[Today’s post is by staff writer Stefanie]
I always thought making a list of gifts for Christmas or my birthday or another gift giving occasion was a bit presumptuous. After all, isn’t it a little rude and entitled to expect or assume you’ll be given gifts? And once you hand over a list, are you not making someone feel obligated to buy you something even if they weren’t planning on it?
While I still have that nagging feeling of uneasiness for gift list making, I’ve started to change my views on it. I’ve seen too many people receive gifts they don’t want or will never use- too many forgotten gifts lingering in dark, dusty storage corners before being resigned to the trash bin unopened. If there’s anything worse than being presumptuous, it’s being wasteful. And so maybe the idea of a gift list isn’t so bad after all.
Better to suggest what you’d like to receive, rather than have your loved ones waste their hard earned money and time agonizing over what to get you, and you not even liking it.
While I’ve come to accept that a gift list is a good idea, I think it’s important to follow some guidelines when creating it.
- Keep It Simple. You may have one or two wish list items that are tricky to get a hold of- like a limited edition book or a specialized kind of equipment- just make sure everything on your list isn’t inaccessible. Include a number of items that can be ordered online with free or minimal shipping costs, particularly when those doing the gifting will be traveling to get to you.
- Include a Range. It’s okay to include some pricier items on your gift list, but know that not everyone will be able to afford them. Even people who’ve typically given at a certain price point in the past may have a shift in spending priorities. It’s smart and curteous to include a range of items at a range of prices. For instance, I would love a massage or new running shoes or a set of good kitchen knives on the higher end- but I’m also including, chapstick and a cheap hand blender on the lower end.
- Don’t Forget the Boring Stuff. By asking for practical gifts- gift cards to your local grocery store, a cleaning service, and other things you’re going to spend money on anyway- you free up your own cash for discretionary spending when you need it.
When you’re put on the spot to make a list, it can be hard to think of all the things you really want and need. But as you go through your days, you’ll inevitably run into situations where you remember those things you’ve always wanted. Keep a list going year round so you’re always ready to offer a good range of gift list suggestions when the time comes.
If you’re on the spot and truly can’t think of anything, go for the “boring”, or rather, practical needs when making your list. That way the next time a “want” comes up, you’ll have freed up enough cash to pay for it.
About the Author: Stefanie O’Connell is a New York City based actress and freelance writer. She chronicles her struggle to “live the dream” on a starving artists’ budget at thebrokeandbeautifullife.com.
Afterword From Brent
I have been, at their request, preparing lists for my family for years and I have to say… it tends to work out very well.
They’re happy because they know they are getting me something I want and I’m happy because I’m getting something I want too. It’s a win-win really.
Stephanie shares three great tips that I agree with. Thinking back to my wish lists form the past I have things like Burts Bees to golf balls and some silly (and sarcastic) items like a two car garage and a Porsche 911. Hey, it’s good to have a range and it never hurts to ask, right?
Another thing I’d recommend is that you add clickable links so it’s easy for your loved ones to find where to buy the items online. You can even your an affiliate link but make sure you don’t check the items you’ve referred until after the holiday season or else you’ll ruin the surprise!
The final thing I’ll mention, from my experience anyway, is that some of my favorite gifts I’ve given and received were handmade gifts or gifts of time rather than money. For example, one year I built my fiance a walk in closet. Another year my parents gave us snow shoveling and mail retrieval services while we were out of town on vacation.
I know you’re wondering what is on my wish this this year.
The top 3 things on my wish list:
- You to become a VOSA Insider where you’ll have access to exclusive content, webinars, meetsups and more
- You share this (or your favorite) VOSA post on twitter and/or facebook
- You perform a random act of kindness (start with one and try to tell me it’s not addicting)
Image Credits: © Depositphotos.com / ronleishman