These 7 Stories Prove That Unexpected Gifts Are The Best Gifts

December 20, 2016

‘Tis the season

In the chaotic swirl of shopping, gift wrapping, parties and pageants, it’s easy to lose sight of the heartfelt reasons we give gifts in the first place. Too often the act of gift-giving is reduced to a bulleted item on a weekly to-do list, or becomes an errand that’s wedged between making an appearance at the office holiday party and picking up ribbon before the discount store closes.

And yet, oftentimes the most meaningful gifts are those that are delightfully unexpected and perfectly personal. In order to celebrate the reason for the season, we’ve partnered with Chevrolet Malibu to bring you seven first-hand stories of the most extraordinary gifts people have received through the years.

1. “That one gift changed my life”

“When I was 8 years old and my little sister was a baby, my father gave me a Kodak Instamatic camera. Maybe he wanted to give me something to keep me constructively occupied, or maybe he knew something about me that I didn’t yet know about myself. At any rate, that one gift changed my life. I photographed everything. It started my passion for measuring and engaging with my world ― something that defines me even to this day.”
— Felicia Megginson

2. “This gift felt like a blessing and a welcome home”

“I grew up in a small town in Illinois and spent the first part of my career in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. In 2004 I took a risk and moved to New York City, away from all of my friends and family, to a completely unfamiliar city where I knew ― literally ― three people. After a few years in Manhattan, I happily settled into my current home in Brooklyn. Shortly after I moved into my Brooklyn home, my parents gave me my paternal grandmother’s copy of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” After all the upheaval and uncertainty of my departure from the Midwest, this gift felt like a blessing and a welcome home.”
— Katherine Pulliam

3. “I still tear up every time I look at it”

“When I was pregnant with my first child, my family threw a small baby shower for me, providing me with the real necessities ― things like onesies, diaper bags and burp cloths. I remember feeling so grateful for all the very practical and useful gifts. At the end of the party, my mother placed a large box on my lap. I had no idea what it could be ― I had already received everything I had asked for, and then some. I unwrapped the present to discover a stunning baby quilt made in the same distinctive pattern as the quilt my grandmother had made for my mother when I was a child. Then it hit me: My sweet grandmother had made this baby quilt for my baby long before I could even have a child [of my own]. She probably knew as she patiently stitched it that she would never meet the child for whom she was sewing. I still tear up every time I look at it.”
—Louise Cramer


4. “I played with him until he fell apart, and then I played with him some more”

“Optimus Prime was the first toy I ever saved my money for. It was $26.99 of quarters, nickels and dimes scrounged from odd jobs, lemonade stands and bottle-recycling runs. I played with him until he fell apart, and then I played with him some more. Fast forward about 25 years and the boy in me finds out that there is a company in Japan that makes exact replicas of that Optimus Prime ― for about $200. As a musician and father, I knew that was not likely to be a possibility. I posted a message on my Facebook page saying that, though I knew there were larger problems in the world, I was a little bit sad to know I’d never get to play with Optimus Prime again. Within minutes, a man messaged me to say he had a first generation Optimus Prime in its original packaging, and that it was mine with one condition: I had to promise to play with it. True to my word, I do often take the Transformer down and play with him.”
—Paul Tabachneck

 5. “When I wear it I am strengthened by their love”

“Shortly after my father-in-law died in a tragic accident, my husband and his four closest cousins gathered for a family reunion weekend. At the end of the weekend, the cousins gave me a bracelet. But before they actually gave it to me, each one held the bracelet and told me one thing that they loved about me. When the bracelet made it around the family circle and back to me, each of them had blessed the bracelet with their love for me. When I wear it I am strengthened by their love.”
—Charlotte Stratz

6. “It was the perfect gift, from someone who clearly knew just how I felt”

“A friend of mine says this about having kids: ‘One is none. Two is ten.’ I could not agree more. About one month into my second child’s life, I was sleepless, overwhelmed and at my wits’ end. My husband often traveled on business for long stretches of time and there were days when I felt that getting the laundry from the washer, to the dryer, to the dresser required a superhuman effort. As you can imagine, my house was often, frankly, a mess. One particularly exhausted morning I was sifting through the mail and found a card from my sister-in-law who lived several hundred miles away. I opened it and found a gift certificate from a local business for three house cleanings, paid for by her. I burst into tears. It was the perfect gift, from someone who clearly knew just how I felt.”
—Mary Baker

7. “It was, and will likely remain, the most amazing present I could ever ask for”

“My mother died earlier this year, on September 13. On my birthday, six weeks after she passed away, my brother sent me a video he had made of her singing “Happy Birthday” to me. She was literally on her deathbed when she recorded it ― she would pass away in the same hospital room one week later. It was, and will likely remain, the most amazing present I could ever ask for.”
—Matt Fran

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