We asked about your favorite holiday gifts. The comment section blew us away.

Receiving a gift given from the heart is something that sticks with you forever.

It's not because of how elaborate or expensive or well-wrapped it is. The best gifts are the ones with the most thought and care poured into them — sometimes from our dearest loved ones, other times from complete strangers. They can heal our souls, help us when we're in a rut, or simply put a smile on our face when we need it most.

Photo via iStock.


We asked you — our readers — about the best holiday gifts you've ever received. Your answers did not disappoint.

Here are 15 of the best gifts Upworthy readers said they've ever received:

Responses have been condensed and edited for length and clarity.

1. Household items to mark the next chapter in life

"My family helped me move into an apartment one November after leaving an abusive relationship. They bought my furniture, paid my deposit and helped me move the things I was able to take from my old place. I wasn't expecting much for Christmas because of all the money they had spent on getting me set in my apartment. When we opened gifts, every member of my family had gotten me something that I needed or wanted. A good set of knives, a vacuum and cleaning supplies, and from my mother — who had spent the most on getting me into my apartment — a laptop. It wasn't the money they spent, it was that they went out of their way to be able to afford to give large presents to me a month after furnishing my home for me." Angela Burlingame

Angela and her mom. Photo via Angela Burlingame, used with permission.

2. An old guitar with a new story

"My brother died from suicide in 2006. I had inherited one of his guitars, but the neck had been broken and he had re-glued it. My wife took it to a repair shop to have it fixed for me without me knowing as a Christmas gift. She said she had never been so nervous taking it, but knew it would mean a lot to me, and it did." — Lynlee Lybrook

Photo via Lynlee Lybrook, used with permission.

3. A gift that waited months to be found

"My husband, who loved Christmas and the joy of giving, passed away in April 2010 while waiting for a liver transplant. When I looked for the Christmas wrapping paper in December, there was a package all wrapped in red shiny paper with my name on it in his handwriting. It read, 'please don't open 'til Christmas.' It was so him." — Noreen Leahy

Noreen with her husband (L) and the lovely gift she found from him (R). Photos from Noreen Leahy, used with permission.

4. 100 outfits, made with love

"There were five kids in my family, and we didn't have a lot of money. A couple of weeks before xmas, I thought I heard my mom sewing on her machine. I asked her one morning what she was working on, but she said I must have imagined it. On Christmas morning, when we ran into the living room, there was a Barbie doll for me and my two sisters. Laid out all around them were 100 outfits that my mom had made. I didn't put the two together until I was a little older. It is my favorite holiday memory." — Virginia Rankin

5.  A teddy bear to adore

"When I was in third grade and my sister was in fourth, she made me a teddy bear. I would hear her and our mom whispering and the sound of the sewing machine for weeks, wondering what they were up to. I am the youngest of 11, and my mom was a working single mother. We had many hard times. Christmas morning I received the bear. It was a little malformed but I loved it! Fast forward 27 years and now my daughter has the bear."
Kimberlee Smith

In the picture on the left, Kimberlee Smith (right) with her sister. Photos via Kimberlee Smith, used with permission.

6. Hair dressing supplies with history

"My grandmother was a hairdresser for years. She passed away three years ago. Last Christmas, after everyone had finished opening gifts, my aunt had one last gift. I was shocked to learn it was for me. She presented me with a small suitcase-looking square box. I knew instantly what it was. I used items from it when my grandmother was too lame to leave her house. I would come to do her hair. I started to cry, and so did my aunt. I was given the case of all of my grandmother's hairdressing supplies. Most items were from the '60-'70s. That was the best gift I have ever received. I miss my Grammie, but I can open this box and remember her!" — Amanda Faunce

7. A blanket to stay warm, inside and out

"My friend Hannah made me a rainbow blanket for my sofa days. I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome amongst other things and spend a lot of time on the couch feeling crappy. My blanket keeps me warm and reminds me that my friend cares, even if we don't see each other very often." — Jess Dell

Photo via Jess Dell, used with permission.

