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Blog > November Writing Prompt: The best present you ever received

The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcards’ messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

Gifts are on my mind lately, as I finally, gleefully begin to acquire the presents I’ll spoil my family with on Christmas Day. (No, Mum, I won’t be revealing it here, sorry!) So I was glad to notice one of the suggested prompts on the forum, from Eva (aka lauranalanthalasa)…

In November, write about the best present you ever received!
Parker the wooden giraffe

As usual, I’ll go first! My dad is famous, or infamous, for his gift for picking the right gift. Sometimes they’re useful, sometimes they just perfectly suit you, sometimes they’ve very silly… but he rarely misses the mark! So one Christmas a few years ago, I went downstairs to find a very mysterious wrapped shape. It was about 5 feet tall (1.5 metres), so only a little shorter than I was… and the shape just made no sense at all. I can’t remember if the other members of my family knew about it, or whether we were all equally befuddled, but my dad was definitely enjoying himself way too much.

Given the photo I’ve added, you all know where this is going. When I was eventually allowed to unwrap it, a beautiful carved wooden giraffe emerged! I’d admired it in a shop window about six months before, and I’d always been a big fan of giraffes… so my dad went back for him, kept him hidden somewhere, and produced him on Christmas Day when I’d forgotten all about him. He’s called Parker (after Detective-Inspector Charles Parker, in Dorothy L. Sayers’ books—I don’t remember why!) and he looms in the background of my Zoom calls to this day.

The next year, of course, there was another large and strangely shaped present, which he’d labelled prominently with the words “not a giraffe”.

What about you? What’s the best present you’ve ever received? Is it something you still have now, an experience you had, something you remember from childhood…? We’d love to hear about it in the comments here and on your postcards this month!

