Let’s take a moment to think about holidays past. Have you ever said out loud, “BEST GIFT EVER!”
When you said it, were you the giver of the gift… or the receiver?
If you were the gift giver, you may recall the excitement and anticipation of finding something just perfect for your recipient, and the joy you felt making their wish come true. Just what is it about giving gifts that creates happiness in all of us?
Well, there’s actually a thing behind it! Neurological, behavioral and psychological studies report that our brains react just as positively giving gifts… as receiving them. Turns out your brain may light up just the way their face does when they open it! So yep, it’s really a thing! No wonder it’s the season of joy. And, now we know where the phrase “‘tis better to give and to receive” comes from!
If you were the recipient of that best Christmas gift ever, or that best Kwanzaa or best Hanukkah gift ever, think about the joy you felt when you opened it. Maybe it made you emotional. Maybe it made you cry. Or, smile a perma-smile. Now think back to why the gift was so special to you. This holiday season, how about reminding the person who gave it to you how important it still is to you? What better way to spread holiday cheer?
We can all agree – the best gifts ever are those that reflect things that are most meaningful to your someone special. The perfect gift is a reflection of their personality, sense of humor, what they believe in, think, or love. If you’re stuck on what to give someone this year, we’ve got some great Christmas gift ideas if you need a little help this season.
A Few of Our Favorite Feels
In this season of joy, here are some of our fave “best gift ever” stories from this holiday season. Spoiler alert – they’ll pull on your heartstrings a little bit. (And notice, none are ties, socks, or handbags.) They’re gifts based in love and sharing, in experience, memory making, and connection. That’s exactly what this season of joy is all about, after all.
My daughter loves the water. When she was four, she asked my husband to print out a picture of her and I at the beach on vacation. Three months later during the holidays, she brought out a very special present for me that my husband knew nothing about. When I opened the very thoughtfully wrapped box with a bow she tied herself (almost), I discovered a frame decorated with shells she collected, framing the picture of us from that vacation. My husband did not know anything of her creative little secret, and I cry when I think of how good she did keeping it all on her own! ~Sylvia P, NY
Gifts That Keep On Giving Goodies
I received box of treasured family recipes from my mother handed down by my great-grandmother, through four generations. The box included about 20 handwritten recipes from generations of women in my family, explaining why each person loved the recipe they contributed, and memories of the meals that went along with each one. What an amazing way to preserve tradition! ~Jill J, OH
Music To My Years
The best gift I ever received was a play six string guitar from my parents when I was seven. I asked Santa for it for 3 years in a row! Who knew it would come to shape who I am as a musician today, and would be a part of time spent with so many others who share my faith. ~Ron T, CA
Memories on Track
When I was six, my father and I set up a train set in our attic. It was just the two of us, so that time was really special. As I grew older, I played with it less and less. But when I was twelve, I received a thoughtful Christmas gift from my father I’ll never forget – a Lionel 8800 Steam engine. This was no ordinary engine. It was die-cast metal, and I knew how much time it took him to find it, driving all around the city (pre-internet). I learned only later that he was very ill that year. Now, when I set up the train during the holidays it reminds me of these special times we shared when he was alive, and the loving effort he took to find it. ~Sean W, OH
As you can see – there’s a common thing that runs through all of these – thoughtful gifts that began with a little bit of forethought, an idea that’s unique to the recipient, and each delivered lasting memories or a reminder of time shared.
This holiday season, if you open up a present and say “BEST GIFT EVER”… consider yourself lucky. Because someone obviously really cares about you. And isn’t it nice to know they’re just as happy watching you open it?