I’ve never been one for gift-giving, and I’ve been much for gift-receiving. If I want something I will get it myself, thank you very much. 

It can make shopping for me very hard. If people ever ask me what I want I’ll just shrug and tell them to figure it out. Well, take note everyone. 

  1. See? This is why a practical gift is always the best gift.

    Food! My medical bills from MS were really getting to me and some friends noticed things were low, they showed up with bags of groceries and then made dinner! It was the single most selfless and meaningful act of kindness I have ever been privy too.


  2. Make your own White Christmas

    Snow, for my 30th birthday.

    A close friend knocked on my door holding what I at first thought was a white package. He told me to come outside, so I did. He’d gone hiking that morning and ran into snow so (knowing I loved snow but rarely got to see it) he backed his truck up the mountain, filled it full of snow, and unloaded it into my yard before he came and got me. We built a snowman and had a snowball fight.

    Most unique and thoughtful gift I’ve ever received.


  3. Like getting a big puppy

    I was the weird kid in middle school. I had given up hope of ever having a horse of my own and sort of withdrawn into myself. I continued with my riding lessons and “adopted” a horse that my instructor had listed for sale. He was the weird kid of the barn-not that good looking, smart, not very good social skills, but kind hearted. I fed him, bathed him, braided his hair, took him to a few shows, and generally taught him things (supervised by an experienced instructor mind you) that made him infinitely more marketable. He turned into my best friend.

    The day came in October that I feared. He had been sold :(. The good news was that the owner wouldn’t be able to pick him up until January and would like me to continue caring for him. They couldn’t pay me but had arranged for me to have extra riding lessons as compensation. After talking it over with my dad, I accepted this. I redoubled my efforts to teach him everything I thought he needed to know for his “new little girl (or boy)” I took him swimming in the pond, taught him to drive, taught him some tricks, socialised him, and taught him useful skills for the show ring.

    Christmas eve after Mass, dad wanted to go to the barn to give the horses all carrots from “Santa.” I thought he was crazy and told him so but he insisted.

    I got to the barn and noticed “oh hey cool, Instructor decorated Prince’s stall for the decorating contest.”

    Dad pointed out that Prince had left me a Christmas card.

    it read something like “Dear Orthonut. Thank you so much for taking such good care of me even though you thought I didn’t belong to you. I have enjoyed being your horse so much and I can’t wait to see where we go from here. I promise to always try my hardest to do whatever you ask and I only ask that you continue to treat me with kindness, respect, and understanding. XOXOXO, Love YOUR HORSE PRINCE”

    I was like “Oh hey Prince, thanks for the card. Would you like a carrot?”

    Dad had to poke me and say, “Um, Orthonut. He’s YOUR HORSE now. Merry Christmas” two or three times.

    From that one Christmas pony, I learned kindness, respect, responsibility, how to stay calm in a crisis, how to do community outreach, a sense of humour, and countless other things. I had him for 13 years, spun being a crazy horse girl into a career in veterinary medicine, and leased him to a wonderful little girl who was suspiciously like me at that age. He tragically passed away due to illness but was in the best of care at the time of his passing.

    Even knowing now that he would pass I would do the whole thing over again. I made so many life long friendships and learned so much from that horse.


  4. And now you can read this post!

    My father surprised me with LASIK surgery. I had very bad vision all my life and anyone who has glasses or contacts can tell you that it is such a burden. I tear up every time I even think about getting it done. It truly was the best gift I have ever been given.


  5. The naughty/nice system works

    One holiday, my cousins and I picked on one of our cousins. She was younger, came from a less affluent background, and had a lot of hand-me-down clothes. As a lesson, on Christmas morning, we all found our gifts gone. Instead of full stockings, we had notes in each, berating our poor behavior. All of our gifts had been returned and all the money from them went to my cousin. We took her shopping and helped her pick out new clothes, gifts for herself, and had to apologize. I have always seen this as the best gift I have ever received, a lesson in humility, love, equality, and family. Since then, I have become close to my cousin, and feel so grateful at being given a second chance through her forgiveness, in the lesson my parents, aunt, and uncle chose to gift.



  6. A very expensive gift

    My college education that my parents paid for


  7. This inspired a series of paintings

    Canned Tomato Soup.