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43 comments so far

namzroy, India
Wow! This has got to be the best prompt ever given the festive season everywhere :). For a book nerd like me, I received the best gift in October 2019 with books and all literary goodies based on the theme of fantasy. I enjoyed my experience of opening the gift box and going through every small and big thing. The books came with custom illustrated dust jackets based on the book theme. It was amazing to see those and have one for oneself too. I loved the unboxing, entire setup, and the reading moments.
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ned44440, Ireland
The best gift I ever got was a jewellery box when I was little. It wasn't so much the gift itself but the giver and the reason behind it.
I was about eight/nine and needed to go to the dentist and I was (and still am) terrified. After the ordeal was over I took to my bed in great pain. My young brother, only 4/5 at the time asked my parents if he could buy me something to make me feel better and using his own money bought me a small wooden jewellery box and proudly presented it to me. The thought really touched me and I have never forgotten it since over 50 years later. I still have the box 😀
These days the best gifts I get are postcards. Most of my family and friends bring me at least one postcard from their travels, even if they are only going to the next town over.
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debster, United States of America
I’m not sure if this is the best present I’ve ever received but it’s definitely the funniest. Several years ago a friend of mine gave me a bag of marbles for my birthday. She told me it was to replace the ones I lost. I still have them and every time I look at them I laugh.
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meiadeleite, Portugal
We once offered a 3-4 year old nephew a set of shaving cream and toy plastic razor we saw in a shop. It was his favourite toy for a while — his mom said he would refuse to shower without "shaving" his non-existent beard! 😂
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JonathanChua, Singapore
I received a wonderful gift of life from my mother 60++ years ago. It is the best gift I have ever received, n guess what, I am still using it till today. Wherever I am or wherever I went, I know this gift from my mother will keep me protected from harm n will guide me when I am lost.
Thank you mum.....I love you.
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lauranalanthalasa, Germany
OMG! I am featured in the Blog! 😱😍
I just noticed and I am so excited and honored! 🙏
Thank you! 😊😁
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purplepassion, Bermuda
Quite a few years ago My sister bought me a Cobalt Blue Kitchenaid mixer to match the appliances in my new kitchen. I still have it and it still works . But I think it was the best gift because she could never buy me a gift that I really liked. At the time I also thought it was too expensive a gift , but now I’m really glad she got it as I love to bake bread, cake cookies etc. and this was after all the perfect gift. Still working almost twenty years later. I’m blessed.
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nastynew, Russia
When I read the blog, I remembered a gift from my spouse. We had bad finances that year. He saved up and donated a gold chain. I still wear it. And on New Year's, the most memorable gift was a large box of sweets. She was just huge !!! My brother and I got each one and ate sweets for almost 2 months! I also made such a gift to my daughter, she was absolutely delighted !!! And I still love to receive one apple and one tangerine in a sweet gift. This is also from childhood - such gifts were given to me from parental work.
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doryfera, Canada
I've been the recipient of many fabulous gifts, but one in particular still warms my heart. I was a penniless college student dating another penniless college student across the Canada-U.S. border. I was visiting him one time in winter and we walked past a department store window display (the store was closed) that had a super fetching teddy bear in one corner of it. I mentioned offhand how adorable I thought it was. Two days later, my boyfriend proudly presented me with that very bear. He had gone back in secret to the department store when it was open and pleaded with a shop assistant to retrieve that specific bear from the window display ("it has to be THAT BEAR") because its expression was so sweet and quizzical. It was such a loving and thoughtful gesture. Decades later now, and I'm not sure where that bear got to, but remembering it makes me smile every time.
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beesknees, United States of America
I remember receiving an animal encyclopedia when I was around 6-7. I would look at that book for hours!
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breeze2902, United States of America
My mom took all our home movies, filmed on Super 8, and had them transferred to a DVD. We had not seen then in decades. It was so moving to see everyone at such young ages, especially those that were no longer with us. Now, I can relive those memories anytime I wish.
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manencov, Romania
The most beautiful gift I received 3 years ago was The gift of life after breast cancer surgery.
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AwieAntje, Germany
The most beautiful gift I ever received was a violin by a man I hardly knew at that time.
I ahve been taking violin lessons for years, but one day my teacher told me he would change to another music school and I wanted to stay with him, so I planned changing the music school as well. However, I didn't have my own violin and had rented one from the school. The new school is a lot smaller and they didn't have a violin to rent left, so I either had to quit entirely, continue playing with another teacher (But my teacher was the reason I never gave up depsite a serious lack of talent) or get a violin (which are not the cheapest instruments...).
One wednesday evening, when I was on my way home from choir rehearsal, my phone rang and my teacher told me: "you know Dr. K from the orchestra? He has bought a new violin and wants to give away his old one. I thought you might want it", Of course I wanted it and when I aksed about the price my teacher said: "Oh no, Dr K said he'd only give it away as a present"
When Dr K really refused to take anything for his wonderful violin, I told him I would be grateful forever and from that year on, I prepared an advent calendar for him every year.
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GigiJordanHunter, United States of America
My favorite presents were the ones my parents made for us. Mother made me a beautiful floral quilted robe with matching night gowns. Daddy made us bulletin boards and new shelves for our bedrooms. I outgrew the robe and nightgowns, but still have the bulletin board.
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Gangurru, Costa Rica
Obviously we love Chistmas time so much, our Mom and grandpa gives us very nice gifts, here in postcrossing we are extremely lucky because we got many surprises in these years, all are a treasure to us. There are 2 gifts that we were in shock: someone from Australia sent to us the complete Skippy the Bush Kangaroo boxset (all seasons). I started postcrossing because my grandfather told me about Skippy, and i wanted to receive a kangaroo card (i got more than 300) and since then i love kangaroos) so thanks to .. we have been watching Skippy with my family. Amazing.
Skippy was the most popular Aussie tv show in Central America ever.

And we got a gift from USA: the robot (lost in Space tv show). Its very pretty. I mean the amazing fat robot not the Netflix show robot.

