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We asked, you answered: Here are 15 of the best gifts you've ever given.

'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.

Image via iStock.


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

Image via iStock.

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

Photo by Loic Venance/Getty Images.

"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

Photo by Dan Kittwood/Getty Images.

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

Image via iStock.

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

Photo by Warenski/Flickr.

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.

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
True

When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

Ronny Tertnes' "liquid sculptures" are otherworldly.

Human beings have sculpted artwork out of all kinds of materials throughout history, from clay to concrete to bronze. Some sculpt with water in the form of ice, but what if you could create sculptures with small drops of liquid?

Norwegian artist Ronny Tertnes does just that. His "liquid sculptures" look like something from another planet or another dimension, while at the same time are entirely recognizable as water droplets.

I mean, check this out:


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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
True

The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

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I do this, even as a 40-something-year-old who is quite comfortable with the face I see in the mirror. So, it makes me cringe imagining a tween or teen, who likely take a lot more selfies than I do, questioning their facial features based on those snapshots. When I'm wondering why my facial features look weird in selfies it's because I know my face well enough to know that's not what it looks like. However, when a young person whose face is changing rapidly sees their facial features distorted in a photo, they may come to all kinds of wrong conclusions about what they actually look like.

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We all need a break from the less pleasant parts of life, and cheering ourselves up with simple, happy things is a tried and true way to push those endorphins and lift our mood for a bit.

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