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Shopping for others during the holiday season can be hard. Like, really hard. Wouldn’t it just be great if everyone you knew and loved (or, y’know, tolerated) had the perfect ‘wish list’ ready to go, and could give you a copy to take a look at?
Why not start the trend by putting together your own wish list? One to be distributed to all the great aunts and uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and (heck, why not?) even the children who you suspect may be thinking about that perfect gift to get you for the holidays? Rude, you say? Not a chance!
But what do you really want this year? Is there anything that you need, but maybe haven’t found the right time to buy for yourself? Now is the time to do some soul searching, or else face the wrath of unknowably random presents!
Step one: Ask yourself – what do I want, and what do I need?
Take a minute, sit down, and sing “I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want”. Okay, no, it’s not a question, it’s a Spice Girls reference. But nevertheless, it’s still a worthy subject to think about – whether to be my lover or not.
Thinking about the things that you want is easy. Harken back to the days of yore when you were but a wee child. Commercials, posters, and flashy toy store displays helped to guide you very clearly to the things that you wanted. The newest this, the latest that. Is there a book out that you just have to read? How about a movie or CD you’ve just got to have a copy of? Sports team memorabilia? Trendy fashion accessories? Makeup? If the idea gets you excited but your wallet reminds you that you have grownup responsibilities to take care of first, then it qualifies both as a ‘want’ and a great wish list item.
What do you need? The same line of thinking used above – namely, things you need but can’t seem to find the room in the budget to buy – can be the solution here as well. How’s your MP3 player doing these days? Your external hard drive? Your wallet (the wallet itself counts just as much as the contents in this case)? A great idea here is to think about expenses in the future – gift cards to your favorite electronics store can help you pay for video games, while a gift card to your favorite restaurant can help shave the cost of date night down to nothing.
Step two: Include at least one or two luxury items.
No one likes to be greedy around the holidays. The truth is that if those darn relatives are just going to keep on asking and asking and asking about what you’d like to get as a gift, well… Maybe you should give in and go for broke. As in, include an item or two that you are just too broke to get for yourself, but would love to have. After all, It’s not unheard of for friends and family members to pool gift budgets together and get something really special for someone equally special.
Have you been itching to get a slightly bigger TV? Put it on the list. How about a newer gaming console, digital camera, or cellphone? Write it down! That expensive perfume that just smells perfect? Get it down too! Just make sure that you’re not putting something that is 100% out of the realms of possibility for those you’re sharing your list with. Something tells me Gramma just hasn’t got Rolls-Royce money!
Step three: Keep your audience in mind.
While this list is, technically, about you. It’s important to make sure you won’t be leaving any recipients of this list crestfallen when they skim over it and realize they can’t seem to afford anything you want. After all, the people who are most likely to ask for this list are close friends and family members who have got to buy for several other close friends and family members. Keeping luxury items to a minimum is a great first start, and here’s a great tip: use the holidays as a restocking session.
When’s the last time you bought a new toothbrush? How about a new computer mouse? What about golf balls, running shoes, or guitar picks? Items like these, items which are essentially ‘perishable’ in that they need to be renewed regularly, are fantastic choices to include on a wish list. Your loved ones will get the dual satisfaction of knowing that they got you something that you both wanted and needed. You’ll get to see their happy faces as you open your gift, and will enjoy not having to spend your own money later.
Step four: Do some of the leg work.
Let’s be honest; poor old uncle Istvan has zero idea what an external hard drive is, does, or tastes like. You, on the other hand, know all of the above. Why you’ve taken to tasting your external hard drive is beyond me, but I’m not here to judge. Include a suggested store or two when it comes to some of your items. Did you see a great advert for a special on harddrives at Harddrives’R’Us? Put it in as a note. Does a particular sports store always have great deals on shirts and gear around the holidays? Make sure you include the name, and consider including the street address if the store sells more niche products.
Doing some of the leg work in this manner can be doubly helpful for your loved ones. If the item in question happens to be all sold out, at least they’ve found themselves in a store that you frequent. Do they sell gift cards! Perhaps there’s a raincheck or layaway program! Maybe they’ve got your picture on the wall with ‘BANNED FOR LIFE’ written in bold beneath it! Who knows? The holidays are a magical time!
Step five: Revise and distribute.
Now that you’ve got a wish list together, read it over again. Are you sure you really want the things you put under your ‘wants’, or do you just think you want them because society has placed certain expectations of consumerism on you? Think about it. I meant think about your list, not about the crushing pressures of brand recognition and the ‘new is always better’ mentality.
Once you’re certain you’ve got your list to where you want it to be, print out a few copies. Use some bright colours and some jovial fonts, and for pete’s sake, make sure you clearly put your own full name on the page somewhere. The last thing you want is a bushel of angry relatives disappointed that you didn’t enjoy any of the gifts they purchased for you! All while your cousin with the same name enjoys the things you asked for.
How did your list turn out? Are you surprised with yourself at all? Let us know how it went in the comments below!