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9 Gifts They’ll Absolutely Love, According To OGT Readers

the best gifts I've ever been given

If you’re anything like me, your eagerness to give everyone you care about the absolute best gift can turn the holiday season into a whirlwind of indecision and anxiety. Unsurprisingly, the ultra-high standards I have for the gifts I give others don’t apply to the gifts I receive, which just goes to show that it’s easy to make gift giving harder than it needs to be!

In order to get to the heart of the matter, I turned to the wisest people I know: my readers! In one of my newsletters last month, I posed a simple, open-ended question: “What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given?”

You guys really came through, and I got so many wonderful responses that I wish I could list them all! Instead, I’ve picked a selection of the most-frequently mentioned gifts to share here, in hopes that they’ll provide you with as much clarity and inspiration as I’ve gotten out of them.

One thing I was reminded of as I sifted through your responses is that the real best gifts — regardless of what they are or how much they cost — are ones that come from the heart. Read on, and remember that gift giving is an extension of the love you share!

9 Of The Best Gifts You Can Give Someone, According To OGT Readers

the best gifts I've ever been given

1. A Book (Or Something To Read One On)

No device was mentioned more often than e-readers like the Kindle Paperwhite, but physical books got plenty of love too. From the collected works of Charles Dickens to a treasured copy of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, giving someone a beloved book as a gift is like sharing a little piece of yourself with them.

the best gifts I've ever been given

2. Food & Treats

You really can’t go wrong with food, because we all need to eat! One reader shared a fond memory of a “pie of the month” gift her family received when she was a child.

Another reader fondly remembers the “sunshine box” full of treats she received from her sister while she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. There are many places you can buy gift boxes of food or treats online these days (both subscriptions and one-off options), so you should have no trouble finding the perfect one for your loved one.

the best gifts I've ever been given

3. Comfort

Many readers were especially grateful to receive items they could cuddle up with on the couch, many of which were homemade. One reader mentioned a microwavable corn-filled “heating pad” she used until it disintegrated, which inspired her to make them for her own friends and family.

If you’d like to make something comforting for someone on your list, my DIY heating pad is an excellent option!

the best gifts I've ever been given

4. Small Appliances

Several readers shared how delighted they were to receive a KitchenAid stand mixer as a gift. As one reader put it: “My mother gave it to me for Christmas nearly 20 years ago, and I use it ALL. THE. TIME.”

Another reader shared that her husband used his work bonus to buy her a sewing machine she had been coveting, which I thought was really sweet. Anything that makes housework easier would likely make an ideal gift for a busy homemaker!

the best gifts I've ever been given

5. Gadgets

I love a good gadget, and it’s clear that you do too! OGT readers mentioned a variety of gadgets as having made memorable gifts, each one treasured because it reflected the thoughtfulness of the person who gave it to them.

Here are a few examples:

  • Apple Watch, given by a husband worried about his wife taking a fall
  • Mr. Coffee mug warmer, given to someone known for hating cold coffee
  • Motion-sensing toilet bowl light, to prevent injuries during nighttime bathroom excursions
  • WeatherTech car floor mats, given to help keep the recipient’s car clean
  • Lighted makeup mirror, given to a makeup novice who is still using the mirror 20 years later
the best gifts I've ever been given

6. Memorable Moments

There was no shortage of sentimentality in the responses from my readers, proving that some of the best gifts aren’t even physical objects!

For example:

  • The revelation that another grandchild was on the way
  • Surprise visits from family
  • Birth of a grandchild
the best gifts I've ever been given

7. Pets

There are few gifts more memorable than a new pet, but ONLY if the recipient has clearly stated that they want and are prepared to care for one! One reader received a giant poodle as a gift, which ended up being “the sweetest dog I ever had”.

Pets touch our hearts like nothing else, and sometimes they choose us! One reader recalled being given a cat by their neighbor after the cat started paying them increasingly frequent visits. (Cats really have a way of getting what they want, don’t they?)

the best gifts I've ever been given

8. Experiences

I’ve always loved the saying “collect experiences, not things”. Many of you seem to feel the same way, because many of the best gifts mentioned in your responses took the form of a memorable experience.

Here are a few examples:

  • Year-long membership for an online music class
  • Gift certificate for a visit to a buffalo farm
  • “Date night” envelopes containing event tickets, restaurant gift cards, etc.

If you’re thinking of gifting someone an experience, something adventurous like a kayak tour, train ride, or sleigh ride would make a great gifts, as would a membership or admission pass for a local museum or attraction. You should be able to find a number of good options online!

the best gifts I've ever been given

9. Jewelry

Jewelry can be one of the most sentimental and treasured gifts any of us receive. One reader treasures a locket that was given to her the year her mother died, which holds an old photo of the two of them together.

A locket with a photo of her recently deceased daughter took another reader’s breath away, while a bracelet made from their mother’s silverware made a meaningful gift from one sister to another.

Like the other gifts in this list, it’s not really the jewelry itself that made the gift special — it’s the love and care it represents. So as you finish your holiday shopping, remind yourself that as long as you’re choosing with your heart, you can’t go wrong!

Tell me about other treasured gifts you’ve received in a comment below!

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Holidays

  • If you have someone in your life that is unable to get out like they used to, a gift box with a variety of greeting cards may be the perfect gift. I included holiday, birthday, anniversary, thinking of you, get well and several other types. I made sure I included cards for both male and female recipients, added a book of stamps and a pretty pen. The gift is always well received and appreciated.

  • Great ideas. What brand of makeup mirror is that? My one that I had for several years died on me a few months ago. Anyway I had to get 2 separate mirrors to do what it did. The first one magnifies about 5x . The other one is actually working fine now. I wouldn’t recommend the brand because the first died and then the chargers that came with the replacement didn’t work. A big mess with manufacturing of these gadgets being shifted to China .

  • Hi Jillee,
    I have been using and also making rice heating pads to give as gifts for many years. May I make a suggestion? When I make mine, I normally use cotton fabric (or a stray sock, as someone else mentioned!) but i also make an extra “pillowcase style” cover that is removable and washable. The outer cover can easily be freshened up because it will become soiled with body oils, etc. I like to use polyester fleece on the outside because it is exceptionally cozy! I don’t put the fleece cover into the microwave. I really enjoy all of your tips, recipes and suggestions!

  • That was a very nice list and pretty much agree with most things. My most precious gift, of which I have several, was a stuffed bunny that my dad gave me when I was an adult. One other was a picture of my disabled rescue dog and me in the swimming pool. I didn’t even know the picture was taken and my daughter had it framed for me as a Christmas gift. The dog has passed but that picture means the world to me. Thank you for letting me put my two cents in, as I missed the original question.

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