Yes, I do know we live in a way too materialistic society and I applaud minimalists -sometimes I wish I was one of them-, but there’s always something you need, and probably there’s always something you want. I don’t want to encourage gluttony, on the contrary; I want you to get what you want so you don’t get stuck with yet another thing you don’t find beautiful or useful. The purpose of a gift is making your life easier, better, more comfortable, more fun,.. all kinds of positive feelings. That’s why people should put more effort into this part of life.
There’s nothing wrong with saying what you want, especially when you’re specifically being asked! For me, it’s become an ongoing activity. I keep a list with me everywhere I go, and I constantly get new ideas. My list goes from small to gigantic, from free to priceless, from easily DIY’d to found only in selected stores. It makes it fun for me, because like this I never know what I’m going to get -I don’t expect to get a hundred presents for my B-Day, obviously-, and I think it makes it more fun for the gift giver as well, as they’re never bound to a specific budget, or don’t have to go all the extra miles to find something I’d enjoy.
Note: It’s not because I have a list, I don’t enjoy the spontaneously chosen presents I get. Some of the best gifts I’ve received are the things I couldn’t think of myself or didn’t know that existed!
Around Christmas and my birthday specifically, I stop buying stuff I could easily miss for a few more weeks or days, and just put them on my list. My life isn’t going to end if I have to wait an extra few more days on that handbag I saw in the window, or that I can’t immediately frame my holiday pics because I don’t have a frame at hand. The longer the wait…
I also advice you to think about what to ask each person who wants to know what you want. Both for you and for them, it makes it a lot easier if you adjust your wish list to the one who’s buying your gift.
– If you know they’re on a tight budget, don’t go asking for pricey stuff. They either feel bad they can’t get you what you want, or they give you a cheaper alternative you may not like.
– Acknowledge their qualities. If you find your mother’s taste in table ware exquisite, your uncle always seems to know where to find the best kitchenware, or your BFF knits store quality vests, ‘use’ it to your advance! It’ll be more fun for them to search for something they actually know something about, and you’re guaranteed the best option there is to find.
– Note your relationship. Gifts from a bunch of colleagues are different from a gift from your dad, and you can’t always ask your boss the same things as you would your girlfriend (unless they’re the same person, of course 😉 ).
– Recognize the size/meaning of the occasion. It’s a different deal when attending the Secret Santa Christmas Party with the bro’s then celebrating your ten year anniversary with your wife.
And last but definitely not least: Be Thankful. Show gratitude even though you don’t like the gift you’ve been given. If you’ve ever given a present, you know it’s way more fun with people who smile and say ‘Thank you’. I’ll gladly go that extra mile for you, but if you can’t offer some recognition, I’m not gonna put that much effort in your gift the next time. That (free!) smile could be a long term investment people!
I’d love to read what’s on your current wish list! Share with me below!