'My gift to them ended up being one of the best gifts I ever got too.'
What's the best gift you've ever given someone?
It doesn't have to be a tangible thing or something life-changing. As long as it made a difference to that person in the moment they received it, it counts.
Giving a gift is always a wonderful thing to do, whether it's Christmas or someone's birthday or just your average Wednesday. It not only makes the person you're giving it to feel good, it makes you, the giver, happier too. In fact, studies have shown giving a gift has a greater positive impact overall on a person than receiving one.
We asked you — our readers — about the best gifts you've ever given. Your answers did not disappoint.
Here are 15 of the best gifts Upworthy readers said they have ever given:
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
1. A prosthetic eye for a soon-to-be teacher
Kim Dahill was a member of wish-granting website Wish Upon a Hero and read a wish from a man with a prosthetic eye who was studying to be a teacher. The eye didn't fit well and caused him a lot of discomfort and anxiety, but he didn't have money to buy a new one.
"I was able to contact a prosthetic clinic in his area and they agreed to give him a new eye free of charge," Dahill wrote on Facebook. "He was so moved by this that he reached out to me to thank me and we have been friends ever since. It cost me nothing but my time, but it made a huge change in both of our lives. He is a very successful teacher now."
2. The gift of being able to buy gifts
Deborah Cook wants families to have the opportunity to be gift-givers even if they don't have the means.
"We find out what stores they could use gift cards from, including grocery stores, and we give them an envelope full of them," explained Cook. "... We like the idea of families having the ability to enjoy the holiday season in the same manner as the fortunate among us."
3. Carrying a child for a couple that had miscarried
"I carried a baby for a couple who would otherwise be childless. It was hell on my body, particularly my booty with all the shots, but worth every second to see their family complete." — Amy Donahue
4. A wine box full of gratitude
"A few years ago, I was hospitalized twice within 8 months for suicidal ideation. One of my safe places was my best friends house and one time he said I wasn't allowed to kill myself until I bought him one last drink, but that he would never accept it. (At this point I think I already owed him three or four). I finally found the right combinations of meds that helped me to start thriving in life so for his birthday, I wanted to do something special. He is an avid wine drinker so I decided to buy him a wine box and I had it engraved with 'the last drink' and filled it with index cards of all these words and adjectives to describe all that he has done an meant for me. He said it was one of the best gifts he's ever gotten." — Jeremy Morgan.
5. An escape to a dog-friendly hotel
When Shanon Arm's friend had no place to stay, Arm found a dog-friendly hotel and put up her friend and her canine companion for a few nights until she could get back on her feet.
"I lost my own beloved dog a few months ago," wrote Arm. "... I am still somewhat lost without him, and it was such a privilege to be able to help someone else who loves their dog as much as I loved (and still love) mine."
6. Kind words to a stranger
"I reached out to a stranger on a forum on the internet [who] had commented just two little words, but those words made me want to brighten their day a bit, lift a bit of weight off of their shoulders by being kind and offer to listen. Nothing more. Just an act of kindness from one stranger to another, who and where ever they were on this earth.
"We kept talking. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. We really got along and I found myself really enjoying this anonymous and platonic contact.
"However, one day we decided to tell each other who we were. Up to this point we had stayed away from this, but we felt it was time. It had been long enough and we felt comfortable. I told him I was a 22 yr old female living in Europe. He told me he was a 33 yr old male, living in the US. Fast forward 5 years, we have been married for 3 years now, and he is the love of my life. All because I said; 'Care to share with a stranger?'" — Willemijn van Rijn-McGhee
7. A photo a loved one thought was lost
Ashley Johnson had an old photo of her as a baby sitting on her great-grandmother's lap with her aunt standing next to her. Her mother swore there was another photo with a similar pose where she's in the photo instead of her sister, but it wasn't in the album. No one had ever seen it.
