What's The Most Thoughtful Gift You've Ever Received?

The best presents are the ones with heart.
Publish date:
December 26, 2014
presents, gifts, shopppables

"I hate random crap," I said to a friend's boyfriend last night while we hung out drinking cocktails (them) and fancy fake drinks (me). "So I try not to give it."

Every holiday season, no matter what holiday you do or don't celebrate, it seems like people feel obligated to give you something, so you end up with a random assortment of stuff you won't use and sometimes actively dislike. If you feel like you need to be well-mannered, you'll make sure said items are displayed when those people visit and then buried again when they don't, or you do what most of the rest of us do and say "Thank you, how lovely!" and then toss or regift them to someone who will appreciate them. (My regifting game is tight.)

But if you luck out and have awesome friends and family, you get really amazing presents for birthdays, holidays, or just 'cause that show people really put a lot of thought into what you would like, and wanted to make sure you were really, genuinely happy with your present. Treasure those people. Find them cool gifts.

We reminisced over some of our favorite presents through the years because we love prezzies, and we want to hear from you about your best gifts ever...or at least, your best gifts this year.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the post office to clean out my mailbox, and I got a package slip that led to an intriguing box from Daisy. What, I asked myself, could this be? My greediness and impatience in the present department knows no bounds, so I promptly ripped it open, and I was totally amazed by what I found inside.

It's not just that this is a great gift for writers and grammar nerds (and also editors who constantly weep on Twitter over this and other common grammar mixups -- proofread, my friends!), although it is. It's that I very offhandedly mentioned these on Twitter months ago, and Daisy somehow saw the Tweet in the flood of stuff that goes by on Twitter, retained the information, and was kind enough to get these for me.

You could sully them with coffee although I of course will be drinking tea in them, but the point is that this grammar cup and saucer set was a really thoughtful, kind gift. Daisy knows how to give a good present -- and I'm not just saying that to suck up in the hopes of getting the "their, there, they're" set, I swear.

Louise was having a rough time a few years ago, so her spouse came up with a great gift: "My husband gave me horseback riding lessons a few years ago when I was deeply depressed. Animals always make feel better. It was the perfect therapy."

Emily fondly remembers an amazing and thoughtful gift put together by a boyfriend who wanted her to have the perfect thing:

He bought two antique lockets -- one which he had made with an old-timey looking photo of a cheeseburger inside based on something I'd one offhandedly said. The other one turned out to be a "vintage perfume locket." It came full of some kind of grandma-y perfume. He drained the stank wax from the locket over a stove burner. To find out what kind of solid perfume I would want in the locket, he photographed all the perfumes on my counter and googled them to find out their notes, then took that to a perfumist at CB Bigelow's who broke down my "scent profile" and helped him pick a solid perfume online that she thought I would like. [Here's how to make your own perfume locket!]

Mandy, meanwhile, remembers "a necklace my dad gave me when I was a kid with a tiny beautiful gold typewriter charm on it he commissioned from the jeweler to surprise me." She's also still cut up about the fact that it fell out of her pocket and she lost it.

Caitlin has not one but two awesome present memories, because she's just that cool, apparently. First, a boyfriend story:

All of his gifts referenced inside jokes: The "big" ones were this wonderful down pillow, as we always stole the two dumb flat pillows from under each other when we slept in my bed, and then a rad cocoon alpaca sweater, 'cause we also had an longstanding joke about, erm, alpacas. And I always borrowed my roommate's cocoon sweater. But the way he wrapped everything was kind of hilarious because you could tell what everything was and he sucks at wrapping -- totally made me cry, regardless.

The other? A touching and sweet roommate present:

Also my roommate replaced my Wildfox scarf I lost in NYC about a month ago -- they no longer sell it, but she found it on eBay and Secret Santa-d it to me last week. Made me cry, too. (I cry a lot at Christmas.)

Marci has a great story about an arty friend:

A few years ago, I was looking through my friend Beth's art blog, where she had posted scans of the drawings she’d done in her notebook. I loved them and asked if she wouldn’t mind if I printed a few out to hang in my apartment. She was totally cool with it. Last year, I saw Beth for the first time in, like, a decade, and she brought me the original notebook page of one of my favorite drawings of hers. I thought that was just so incredibly generous and thoughtful.

Hannah also has multiple great gift memories. I love this one from her childhood:

In high school I asked for a bike. It was getting close to Christmas and I didn't see any large, bike-sized boxes anywhere around the house so gave up wishing. Then Christmas morning I came downstairs and there was a shiny red vintage style Schwinn in the living room. My parents had hid it at the neighbours' house.

This isn't just a thoughtful gift, it's a brilliant present scheme, so take note. Clever hiding is key to successful gift sneak attacks.

And here's her grown up thoughtful present story:

Today when I got to work I was exhausted and then saw in the back room that my boss had gifted me a bottle of rose champagne, a handwritten card thanking me for my work, and a $100 Visa gift card. I've been so tired and overworked lately that I almost started crying. Definitely cracking the bottle open tonight.

Claire has a pretty boss present story:

For my 27th birthday, Sean got me a turntable with a whole sound system. He set it up while I was at work and stood by it while he waited for me to come home so he could have it playing "Where Do You Go to My Lovely" by Peter Starstedt when i walked in.

Remember: After you've gleefully opened your amazing present, be sure to write a thank you note -- and for the love of reindeer prancing in the snow, take the time to write it by hand.

Now, tell us your favorite gift stories -- or at least what you got this year.