Here are some of our favorite thoughtful gift ideas and heartfelt stories from around the web.

Picture from each year of my life: “On my 50th birthday my wife threw a surprise birthday party for me. It was a Hawaiian Luau with hula dancers, fire dances, delicious food, and wonderful desserts . She invited over 100 friends and family members from all stages of my life. There were the typical presents and cards we receive at this time in our life lamenting times past, offering cures for various ailments, spiritual books about the meaning of life, well intentioned cards about growing old and what a nice person I was. At the end of the party my wife had one additional surprise, she had booked our family on an Alaskan Cruise.
And while all of these events made for one terrific way to celebrate my first 50 years on earth, one very special thing my wife did that I will forever treasure was she took the time to put together a picture from each year of my life! This was particularly impressive because she had only known me for 8 years at that time! I can only imagine the time, the connections, the rummaging, the loving efforts required by her and so many others to assemble these pictures. And while my recollection of all the other events that year may become less clear and memorable, those 50 pictures will always remain a thoughtful reminder of how much effort someone would go to just for me!

– Larry Destro, SCORE Business Mentor and Keepmake Advisor

Handmade Personalized Christmas Stockings:  “I’m a college student, which means that I’m perpetually broke. So last year, instead of buying gifts for my family, I used burlap, red yarn, ribbons, and bells to make personalized Christmas stockings. I love that we’ll use them year after year.”

– Rachelle Wilson via Real Simple: What Is the Best Gift You’ve Ever Given?

Named a Star After Me:  “After my first year with my boyfriend, I expected a decent birthday gift—maybe a nice dinner or a cute jacket from my favorite store. So when he handed me what felt like a wrapped piece of paper, my heart sank. With fake enthusiasm cued up, I unwrapped a two-pocket folder. Inside were official documents for a star he’d purchased for me—and named Martine. That was the name given to my mother in a Quebec orphanage before she was adopted in the U.S. and renamed Judy. It’s also my middle name. My mother died when I was 16, and I’d spent a few embarrassing nights tearfully telling my boyfriend stories about her. Even though a piece of paper can’t bring her back, the night sky has felt different ever since—like she’s up there sparkling in all her eternal glory.”

– Ashley Sepanski, via Oprah.comHeartwarming Stories About the Best Gifts We Ever Received

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.”

-Danielle Auretto via What’s the best gift you’ve ever given someone?

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