"Jump forward to about 2000 ... all of the old bags of photos and negatives are out ... I'm sitting in the couch and I'm haphazardly looking through them and I find the negative strip for the photo of my aunt and the first negative was the one of my mother. The film had an extra exposure and the picture was never developed. I had the photo print[ed] and bought a pretty frame and gave it to my mom for Christmas that year. It's the most meaningful gift I have given anyone so far. It was a wonderful surprise for her (lots of happy tears!). I was so happy to give her a memory."
8. 365 memories in a jar from Target
On the surface, Danielle Auretto gave both her sisters 365 strips of paper and a jar, but it's what she wrote on the paper that made the gift so special:
"Each had a quote, family memory, the name of a family member to think about, or a wish for them. Each day that year they drew a new paper. Sometimes they would call me when they found one particularly funny or thought provoking. The next Christmas they each made a collage of their favorites with answers to some of the questions or thoughts when reading it. ... [M]y gift to them ended up being one of the best gifts I ever got too."
9. A special blanket that would've never been finished otherwise
"[My best friend] once told me his mom had started to crochet a blanket, but passed away before finishing it (five years ago, and he still never got rid of the yarn). While house-sitting, I took the bag of yarn and small swatch of blanket. I had a friend finish the blanket with a different pattern, so he could always see the part his mom's did — her final project. It is hands down the most special gift I've ever given — to see the man I admire most hold that blanket that his mom worked so hard on, finally finished." — Amanda Fliflet
10. 200 raincoats
"Last winter, my 10yr old and I crowdfunded to buy 200 high quality rain ponchos for the residents of skid row. Every time it rains, I remind her that 200 people are dry and grateful. This last Valentines Day, her and my son (4) made 300 valentines with lollipops for them too. They wanted to shine a little light where it may otherwise not." — Lisset Gutierrez
11. Tickets to a Bulls vs. Magic basketball game on Christmas Day
"I had 4 tickets to a Bulls vs Magic (Jordan Shaq) Christmas Day game while visiting in-laws in Chicago. Due to family constraints, [we] could not go. Standing on the L, I spotted a lady [with] 3 children all in bulls clothing and walked up to her and asked her if she'd like to take her children to the game tomorrow. She couldn't speak. Handing her the tickets, tears rolled down her face. A total stranger. It still warms my heart today." — Brian Kelly
12. The gift of mentorship
"[We] signed up to be a Big Couple 10 years ago on December 19th," wrote Kelly Malquist of a gift she and her husband gave. "We got so much more than we ever imagined. They are both young men now and we couldn't be more proud of both of them. It started with an hour a week and turned into family, love, patience and laughter and so much more."
13. A red scooter for an elderly neighbor
"An elderly lady, Mrs. Yates, lived next door to us. She told me that she always wanted a shiny red scooter when she was little, but Santa never brought one to her. So we got her one and placed it on her porch right outside her front door with a big bow on it and a card from Santa saying he was sorry for being late with her scooter! She was ecstatic!!" — Jennifer Inman
14. The gift of life
"I donate blood regularly," Whittney Williams wrote. "Every time, I hope it saves someone's life, or [makes their] life a little easier."
15. Letters from students, friends, and loved ones
Denise Helen Norwood spent a year collecting letters from people who loved, respected, and admired her husband, then she tied the letters to balloons and invited all the letter writers to a surprise PJ party at their house.
"Our doorbell rang, and my husband opened the door to see our entire front lawn filled with his friends each holding their letter balloon," she wrote. "We all came into the house and enjoyed hot chocolate, pastries and mugs of tomato soup. The PJ's provided endless photo ops and laughter and a sweet sense of coziness. It took my husband an entire year to read all of his beautiful letters. ❤"
The "best gift ever" can be anything. It's not so much what it is but why it matters to the receiver and the thought that the giver put into it that makes it special.
Next time you're looking to give someone something, think about them and what they've been missing. Maybe it's an airline ticket so they can see their family. Maybe it's as simple as a note that says "I'm here to talk whenever you want."
It doesn't need to cost a fortune for it to mean everything.
We also asked you about the best gift you ever received (spoiler alert: Your answers were equally beautiful). You can read that article here.