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Ten People Talk About the Best Gifts That They’ve Ever Received (And What You Can Learn from Them)

The most meaningful gifts have sentimentality behind them. Such presents affect the recipient emotionally and show that you care. That’s why they’re far better than practical gifts.

Some people like to receive gifts more than giving them. Others would rather give than receive. However, the truth is that everyone can appreciate a present, even if they’re to outwardly deny it.

What makes the best gifts though? What’s the best thing you can give to someone? The answer is both simple and complicated at the same time. 

The best gift is a meaningful gift - one that’s loaded with sentimentality.

Practical gifts are good, and some are even great. Furthermore, a useful gift can also be thoughtful, which most people would appreciate. 

But if you want to see that spark in the recipient’s eyes, the gift has to be meaningful - first and foremost. If you want to touch someone’s heart, for instance, a practical gift isn’t going to cut it.

So, what gifts are meaningful? There’s no universal answer to this question, simply because everyone is different. Things that mean a lot to one person might not mean much to another. Therefore, the best course of action is to get something sentimental.

And when it comes to a sentimental gift, you’d best pay attention to the person who’s the target of your gift. Make a list of things, people, and experiences that they care about the most.

For more ideas, you can learn from these people who talked about the best gifts they’ve ever received.

1. 'Open When' Letters

An Instagram user who goes by the username of @caitwebble received a set of letters. But not just any letter - these were “open when” letters.

The lesson here is that you can show someone that you care about them through your gift. If they can take a look at your present when they’re down and it makes them feel better, it can take your relationship to the next level.

2. The Family

If you ask Meghan about the best gift she’s ever received, she will tell you that it’s her family. Her mother, father, three siblings, and husband are the most important gifts to her. 

But that doesn’t mean she didn’t appreciate their gifts.

From her mother, Meghan received a cookbook filled with family recipes. And the painting in each chapter is made by mom herself.

Her father gave her a book about life lessons for Christmas many years ago, which also contained his reflection on each lesson.

Meghan’s husband, Dave, gave her a Global chef’s knife when she wanted to pursue a career as a chef.

The lesson here is that the people who love you will go the extra mile to make their gifts unique. They’ll spare no effort to pick out a present close to your heart.

3. A Briefcase

Jake, 28, singled out the briefcase given to him upon entering his MBA program as his favorite. But why did he choose this over all other special gifts he received over the years?

That’s because people appreciate gifts that show your appreciation for them. The briefcase was a sign of support for Jake’s dreams and career choice. 

Let your loved ones know that they have you in their corner.

4. Sakura Pens

Michelle has been in love with stationery all of her life. She adored shopping for pencils, rulers, post-it-notes, and erasers before each school year. One day, a close friend bought her a set of high-quality Sakura pens. Michelle was ecstatic! She especially loved the professional look of those pens.

What’s the lesson here? 

A gift doesn’t have to be big or expensive. What matters is its ability to fill the recipient with happiness and to be meaningful to them.

5. Museum and Zoo Memberships

An Instagram user with the handle @janelle_johnstone didn’t actually receive the best gift ever. Instead, it was her kids who did when her mother renewed the kids’ museum and zoo memberships, as she does for them every year.

The lesson? Some people are happiest when they see that their dearest loved ones are happy. You don’t have to give a present to someone to make them happy. You can give someone dear to them a thoughtful present, instead. 

You may even donate to their favorite charity or support their cause, for example.

6. A Car

Katrina received a car from her long-distance partner so that she could visit him, too. The two maintained a long-distance relationship for three years before they got married.

But when Katrina and her partner were still dating, he worked in one city while she went to college in another. She couldn’t afford a car, so he drove and she traveled by bus for their time together. Until he bought her a car.

The story here is that a thoughtful gift can take your relationship to the next level. The fact that Katrina and her partner are now married is proof enough.

7. A Cozy Scarf

What’s the best gift that Katy ever received? It was a cozy scarf. Not just any old scarf, but a huge one that came with a beautiful leopard print.

Katy has been a huge fashion fan all her life. But she couldn’t make practical combinations look chic. However, the scarf completely changed her winter outfit repertoire.

This thoughtful gift teaches us to seek inspiration in other people’s passions. Katy lives and breathes fashion, for example. So, it’s natural that a practical and beautiful accessory would occupy the top spot.

8. A Typewriter

An Instagram user who goes by @sherriemoore06 reported a somewhat unusual gift. Her choice for the number one gift she’s ever received is a typewriter. In particular, it’s a restored typewriter that belonged to her father a long time ago.

Gifts that connect the recipient to their loved ones also deepen your emotional connection with them. It’s not always about the recipient. Sometimes, you should pay attention to their connections with other people of significance to them.

9. Travel Tickets

Ross is 23 and he loves to travel. There was a time in his life when he wanted to visit Scotland very badly. And then one day, he became the happy recipient of a set of travel tickets that made one of his dreams come true.

What was the destination? 

You guessed it, Scotland!

A gift that allows your loved ones to fulfill their dreams can have immense sentimental value. And they could very well cherish your gift for the rest of their lives.

Tickets to visit another country are expensive, but it’s not about the price. It’s about showing that you care about their dreams.

10. Hand-Painted Ornaments with a History

Many people change addresses at least once in life. Some change it many times, but everyone remembers their childhood home. Usually, those are the fondest memories a person has.

A gift that can connect the recipient to their happy memories has got to be a great gift. They’re likely to hold your gift dear forever.

Take the case of Instagram user @ashleysangha. She received hand-painted ornaments from her childhood home. And it became her favorite gift, ever.

Meaningful Presents Are the Best

Practical gifts do have merits. Chief of all is that they’re useful. They can be thoughtful if they can help the recipient in their daily or professional life.

However, few, if any, people would ever describe a practical gift as their favorite.

Almost always, it’s the meaningful gifts that win out. People love and remember presents that have an emotional value far more than the practical sort.

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