We Share the Best Gifts Ever

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Any chump can run to the store and buy a friend or relative a gift, but what about those hard-to-find, sentimental ones? The gifts that stay alive in your memory after years and years?

For “Holiday Week,” BTRtoday staffers share the most magical gifts they’ve ever given or received.

Courtesy of Irina Groushevaia
I’m not gonna lie, I fucking love giving gifts. Sometimes it’s as simple as a heartfelt card with my tears smudging my writing or sometimes it’s as complicated as a trip to Paris. My girlfriend never left the U.S. until she met me. She studied french for seven years and overall being a huge francophile I thought it would be the perfect Valentine’s day gift. I wrapped a guide to Paris made by local artists to keep it hip, with a note inside saying, “you, me, spring break?” and, well, if she didn’t love me then, now she definitely does. – Irina Groushevaia


In 8th grade I received an iPod video and it changed my life. It was the most recent update in a growing line of mobile music players, but it was my very first, and the freedom was almost too much for me to handle. I downloaded every song I could illegally pirate, while using the gift cards my parents tossed into my stocking to download music videos I didn’t care about and full episodes of Chappelle’s Show. I probably used less than half the space on the thing before forgetting about it. I came across it again while packing up to move out, sitting dusty in its little outdated Apple sock, oblivious to the generations of mp3 technology that had passed it by and rendered it useless and left its scrolling wheel in the dust. – Joe Virgillito
When your grandpa is in his late 80s and has lived a full, simple satisfying life, what the hell else could you possibly get him? Well, when I saw his face after I bought him an Elvis wig and sunglasses, oh boy it was the best thing ever! We took pics of him doing Elvis’ poses, and for the next year I photoshopped him as Elvis into famous Elvis pics, and framed them. He loved it! – Elena Childers

For his birthday, I gave a boyfriend a 10 dollar bottle of champagne. Five dollar Andre would be trashy but 10 spells out eternal love. I collaged it with all his favorite things: his neighborhood cut out of a NYC subway map (he’s obsessed with trains), pictures of corgis (the dog he loves most and slightly resembles), and a picture of me naked. Because I look damn good naked and it’s sure as shit one of his favorite things. He doesn’t like clutter or owning a lot of possessions so I wrote him a card, precious as all hell, telling him that I loved him and that part of his gift was that I totally wouldn’t care if he threw the bottle away after we drank it. He’s still got it. – Taia Handlin

The best gift I ever received was for my 25th birthday, last year. I had just returned from a trip to Austin, to play South By Southwest with my band, and I got back to New York two days before my birthday. My parents were visiting, but little did I know that–with the help of my best friend and boyfriend–they had planned an incredible surprise! I woke up the morning after returning home to the sound of somebody walking over to my bed, I assumed it was my mom, but when I opened my eyes it was my sister, who had travelled all the way from Denmark with her baby (my nephew) just to surprise me! It was hands down the best gift ever. – Rebecca Chodorkoff

The best gift I ever got was on my 30th birthday last year. My little sister threw me the bomb of surprise parties. She convinced old friends who I haven’t seen since high school to come. My off-the-grid friends from Ithaca came as did my best red-headed friend from college, who flew in from California. It was epic to the degree that writing about its memory made me cry. – Kimberly Ruth

The best gifts I have ever received are the ones of sentimental value. This year for my birthday, one of my best friends got me a bracelet with the coordinates of the house in Ohio I’ve lived in all of my life until college. Since my siblings and I are all adults now my mom is planning on selling the house, which is filled with years of memories. So although I’ve found myself a new place to call home in New York, Ohio will always hold a special place in my heart. By having a piece of home on my wrist I am reminded of where I grew up and I am inspired to make an amazing home in NY. – Cassidy Colarik