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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.