    For several years of my life, I bore a grudge that leaked anger, hatred and enmity of everyone around me. The grudge was born one night when, as I followed the car of a group of friends on my motorcycle, I bumped into the curb and crashed, thrown off the my bike and into a ravine. The fall came close to killing me- had I crashed in five feet later, I would have been cut in half by a rock positioned in my path. I stood, climbed to the top of the ravine and watched as the car of friends drove off the moment they saw me stand. I wrestled the 300 pound bike onto its tires, drove home and soaked my right foot, the top of which had been skinned. No one came to see me. Girls came to see my more popular roommate, however, who was feeling slightly ill. They crowded around him, massaging him and not noticing the guy in the corner with his foot in a bucket of bloody soap water.

    The thought would later, repeatedly, rise up- “You almost died and no one cared-“ and would reaffirm my feelings of worthlessness.

    Fast forward two years. I lived in a different apartment complex, and for the prior few days, I’d been unable to eat and ran a high fever. Two girls who attend my weekly anime night stopped by the apartment and made me some canned tomato soup, then sat and kept me company while I ate.

    The grudge inside me released, and I don’t think they ever fully understood why I was crying.


  8. Seems sketchy

    Back in high school there was this girl I in my art class. I was really quiet and extremely shy, but I somehow got the courage to start talking to her. She started sitting next to me in class and she said that I was a good artist. We kind of became friends because of that I guess. It wasn’t much but it was apparently enough to make her want to ask one of my teachers (at least I’m hoping that’s how she found out) when my birthday was. So on my birthday I went in to school, got a single “Happy Birthday” from my best friend (not the girl) and went on to my classes. Through all my classes nobody mentioned it was my birthday. I know that’s my fault, because I never really told anyone, but it still made me pretty sad. But when I went to my class after lunch, my teacher said there was a package for me, and she wouldn’t tell me who it was from. So I opened the package and inside was this fancy sketchbook and these great drawing pens. Other than a couple small gifts from my parents, it was the only gift I got that day. Honestly the sketchbook and the pens were okay, but what really got me was that the whole day I kept feeling like nobody even noticed me, until this happened. Eventually I found out it was from that girl, and we’re good friends now.


  9. Nothing special is special

    The best gifts I’ve gotten have always been nice ordinary items that I would have never bought for my self. For example, my mom got me this really nice grooming set (scissors, tweezers, nail cutters) that I use ALL the time. They work amazing, but they are a bit pricier so i would have never bought them. Another is this awesome hairbrush with my name printed on it. I use it everyday, but would never spend the extra money on it myself.


  10. Moms are the best

    My mom is the most thoughtful gift-giver I know. She lives on the opposite coast, and the last time she visited me here in New York, she brought me a copy of a book she’d had inscribed with a personal message to me at a Portland bookstore by a well-known author who had taught one of my writing classes in college.

    The best gift she ever gave me was a bright red metal toolbox for Christmas when I was little. Not a toy — a real one! I’m a trans guy, and she was very accepting of my tomboyishness at that age despite what anyone else in the family said, and continued to be incredibly supportive throughout my transition. Now I just have to figure out what to get her next Christmas…


  11. The PS2 made us all cry? Shadow of the Colossus? Can't even think about it now.

    My mother and biological father seperated when she was pregnant and so, for reasons i don’t feel comfortable to share, when I was younger my biological father always sent my older brother gifts thus leaving me feeling more than often neglected. On the year that the PlayStation 2 had come out my brother had received a pretty large sum of money from all our relatives, although most of said money came from our father. I had urged my brother to buy some games for the current system that we had, the original PlayStation, but he always said that he was saving up for something. I was a little disappointed but I got over it soon enough. A couple months later my birthday came along. Me and my family were never very big into parties so we had the family together with some food and cake. Everyone seemed very excited for some reason when the time came to open presents. We didn’t have a lot of money so I usually had two or three toys with which I was perfectly contempt, so my brother brought a decently large wrapped box I was more than a bit excited. When I opened the box I was completely at a loss for words as I was overwhelmed with joy. My brother had saved up his money to buy me a ps2. He was never really much into video games and would usually only play when I wanted to multiplayer with him so it really was a gift all for me. I was a huge crybaby when I was younger but that was the one and only time I cried out of happiness.