This December we wish health around the world.
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meiadeleite, Portugal
@AwieAntje I'm not Dr. K but I also gave away a violin once! :D I used to play when I was a teenager... but you know teenagers. After I went to uni, I never played again and have been carrying this violin around for 20 years. So this year, I asked around to try to find someone who had a kid learning violin. Eventually, I found a friend who had another friend with a kid in the same situation as you. Even though I didn't know the person, I was happy to gift them the violin for their child — at least now it'll play some music and be put to a good use!
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cpaige, Canada
Its my wife by far!!!
If its a solid gift, I still remember 50 years ago my favorite Christmas gifts when I was a boy my parents gave me a fancy 10 speed bike at the same time my uncle and aunt give me mint Canadian stamps 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10,20 ,50 and a $1 denominations. First mint stamps in my collection! The bike was $129. I Couldn't believe they both spent that much on me! I still have them in my stamp book!!!! I don't have the bike but I have good bike riding memories!
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AwieAntje, Germany
@meiadeleite What a coincidence! That was very nice of you and I know about the joy that child must have felt :D
So maybe for next month a good prompt would be: the best present I ever made?
You'd already have a story then ;)
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veomx, Mexico
One of the best gifts I received was when I meet the city of Aguascalientes in México, back in 2009, The city is full of beautiful places that I got so inspired that I decided to start producing Postcards... I'm still thankful and inspired :)
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sasha-m, United States of America
One of the best gifts I received was my cat Elsa! I was supposed to get Elsa for my birthday which is in April but I got her in August . Her name is Elsa because I got her during hurricane Elsa, I still have her today and now she's probably sleeping .
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bhuney05, United States of America
I remember i was about 10 years old. I seen this teddy bear at Wal-Mart. He was white but his fur kinda shimmered with rainbow colors all over him. I begged and begged my mom and dad for him. I finally got him for Christmas that year! I was so happy! I can still picture him in my head! I finally lost him when our house caught fire. I was so heartbroken.
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bhuney05, United States of America
The best gift I ever gave was to a coworker. It made her scream with joy and cry like a baby at the same time. I found a picture frame that had a beautiful saying on it about friends being family... Can't quite remember exactly what it said... But anyhow... It had places to put all kinds of different pics. More than one pic frame but they were all connected. Well I look thru her Facebook and print off some of her favorite pics of her and her college girlfriends hanging out that she didn't get to see much of anymore but still kept in touch with. Filled in all the empty frames with her pics and gave it to her. Idk how many coworkers said they wanted one yoo!
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ZoiKastilio, Russia
it's my birthday in November! 13th November . very interesting what gift I will receive!
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Trenker, Germany
My best birthday present was give to me when I was a teenager. Two school friends didn't know what gift to buy for me, so the guys created a gimmick called "paint-the-wooden-pallet" containing a can with black colour, a paint brush, a cube and.. a pallet. They even printed an instruction for use. Later on they handcrafted other gimmicks for several friends, who felt honoured to receive one of these unique presents - but I was the first one!
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wifetoalineman, United States of America
My Dad is a workaholic. He passed away 16 years ago :-( He made me this wooden calendar. I brought it with me the year I left my home country the Philippines for the first time. I still have it and every time I changed the days and the date, I still think of him.
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Flippie, Canada
Since I live on Vancouver Island, I see daily Anna Humming birds and of course I fall in love with them. I bought a humming bird feeder and some times I see four humming birds enjoying our food.
My mother in Law is a painter and she painted a Anna Humming bird for my 50th Birthday. I had no idea, it's the greatest gift every. I see now not everyday the real birds but also the beautiful painting.
Thank you Mom in Law.
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Nightbird, Germany
Two presents come to my mind. My dad gave me a swiss army knife, when I was about 14 years old. I still use it a lot.
And yesterday a friend gave me an extraordinary birthday present: An incense smoker, that looks like german virologist Christian Drosten.Though I never mentioned it, this one was a secret silly wish of mine for quite some time. When I opened the gift-box I nearly started to cry. So now I have a little virologist, with a smoking head, and maybe no one but me will understand, how happy I am:-)
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Hippy-Goldschmitt, Germany
One of the best gifts: my mother gave me my father's wedding shoes from 1954. I like the idea that I have something of him that he wore on the day he was very happy. I like the Depeche Mode song: Walking in my shoes :-)
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Anto61, Italy
a gift from my husband, after several ( many ) trips to Russia for work Without even a souvenir postcard ! Once brought me a small colector, it was not a year of stamp .. but he finally remembered :-)))
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aschermaedchen, Russia
One of the best gifts I received was a cake for my birthday, decorated on top as a postcard - with a printed stamp, address and congratulation text from my husband, who understands my passion for postcrossing.
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ybur, Czech Republic
I received one of the most beautiful gifts from my daughters for my sixtieth birthday: for each year of my life stamps for one postcard. So sixty postcrossers around the world were happy with this gift :-D
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Anbu, India
FOR ME THIS YEAR WAS THE BEST
I RECIEVED ACTUALLY 27 NOVELS THIS YEAR! ON MY B'DAY
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Caradeangel, Germany
The best gift I ever got was a telescope. I love to watch the moon through it and marvel at Jupiter with its four biggest moons and Saturn with its beautiful rings and its moon Titan.

