What’s the Best Gift You Ever Received? Here’s 6 Replies.


A favorite gift can be as practical as a new laptop or as profound as an introduction to one’s heritage.

So, The Times asked six men and women with creative backgrounds from around the world to describe in emails the presents that have delighted them the most. (Their replies were edited for length and clarity.)

An art historian, Mr. Gabet has been director of the Department of Objets d’Art at the Louvre since September 2022; he previously was director of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Best gift ever On his departure from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, staff members, friends and board members presented him with a textile sculpture by the French artist Simone Pheulpin, who was the subject of an exhibition there in late 2021. “This sculpture is, for me, a talisman,” Mr. Gabet wrote, “both a remembrance of nine years of my professional and personal life, a wonderful and powerful art work, but also the objet d’art which will accompany me for the forthcoming years of my life.”

The textile sculpture by the French artist Simone Pheulpin that was given to Olivier Gabet.

On his wishlist “Any book at Hatchards London or Galignani Paris, or even better, a yearly almost unlimited budget to indulge my omnivorous love of books.”

The gift he plans to give “The new Louvre opus, ‘Les Diamants de la Couronne,’ by Anne Dion-Tenenbaum.”

Ms. Kombo is a consultant in Paris specializing in public relations, artists and repertoire, and talent development.

Best gift ever “When I was in elementary school, after moving to Paris from Niger, I was gifted with Amadou Hampâté Bâ’s memoir, ‘Amkoullel, L’Enfant Peul,’ by my father. Like the author, I have Peul (or Fulani) heritage and roots in the Sahel region of West Africa. I felt a deep pull while reading, like a multitude of secrets I had yet to unfold.”

Amadou Hampâté Bâ’s memoir, “Amkoullel, L’Enfant Peul,” was given to Tatiana Kombo by her father.

“This book was a gift of memory. I learned that preserving our past and passing on traditions through stories is a gift in itself.”

On her wishlist “Experiences, from hip-hop concerts to trips, to exciting culinary experiences. I like memories created.”

The South Korean baritone, now based in the United States, has won numerous international competitions and performed in operas around the world. Earlier this year, he sang the role of King Sejong in the choral epic “Hunminjeongeum” with the National Chorus of Korea at two concerts in South Korea.

Best gift ever Mr. Lee wrote that the choice of a favorite gift can change. “When my MacBook laptop died eight years ago, I was in need of new one. A friend gave me an Apple laptop for my birthday. It was perfect timing, and I’m still using it.

“But last summer, my favorite gift was replaced by a more recent, and more emotional one. My father lives in Vancouver, and I went to visit him, I thought to make him happy. But he prepared an amazing gift for me to make me happy. He bought me an all-inclusive travel package from Vancouver to Banff and Jasper for a week. It was beautiful, and I enjoyed it very much.

On the day of the trip, he got up early in the morning to prepare a lunch box for me. The whole trip will be remembered as my father’s deepest love.”

Ms. Giberson is president and chief executive of the Accessories Council, a nonprofit trade organization in New York City representing more than 330 accessories companies.

Best gift ever “You would think that because I work in the fashion industry, I wouldn’t be likely to receive jewelry, handbags, or shoes as gifts, but fortunately, my husband has impeccable style and has been very creative with his presents. My favorite is a pair of Hearts on Fire hoop earrings. They are perfect for everyday wear and remind me of his thoughtfulness.”

A pair of Hearts on Fire hoop earrings that Karen Giberson’s husband gave her.

How to be a good gift giver “Start early. I think about who I need to buy for and then carefully plan thoughtful and unique gifts that will bring a smile to the faces of my family and friends. Will it need to be custom made or personalized? Will it take a long time to deliver, or can I find the best possible price for an item that might be above my budget? The farther in advance I organize my list, the less stressed I am as the holidays get closer.”

Mr. Tobace, who lives in Tokyo, is an award-winning journalist, writer, podcaster and host of a weekly program on NHK World Japan radio.

Best gift ever “It was November 1994, I was 18 years old, and my parents gave me a plane ticket to Japan. As a Brazilian boy of Japanese descent, that gift would profoundly transform me and resonate in my life to this day.” He returned to Brazil, but in 2001, decided to move to Japan.

“My parents’ gift had transformed into a life journey, a continuous quest to understand my identity, my roots, and my purpose.”

On his wish list “A cooking course in Kyoto or an architectural project for a residence designed by the renowned Kengo Kuma.”

Ms. Rebeiz is a Lebanese Canadian painter based in London.

Best gift ever Ms. Rebeiz said she was lucky to receive the gift of creating art. “Creative grace is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about what the best gift ever received is. Kant said that ‘genius is the innate mental predisposition through which nature gives the rule to art.’ I surmise that grace is divine in nature and consequently creation is too.”

On her wish list “Hypothetically, the gift I would like to receive is Francis Bacon’s ‘Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X.’” It is a work of art, she said, that “bestows sensations running from fascination to dread.”



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