uncle who was a medic and was felled on D-Day.”
How to Tell if Someone is Sentimental
Sentimental people are different. You can tell that people are sentimental because they talk about possessions that they cherish and why; they know and talk about their families and ancestors, and they even cherish items of no value if a special story or memory is associated with the item.
For example, if a woman saves the ticket stubs from her first movie date, she is sentimental. If a man shows you something hidden in a box in a drawer that belonged to his great grandfather and tells you the story behind it, he is most likely sentimental.
Sentimental Gifts for Special Occasions
Sentimental gifts can be a specially designed piece of jewelry, a cherished possession of your family that you give to your spouse, a token that marks a special occasion or a keepsake that you have saved for years from a special moment in your life.
There are infinite types of sentimental gifts, from photos to jewelry – from your grandfather’s Medal of Honor to a jar of sand from the beach where you were married. If you want to buy something new and sentimental for your loved one to hand down to the next generation, here are a few ideas.
For Mothers and Wives – A Mother’s Ring
A mother’s ring is a ring with the birthstone of each of her children. Many jewelry stores and websites have the list of birthstones for each month, and all months have at least two to choose from.
In spite of the multitude of stores and websites featuring mother’s rings, I meet very few women who have a mother’s ring. Many have never heard of them. Yet they are about the most sentimental and romantic present you can buy.
For your mother, they are always perfect. They symbolize love and gratitude for each child raised by your mother. For your wife, they are a perfect gift after a first child or any time after your family is complete – and you can always add stones.
A Handmade Portrait from a Favorite Photograph
Choose a photograph of your wedding, your family, a favorite moment or place – anything with special meaning, and have it hand painted. This is surprisingly affordable and can usually be completed within a month.
If you cannot find the perfect photo, you can select a picture of each of you looking your very best and have it combined and painted. Or you can have a picture painted of photos of family members placed within a photo of a favorite setting.
Figurines with Sentimental Themes
Figurines are also sentimental. They are basically “little statues” and often depict touching and tender themes. Figurines range from simple and rustic “Willow Tree®” figures to classy and formal Royal Doultan® china figurines. Some people love and collect certain types of figures, such as the famous Hummel figurines and the cherub-like figures of the “Precious Moments” collection.
Figurine collections always include many romantic and religious themes, such as marriage, mother/father and child, lovers, angels and tender scenes of children – playing, praying and sleeping. There is a huge variety of sentimental and pastoral themes.
Figurines can be given to commemorate something special, such as a wedding day. Figurines are often handed down from generation to generation, just like jewelry.
Gifts for Sentimental Persons
Sentimental gifts are priceless, whether they cost a lot or cost nothing. They are priceless because they commemorate a moment in time or a memory of a person, so that it will not be forgotten. A rock on a beach or a dried flower kept in a book is as priceless as a family heirloom. If it is the thought that counts, sentimental gifts surpass all others.