8. Toys from "unkie" and his friends

"A couple of years ago, my husband was out of work, and I was staying at home with our daughter. We had no toys for her under the tree, and barely had enough to even get the tree and some lights for it. A friend of ours, my daughter's 'unckie,' secretly contacted people to get gifts for her so she'd have something under the tree. It was the most thoughtful thing anyone's ever done." Crystal Tracy

9. A gift best given by a sister

"My sister gave me and my siblings each a book for Christmas last year. Completely unexpectedly, it was a beautifully bound selection of our deceased father's [paper] marbling. She had taken [the sheets] for safe keeping after our mother had passed and we had cleared out her house. That was our first Christmas as five adult/teen orphans. We were far from home, but to be able to spend it together with such a special physical reminder of our parents ... well, there were a few tears shed when that gift was opened." — Amelia Keenan Monaghan

Amelia and her sisters (left). The gifts from her sister (right). Photo via Amelia Kennan Monaghan, used with permission.

10. The best kind of re-gifts

"My best gifts were the Christmas after I split from my ex. I had very little money and had been left with massive bills. My kids made me gifts and wrapped up some of their belongings they thought I would like, so I would have things to open for Christmas (they were 12, 7, and 5). I love them with all my heart, and will never forget that." — Kim L. Stirling

11. The gift of brotherly love

"Last Christmas, my son was one and half years old. I bought a wooden toy kitchen that took FOREVER to put together. I wanted it together with a bow on it for Christmas morning. My little brother came over to help. We spent hours getting it together and it was not done. It got to be 2 a.m. and I was exhausted. Turned out, half of the pieces were backward and we had to start over. I couldn't stay up anymore, so I went to bed, upset not to have that magical moment of my son walking down the stairs to find it. Little did I know, my little brother stayed up all morning to finish it ... not for my son, but for me to have that moment. By far the most memorable gift I've ever received." — Jennifer Rebecca

Photo via Jennifer Rebecca, used with permission.

12. A bracelet worth a thousand words

"I adopted my youngest son as a single parent. He had cognitive disabilities from birth and an addictive personality, which made his teen years even more challenging. After so many difficult years of setbacks and struggles, he made a bracelet for me, with the word 'HERO' in big letters. Obviously, it is priceless to me." — Lynda Pratscher

13. A truly one-of-a-kind book

"My husband and son found me THE most incredible and one-of-a-kind gift. One of my favorite authors passed in 2014. His name was Farley Mowat and he was an incredible Canadian author. My husband contacted his estate and was able to purchase a book for me from his personal collection. This gorgeous 1st edition book (one of my favorite childhood stories, originally given to my sister and I by our grandmother) actually sat on Farley's desk in his home for 60 years (it's a bit bleached from the sun) and is signed by the author. My husband snuck off to Port Hope, Ontario, to visit Mowat's home and his favorite bookstore to find me this treasure and I shall be eternally grateful for such a thoughtful gift. I treasure it and will read it aloud to my son and new daughter when they are old enough."Kristen Meyer-Creamer

Photo via Kristen Meyer-Creamer, used with permission.

14. Miles and miles in the sky

"I don't know if this fits the bill, but I'll share anyway. The last three years my friends have treated me by paying for airline tickets so I could come and spend holidays with them. I'm retired and disabled and having a hard time making ends meet, and we all live in different places now. This year it was Thanksgiving in Las Vegas, same as last year, and 2014 brought me to Florida for Christmas. The most amazing part is that these are not my family but relatives of my friend, Mary, who had college Spanish with my roommate Sue in 1972. We have stayed friends since then, with marriages and deaths and births in between. They have become my family and have brought me into theirs and I so value them for it. Thanks for letting me share that." — Pat Martin

15. Cherries that never miss a Christmas

"My mom always gave me a wrapped box of chocolate covered cherries every Christmas. The first Christmas without her, my daughter wrapped a box of the same candy and put 'from Mom' on the tag. Of course there were many tears but I felt her presence, which was the best present ever. It's been 12 years and my daughter never forgets my candy. I can't open it until everyone leaves." — Mary Lou Keith

This holiday season, let's remember that it truly is the thought that counts.

From hours and hours painstakingly creating a perfectly imperfect homemade present, to going the extra mile for a sibling when it really counts, you showed us that the love behind a great gift can stay with us forever. That's what keeps the holidays so merry and bright.

We also asked you about the best gift you ever gave (spoiler alert: your answers were equally beautiful). You can read that article here.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.