So what went over big? - What was the best gift you gave?

Yes, I know we all want to talk about what we got, but I want to know what you gave that made someone else go “squee!”

Me, I had the perfect giving opportunity and the perfect gifts, so I count all 7 gifts as one. I was standing in my sister-in-law’s kitchen chatting with her and several assorted female relatives, when they caught sight of my daughter’s little beaded necklace. “How cute!” they exclaimed, and one of them mentioned to the others that I had probably made it, since I had just taken up beading as a hobby. “Really? Did you make the one you’re wearing?” “Do you have any samples?” “Are you selling them?” “Can I see it?” the chorus of hens began.

Grinning, I pulled out their presents: 7 handmade beaded necklaces, each “wrapped” in a colorful Chinese take out container with a cute sparkly gift tag tied on.

“WhyNot!” The richest relative exclaimed. “I told you not to spend anything on me…this must have cost a fortune!”

Nope. The beads came from thrift store necklaces, taken apart for their beads mostly, with a few $2 seed bead tubes thrown in.

Oh, it was just perfect. I felt like Queen Elizabeth tossing jewels to the crowd, and all 7 of them together cost under $20 and a few hours (okay, many hours!) of my time. All night, people were admiring them and exclaiming how each one was just right - by some odd fluke, every single one matched what the women (and girls) were wearing that night. While each design was different, each was perfect for the woman I made it for - which I was trying for, obviously, but four of them were for women I hardly know!

Most gratifying.

My friend James was utterly thrilled with his bottle of Woodford Reserve, which is hilarious since I’ve been sober since 1991 and was calling my sister from the liquor aisle of the Wal-Mart asking for recommendations for premium bourbon. :slight_smile:

I got it in my head that I wanted to get my brother & SIL a digital photo frame for Christmas, and put a slideshow on there. It would be pictures of them growing up (separately) through the years and then end with some pics of them together.

So I got the pics of SIL from her mom, and got pics of my brother from my mom. Then I spent a ton of time trying to pick out just the right photo frame from Amazon.

I came to the realization that most of these photo frames are crappy, no matter who makes them. I found what I thought was the perfect frame but I ended up being very disappointed with it AND it was chipped in the corner. I emailed Amazon and asked to return mine for a replacement and they said “no can do” since they were out of my model. Doh! But Amazon offered me 20% off so I just went with it.

I took a bunch of hours getting the photos together and then making them fit exactly in time with the music (“Follow You, Follow Me” which was their wedding song) and while the frame itself isn’t very spectacular, the presentation turned out ok. All in all, I was quite disappointed with the frame but happy enough with the slideshow.

I had them open it together on Christmas day and watch it right there. My SIL sobbed like a baby when she watched it and she gave me a big big hug. So did my bro, and he said “that was the best present ever!”

I am very pleased with myself on that one :slight_smile:

My girlfriend really enjoyed the diamond earrings I got her, even though I said we weren’t doing gifts this year. :wink:

**lisacurl **- A wise gift giver knows when to call her lifeline! Great idea!

**ZipperJJ **- What a wonderful gift! You know, of course, that they never saw the chip in the frame, right? They were far too distracted by the pictures and music and tears in their eyes. :smiley: The “real” gift isn’t the picture frame, anyway, but all the time and energy you put into getting the slideshow just right.

**Cluricaun **- You scoundrel! That’s so awesome - doubleplus boyfriend points for you!

I’m hoping my friend will like the Nano, but I doubt she’ll be as excited as my eight-and-a-half-year-old nephew reportedly was. He really wanted a Lego train. I ordered one from Amazon and had it shipped to San Diego. Sis concealed it and packed it off to Texas to see the in-laws. When Nephew opened it his face lit up. He was so excited he jumped up and down, pounded the floor, and hugged the box. Sounded like me when I got my first motorcycle (when I was 12).

We got our two sons a Wii but we set it up so they would think they were getting a pool table. We got the box from a pool table from my friend an did a poor job of disguising it in the garage.

We asked them if they knew what we got them and they finally admitted that they saw the box in the garage. They did a pretty good job of acting happy about it. Then we handed each of them a box and said it went with their gift, one was the Wii and one was Guitar Hero III from their aunts and uncles. They probably thought it was cues and balls.

From disappointment to pure joy in 30 seconds. It was so excellent to watch their faces.

I got my son a cell phone. The look of shock on his face when he opened it was classic. My daughter got a camera which was also a HUGE hit, she is on the volleyball team and her bf is on the basketball team and she is miss Popular so it will get lots of use.

The 98 cent box of “Sidewalk chalk” that I got my 6 year old niece (along with some other stuff). Comes in a little box with a handle, she’s been toting it all over the place drawing on the sidewalk, at the park, on the porch, etc.

Best gift was a toy cash register for my SIL’s almost-three year old. Sort of like this one, but not quite as fancy. He loved “scanning” the food items with the wand scanner and listened to it make the beeping sound.

My brother’s boys hadn’t yet tried out the new Wii games I got them for the Wii Santa brought, but I think they’ll like them (EA Playground for the 4yo, and Mario & Sonic At the Olympics for the 7yo). Since they also got Guitar Hero 3 from Santa, it might be a while before they try out anything besides Wii Sports (unless my brother snaps and tosses the GH3 disc out the window after listening to that Pat Benetar song for the thousandth time.)

I think my gift for my Grandma was the biggest hit. She turned 90 just after Thanksgiving and we celebrated with a big family party. I took a lot of pictures at the party, so for Christmas I made a memory book on Shutterfly with all the pictures. I also made 5x7s of two of the pictures—the one with her and her sister, who traveled from Illinois for the party, and the one of Grandma with my dad and my aunt—and framed them. My Grandma’s sister passed away a couple of weeks ago, so it was really special that I had gotten that picture of the two of them. Grandma said it was the best gift she could have gotten.

