Memorable Gifts from Holidays Past


With gift-giving season in full swing, you’ve likely been thinking hard about what to give and get for the holiday season. As I make my holiday shopping list and check it twice, I can’t help but reminisce on gifts I’ve received for holidays past. From the most meaningful gift, to the coveted ‘gift that got away’, these presents represent more than just a thoughtful gift given, they bring to mind fond memories of holidays spent around friends and family. Check out my list, below, and be sure to add your fond gifting memories of past and ‘present’ in the comments!

My Grandmother’s Leopard Coat
The most recent gift on this list also happens to hold the most meaning. Given to me on my first holiday season back home during my freshman year of college, my Grandma Dorothy gave me something that I still have, use, and cherish: her leopard-print coat from the 60s. I remember how glamourous this fuzzy, printed coat made me feel as a child playing dress-up in my grandmother’s basement; it was something I never expected to be wrapped up under the tree. Just a few months earlier I had moved from my childhood home in sunny South Florida to attend college in snowy Pittsburgh and I’d never needed to own a coat before; this gift held meaning not just because it had belonged to my grandmother, to me it symbolized my transition into adulthood.

Samantha, An American Girl Doll
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a soft spot for the American Girl franchise. Samantha was my “big present” that year and — as you can probably tell from the photo — I loved everything about her, from her fuzzy black stockings to that amazing velvet hat. She didn’t stay in the original clothes very often though – I absolutely loved making outfits for her. My favorite was a hand-bejeweled leotard and oversized top combo that we used to perfect our gymnastics moves in together.

The Perfect Bike
Sadly, my bike was nowhere near as cool as the one pictured, but that doesn’t mean that I loved it any less. I was probably 8 or 9 when I got my first ‘grown-up’ bike for Christmas. Painted bright purple with hot pink paint splashes, it was the epitome of 90s style. Growing up in sunny, suburban South Florida meant that this bike was my ticket to year-round freedom and adventure; I spent countless hours outside roaming around my neighborhood and, as I grew older, the adjoining neighborhoods. Being able to transport myself to a friend’s house or to the park without having to ask for a ride was pure heaven.

Moon Boots
Does anyone else remember these? As a kid my dream job was to be an astronaut, so of course I was obsessed with the incredible promise of any “anti-gravity device!” These were on my birthday, holiday, any-day gift lists for such a long time that I honestly thought I was never going to get them. My parents were convinced that I was going to break an ankle and looking back, I really don’t blame them. Sadly, when they finally did appear under the tree, my high expectations weren’t met. I definitely wasn’t jumping around getting incredible air like those kids in the commercial… it was more like shuffling awkwardly while kind of bobbing up and down. A valuable lesson learned though; the whole experience taught me to think critically about any outlandish product claims.

Sky Dancers
Yes, another totally trendy toy from the 90s, but this one I absolutely loved! I have such fond memories of running around on my front lawn with friends, competing to see who could get their Sky Dancer to fly the highest. Also, just look at how magical this thing is! I was happy just to put it on my dresser and look at it.

So now I want to know, what are the most meaningful and memorable gifts you’ve received? Let me know in the comments!

About Susan

Susan's all-time favorite things include pugs, eating outdoors, and absurd mushroom-themed housewares. Her current obsessions include nail polish, wedges, and anything high-waisted. Her ultimate style icon is her grandma, and she's one of the founders of ModCloth!

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  1. jude 12/17/2013 at 11:59 pm #

    Definitely my sewing machine and my mums sewing box which was re-covered in spotty fabric. Opened a whole new opportunity for crafting!

    • Susan 12/20/2013 at 10:39 am #

      That sounds like a gift that truly keeps on giving! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Cyra 12/18/2013 at 6:05 am #

    I still have and use my moon boots; beautiful purple that “fades” to lavender at the toes. They are real clunkers but I have never ever had the slightest nibble from Jack Frost when wearing them sledding on the longest of days, in the deepest of snow on the highest and coldest of mountains. I may model them for the Style Gallery for the sake of chuckles all around.

    • Susan 12/20/2013 at 10:40 am #

      Cyra, that’s amazing! I would LOVE to see those on the Style Gallery 🙂

  3. Amber 12/18/2013 at 11:22 am #

    Oh my goodness I had that Sky Dancer! One of my favorite gifts too! I think my most memorable was probably my pink ipod nano from my mother. That was a very big, special gift. Lord of the Rings books on tape (CD), also from my mother would be my second most memorable.

    • Susan 12/20/2013 at 10:41 am #

      So cool! LOTR on CD must have been quite a large CD pack 😉

  4. Mary Cyrus 12/27/2013 at 7:48 pm #

    We have to be just about the exact same age judging by your memorable toys. I had that exact Sky Dancer, and Molly was my big gift one year around the same age. The dollhouse my grandmother made me was a definite big gift. I recently passed it onto a friend’s daughter.

  5. Theresa Kuhar 12/29/2013 at 8:56 am #

    My most memorable gift came in 1997, in a plain envelope. It was a letter that changed my life for the better, forever! <3

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