  12. The key to getting a good gift is patience

    The best gift I’ve ever received was the $5000 my grandmother left me after she passed away this spring. because of the boost to my savings account my husband and I were able to buy our first house. I’m ordering a garden stone to be engraved with her name and “Thank You, grandma” because as someone who graduated high school the year the economy tanked, I NEVER thought I would be able to own my own house. I’m in tears just thinking about her and how sweet and thoughtful and generous she was.


  13. Gotta have your own gavel in law school. It is like a wand in Hogwarts.

    During my college years a close family friend was slowly wasting away of cancer. I looked up to this man like no other – he was a fairly prominent judge in my city. My last couple years of college (the last couple years of his life), I was working my ass off to get into law school. I hadn’t done great early on in college, and I thought my dreams of law school would never come true.

    I was at a low point, assuming I’d never get into any law school, watching a family friend waste away – it was awful. When “Judge” passed away, I was considering not even applying. He had always encouraged me to keep with it, so I applied to one single school – his alma mater.

    On the day that his wife was doling out the items left by Judge in his will, I was flabbergasted. He left me his personal gavel, the one that had been handed down to him by the judge he replaced. Also arriving for me that day? My acceptance letter to law school.


  14. This does not sound silly at all

    it probably sounds silly, but a blanket that my boyfriend gave me.

    we both went through a time in our life where we were homeless, without support of family or friends. we had been working really hard to try to put our lives back together and find some kind of stability with each other because it really wasn’t working before we met apart. anyway.. my birthday was coming up and even though we were getting to better places, by no means were we even feeling slightly secure financially. however, he went down to this little shack of a store a few streets away and got me this really cute blanket that i’ve always kind of seen as the beginning of our building back into security.

    i’ve slept with it every day since and love it so incredibly much!


  15. This stresses me out. Let's all take a deep breath.

    This one is most likely quite marginal and am not seeking any gold or a marketplace donation from this, but it definitely has to be the ability to wake up every single day and take a deep breath of air. When you’ve lived the life that I’ve lived (11.5 years totaled in the hospital) you really come to appreciate the small things in life. I have lived most of my life with 33% lung function. Whenever it’s a sunny day I’ll just sit out on the deck and just feel so grateful for having been able to survive all of my past ordeals to experience the smell of the flowers, the rustling of the leaves in the trees as the wind blows through them, the sight of the bees carefully probing the flowers for nectar, and much more. I could have easily died many times… in fact each lung infection for me could kill me if it is not taken care of immediately (though my prognosis as it stands is really quite remarkable–the docs really see no reason why I can’t live into my 90’s.)

    I love life, really. I suffer from anxiety and depression, but no matter how terrible I feel I just think back to what I’ve overcome in my life and I usually get back to smiling again. Some people truly don’t know how lucky they are, and sometimes I find it difficult to understand just how lucky I am.


  16. Where can I buy this book?

    I was a soldier deployed to Iraq, about 8 months in I was at an all time low. Wife was cheating on me and had left me, spent all my savings. So I was not having a good time. My little sister sent me a book of cool quotes, hand written in a journal, but at the back it was filled with every single one of my friends and family saying awesome things about me etc. Really changed my perspective and got me through the next forever.


  17. Surprise!

    My husband and I had to live apart for a year, and he was in midterms the week of my birthday and said he wouldn’t be able to come. On my birthday, after I got home from school I was sitting alone feeling really sorry for myself when the doorbell rang. He was at my door with a home-made dinner of my favorite foods and flowers. He had to leave early the next day, but that quick trip made me happier than any other gift I’ve ever received.


  18. Slightly better than a gift certificate

    Was homeless for a little while, just on two years ago. I had my backpack, my motorcycle, and what pennies I had left in my bank account. While friends did their best to provide a place for me in the transition, it was obviously not always realistic for them, so I ended riding fairly long distances between housing. At the time, it was also a fairly bitter fall, and my body was taking a pretty serious beating.

    A friend bought me a gift certificate for gas, a set of waterproof gloves, and some cheap sunglasses so glare wouldn’t hit me.