But to be very honest... more than receiving gifts, I enjoy giving gifts. And for me it's not necessarily the big expensive things but the little gifts I may give throughout the year (just because I love the recipient), or the ones I put into my son's or husband's advent calendars.
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TheOtherElizabeth, United States of America
My mother hated my car. When I parked that clunker by my parents' house, property values dropped all around. I said she should tell people it was the maids car. She told me, "The maid has a much nicer car." It was huge and mulitcolored, but it ran and it was paid for. I kept it until she bought me a new one and I don't mean just "new to me". I drove that one forever too, but it never became multicolored. I am no longer a grad student and can afford my own cars now, but I truly loved that one.
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Dustybee, United Kingdom
The best present I ever received?!
That is an easy one for me!
My daughter.
And 42 years later - she is still the best present I ever received.
Love you.
Dad
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Annalooni, Finland
Present that is most precious to me is pair of very beautiful wool socks I've got from my granny who died of cancer ten years ago. I didn't appreciate those socks that much back then (I was much more interested of toys as Christmas presents than socks when I was a kid), but today they are my greatest treasure - I will never get new socks made by her. I wear them only at Christmas.

I would say it's kind of immaterial present when I meet some acquaintance and this person is delighted because of seeing me - this happens so rarely it makes me very happy (a little bit confused, too) for very long time.
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annaidwer, Netherlands
In 2009 we were in France,on holiday. My 2 daughters and I went to Grasse and made our own perfume. After a while there was nothing left and I bought and received new perfumes. 2 years ago my husband gave me a lovely bottle, with perfume. He ordered in Grasse! They write down all the ingredients you use for your scent, so you can order it until eternity! Such a big surprise;-)
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Moyuxuan, China
The best present I ever received was a postgraduate admission letter, which motivates me to study hard everyday ;-)
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Nidia, Portugal
I got a present, that for me has not any use. A friend gave me a workshop of make up! And that was strange, because I don't use any kind of makeup, :) :-) LOL. My luck was that the Covid-19 started, and we have to cancel.
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lindeclark, United States of America
The best gift I ever received was the birth of my son. There is no greater gift than the birth of your baby boy. Being Buddhist, material gifts are not the focus of my life journey or thought process (at least in receiving) however, I love to give gifts. Because my son will never see this post, I want to share a really cool gift I am buying for my son, Daughter in law and my sons wife's daughter. I am getting the little, a My Hero Acadamia jigsaw puzzle, and for my son a mechanical train puzzle. And for my daughter in law, a mechanical, astrological clock.puzzle. On November 17th I will be able to announce, Iafter the ultrasound, 'm officially going be a grandma and my son a daddy. If that isn't the best 2021 gift, nothing compares. Happy holidays to all.
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monnmonica, Thailand
The best gift I ever received was when I was around 12 or 13. I was having a bet with my dad that if I got good marks on all of my exams I will get a Wii. AND. I. MADE. IT. My dad kept his promise as usual and bought me a Wii (which I got it a little bit earlier before my birthday because I found that he hid the Wii in the back of his car) I was really really happy because not only because I earned it. it's also because all of my hard work paid off and I proved myself that I can made my own dreams came true.
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WattlePark, Australia
After 20 minutes thinking of all the wonderful gifts I have received and deciding I can't possibly pick a best one, I thought of a gift I gave that resulted in total bewilderment followed by joyful laughter.
On her 10th birthday I gave my God daughter a large parcel. Her face expressed her anticipation of something amazing only to turn to an expression of total confusion when she discovered it was a huge pack of toilet rolls. Then came the second part of her birthday present. Another large parcel but this time a carved wooden cat toilet roll holder - much loved by this cat obsessed child.
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family_fun_mayhem, United Kingdom
I love reading about all your gifts. I hope I receive some postcards sharing this information too. What a great topic. So many variations. ❤
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