Would you rather be surprised with a holiday gift? Or would you rather ask for something you really want/need and forego the surprise element?
When I was a girl, my parents asked us to write down what we wanted every holiday and birthday. Not that we would get everything on the list, but we used to not ask for a lot, either. One year, all I wanted was a telescope. Another year, I wanted a toy buffet (!) set by Marx. I would write down my list, cut out pictures, it was all very specific. :)
As an adult, I have sometimes received gifts that I would never in a million years use or want. If it’s the thought that counts, what thought comes with another spice rack filled with spices that don’t have a flavor anymore? Or a box of Moonpies and a six-pack of Pepsi because the 7–11 was the only store open after 6 pm on Christmas Eve? The worst thing is when someone (an S.O.) buys you something that was expensive…but really tacky. You know they spent a lot of money, but you will never wear the diamond studded earrings shaped like bananas with tiny monkeys hanging off the end.( Not when sober, anyway. ) I just think that is such an enormous waste of money when I would have been happy with fair trade costume jewelry and a good book. I’ll get more use out of the two.
No doubt, the members of this board have partners that are thoughtful, caring and very observant of what their loved ones want/need. I have not had that privilege. Not since high school. I had a boyfriend in high school that always bought the perfect gifts. He was a real romantic. One birthday, he gave me a beautiful bracelet and then surprised me further by renting the reel-to-reel of the Wizard of Oz and borrowing the school projector to show me the movie on the wall of my house. (Yes, this was before the video cassette…how cool was that??)
So, after years of having to pretend that something was “perfect”, or grinning woodenly at gifts that were like a shot in the dark, I just let my close friends/family and especially S.O.‘s know what I want…because there are things I really do need and some I just desire and I often feel guilty (sometimes) buying them for myself even as a treat. Recently, my family asked me to fill out an Amazon Wish List. I like that idea—- that way, the gift is put to good use right away or is cherished and not in danger of being re-gifted. I wouldn’t tell a work colleague or someone that I wasn’t close to, though….unless they asked me.
I don’t in any way mean to sound ungrateful. Sometimes, I have received lovely things from thoughtful people and friends who just saw something and “knew” I would like it….and they were right. Usually, it was my good girlfriends…or my gay male friends.
In general, though, if given the choice, I would forego the surprise element and receive a gift I can use.
So, would you rather be surprised by a gift chosen at random? Or would you rather make a list and/or ask for something you really want/need?