    It wasn’t what was given, it was all the timing. I felt as though I was nobody to everyone, and felt like some horrible couch hopping abomination that everyone hated. That gift got me through those times.

    To people out there, just remember, $40 can totally turn someone’s life around. Utterly change them. I went from being one of the more bitter autistic people you will ever meet, tumblr “the world hates me” type shit, to thinking the world of a very select few people, and realizing that’s all both they and I needed to get through life. It was immensely humbling and eye opening.

    The final bit, I never did find out who gave it to me. I came out from a mall where I was stealing wifi service to find the package on my bike. I call this person a friend not because I knew them, but because I didn’t know them. I, to this day, have not found out who sent the gift, nor how they knew I was in trouble.

    Thank you. IF this comment were to get any sort of uppropping, I’d just ask for you to donate the $40 to someone else. I’ve had my gift, someone else could use the same from a stranger. Cheers.


  19. Woo, indeed.

    My grandmother wanted to give me something special for my 21st, something I’d have forever and so we would go on these crazy shopping trips trying to find something perfect. The first day, we shopped for 6 hours and found nothing. In the weeks leading up to my birthday, we shopped all over the place but nothing was right as I am pretty darn fussy. Finally we found a jewelry store having a sale and after searching countless jewelry stores before this, I found something that was just me. Grandma even managed to haggle them down to a better price.

    It’s nothing fancy. A small silver circle with an ornate M carved into it, next to a tiny diamond. On the back, she wanted to get a messaged engraved. She picked ‘We’re proud of you’ as the main part of the message and as someone who feels their life has been a disaster, this message makes me tear up every time I read it.

    Man this got long. But yeah, a necklace. Woo.


  20. Sometimes the best gift is what you give someone else.

    The greatest gift I ever received was not one of a material nature. My first “real world” job was as a high school mathematics teacher at my high school alma mater. Now, as is the case with many new teachers, I got assigned most of the “lower level” classes with kids known to exhibit many of the behavioral problems and learning difficulties you see movies about. One particular class I taught was a pre-algebra course that had 29 students enrolled, all freshmen, and over 50% of which had individualized plans due to learning disabilities. Within that class, there was one particular student that happened to catch my eye, a nineteen year old freshman. It was quite obvious from day one that he did not want to be there, but due to compulsory attendance laws, he was required to be unless he decided to drop out.

    Now, as a teacher, we are trained never to allow dropping out to be an option for a student. That counts against the system’s numbers and can draw funding from the school as a result. I asked myself the question, however, “Is there more going on with this kid than I’m aware?” And, as it turns out, there was…much more. His parents pretty well kicked him out of the house, he had a girlfriend (older than he was) whom he had a child, and had to go to work immediately after school to earn a living for his family. That settled it for me, I held him after class at the end of the week about a month into the semester and asked him why he continued to come to school. His response was he felt he had to do it, but had no desire to be there as all he could think about was providing for his family. Going over and over in my mind about this kid’s situation, combined with the fact that he never exhibited behavior problems, he just never did the work, I came to the conclusion he would be best served by dropping out and working full-time. I asked him what he did for a living after school, and he told me that he worked at a local auto mechanic shop. I asked him if they would hire him on full-time, and he said no because he didn’t have his degree and that was one of their policies. I told him to give me a week to think of something.

    I went to the auto shop the next week and spoke with the manager. I asked him if he’d consider hiring the guy on full-time on the condition that he work on getting his GED. I told him I believed the kid would follow through and I would help him if necessary. The manager agreed to make the exception especially since the work this guy did was great.

    The following day, I told the kid about the offer, and he was speechless. I told him to get his things, head down to the guidance office at the end of the day and sign out. I knew he could accomplish this and I’d keep in touch with him should he need the help.

    The rest of the school year went off without much of a hitch, and I periodically checked in at the auto shop to see how things were going. The kid didn’t say much, just that he was working on it. After another couple weeks in the summer, I stopped once more at the auto shop to check in on the guy. He was literally just pulling in to start his shift. He saw me and said nothing. He simply walked up to me and gave me a big hug, then pulled out a document that, when I read it, immediately brought tears to my eyes. He had completed his GED and said to me those magical words, “Thank you, my family thanks you.” That was my received gift. That was my best gift.