I posted this in another thread, but I’m putting it here, too, since I’m so dang pleased with myself over it. I got my husband this radio-controlled airplane. He has always wanted one, and said it was the “best Christmas gift ever.” I know he’s itching to go out and fly it, but I think it will have to wait until spring.

I’m also glad I caved in and got a toy kitchen for my daughter. She’s 3 and is really into “pretend play.” She’s been cooking stuff for us non-stop! When she puts stuff in the microwave, she goes “beep beep beep” and takes it out. It’s TOO cute.

Johnny L.A. - kids are so great to give gifts to, aren’t they? No pretense - just joy or disdain. Glad you got joy.

**SP2263 **- You are an evil genius.

**MikeG - Lucky you got two greatest hits!
**
Valgard
- I think I might steal that gift idea for the 3 year old’s birthday in February! I bet she’ll love it.

**DeadlyAccurate **- I used to love my neighbor’s cash register as a kid! Sadly, I never had one. Hmmm…perhaps the Princess will get a cash register for her birthday as well.

**yellowval **- That’s a great gift. I don’t know about you, but my grandmother is the hardest woman on my list to shop for. The woman is nearly 90, everything she wants she has already! Pictures are a great choice.

**Sarahfeena **- My daughter got a play kitchen too, from Grandma! I have no idea where it’s going to fit, but she’s going to love it. It’s really the perfect gift when you’re 3, isn’t it? I’m glad you got your husband a toy, too. I felt bad when we opened everything and I realized I’d forgotten a toy for my husband this year. He loved the books and DVD’s and socks, but Christmas just isn’t Christmas without toys, no matter how old you get. (PS - I GOT THE ROOMBA!!! Color me shocked!)

The big surprise was my son’s favorite. I got him Guitar Hero III for the Wii which he played for over an hour straight off the bat and thought that would be the hit gift. Turns out the hit gift was actually Risk. He had never before played or even seen the board game much less asked for it. I bought it on a whim on Christmas Eve. He loved it. Made me play three games back to back to get the rules down. The low tech, inexpensive toys are still the best.

My Mom has been complaining about her semi-defective wireless optical mouse for over a year, and recently she got a cat, who loves to walk on the keyboard when no one is using it (no keyboard drawer). I gave her a wireless desktop and she almost squealed! now she can actually scroll with the mouse, instead of random jumps, and put the keyboard away somewhere hidden from the cat when she isn’t using it.

This isn’t a story of what I personally gave, but I assisted (and witnessed it) and it was one of the awesomest gift givings, evar.

My dear friend owns a horse farm. Her husband is shall we say, not of the horsie set himself. He had an idea to buy his wife a new saddle for Christmas – hers was worn and patched from 20 or so years of loving use. However, he did not want to give her the wrong kind/brand/size/color, nor could he ask her outright without arousing suspicion. He enlisted myself (barn manager) as well as several of her boarders: over a period of months we quizzed her about saddle preferences (Example: Me: hey did you see Ann’s new Bates saddle? What do you think of it? Her: Its a good brand but I don’t like the shape. Plus, the color is too light. Me: mental note.)

We were both wily and subtle and she never clued in. (horse enthusiasts are like car enthusiasts; they talk constantly about the relative merits of equipment). Finally he had pooled enough information from his network of spies and informants to make a purchase. For the horsie among us, he chose a Pessoa A/O.

Christmas morning came. He handed her a large box. She opened it, looked in, and in complete surprise and shock squealed loudly, and then slammed the box shut, like the saddle was going to jump out and run away. Cautiously she reopened it and peered in, once again completely shocked and amazed at her husband’s cleverness.

It was pretty cool. For hours she just petted it. She works so hard and doesn’t ask for much. It was cool helping her husband buy her a really extravagant* present that she would completely love.
*you can’t put a price tag on love, but this particular saddle costs $1700.

Got my daughter an Eyeclops (“Bionic Eye hand-held device magnifies 200 times normal size on any TV screen”). It was a HUGE hit at the party; everyone was looking at their pores, hair, tattoos, pants, the rug, etc. Tried to look at some ants but they wouldn’t stay still long enough. My daughter played with it for hours the next day.

The cool gift at our house was a present to our 16-yr-old grand-nephew. He’s been learning welding in shop class at his high school. Hubby got him the coolest-evah welding helmet, with flames on the sides! His eyes got the size of saucers. He said, “My teacher is gonna be soooo jealous!” It has an automatic face shield darkener, which I’m told is a way-cool feature!

My second fave gift-giving was to my sister-in-law. She collects donkeys, so every year my husband (her brother) gets her a new donkey. This year I put my foot down and told him we were getting her something nice for her. She’s been through a lot this year, having had a double mastectomy and chemo. (They got it all and she’s ok now.) I got her a beautiful and soft cashmere throw. When we talked to her (she lives in Florida) she just went on and on about how she’d never owned anything that was cashmere, and how soft it was, and that she passed it around for everyone to feel… It made me feel great!

I got my stepfather a couple of t-shirts from this site, which sells shirts with corporate logos from film and television. I got him shirts with logos for the Tyrell Corporation and Weyland-Yutani, which were the evil corporations in Blade Runner and the Alien movies, respectively. He’s a bit of a sci-fi geek, and Blade Runner is his favorite movie, so these were much appreciated. He also has a penchant for geek-centric t-shirts, such as one from the Society for the Conservation of Angular Momentum (“Preserving a rational universe for our children”).

Real donkeys?

This year I got my mother and my SIL each a bird feeder. In fact we are feedomg squierls, but they are fun to watch and quite the focus of family get-togethers in both homes this morning.