Many people become more reflective as the year draws to a close. They think about successes and failures -- and what to do differently going forward.

There are probably quite a few investors who have stocks in their portfolios they wish they hadn't bought. But there are some stocks with which long-term investors should never have regrets. Here are three top stocks to buy in December and hold forever.

1. Alphabet

We could easily list several reasons to buy shares of Alphabet (GOOG 0.53%) (GOOGL 0.57%). I think two especially stand out: the company's competitive advantages and its multiple ways to grow.

No rival has been able to come close to knocking Google Search off its perch. Android remains the world's most-used mobile operating system. YouTube faces competition from TikTok and others but is still the leader in video sharing. 

Alphabet's major growth, though, is likely to come on other fronts. Google Cloud is rapidly expanding its market share in cloud hosting. Waymo has huge opportunities over the next decade and beyond as the self-driving car market grows. Alphabet is also forging new ground in other areas of artificial intelligence.

Like all of the other FAANG stocks, Alphabet's share price has fallen quite a bit in 2022. However, this decline makes the stock a bargain considering its underlying business strength and tremendous long-term growth prospects.

2. Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A -0.29%) (BRK.B -0.28%) is a textbook stock to buy and hold forever. Since 1965 (when Warren Buffett gained control of the company), Berkshire's total return has nearly doubled that of the S&P 500

As the mutual fund disclosures say, past performance is not a guarantee of future results. However, the core factors behind Berkshire's historical success remain in place. It's not surprising that the stock has beaten the S&P 500 so far this year.

One of the most important of these factors is the giant conglomerate's diversification. Berkshire is a holding company that owns more than 40 businesses. It also owns positions in nearly 50 other publicly traded companies, with stakes of 20% or more in five of them

No, Buffett won't live forever (although he still appears to be going strong at age 92). But his business and investing philosophy will likely remain core to Berkshire for a long time to come. I fully expect that Berkshire will continue its winning ways.

3. Microsoft

Microsoft (MSFT 0.23%) deserves a spot along with Alphabet as one of the best buy-and-hold-forever tech stocks. There are some similarities between the two companies.

For example, Microsoft's Azure cloud hosting unit ranks as significant a growth driver as Google Cloud is for Alphabet. Both Microsoft and Alphabet are also leaders in advancing AI. And the stock is available at a discount -- as Alphabet is -- with Microsoft's shares down more than 20% this year.

Microsoft dominates the office productivity and operating system markets (as it has for years). It's a key player in the fast-growing gaming market with its Xbox platform. The company could expand its position in this market even more if its pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard isn't derailed by regulators

There's also another advantage to buying Microsoft stock that doesn't receive as much attention: its dividend. Sure, the company's dividend yield of 1.13% isn't especially impressive. But Microsoft is steadily marching toward becoming a Dividend Aristocrat, with 20 consecutive years of dividend increases.

Those dividends add up, too. Over the past 10 years, Microsoft's dividends have accounted for nearly one-fifth of the stock's total return.