I’ve been reading your site for several days now, browsing through the archives, and I LOVE your site. One thing I seem to be picking up on in gift giving is that most of your readers don’t like to give gift cards for presents, reasons being that they’re too impersonal.
But with my birthday coming up soon, I just have to ask. Is it ok to ask for gift cards, if that’s what I really want? DH and I live in a tiny apartment with very little room for “extras”, and neither one of us can stand too much clutter. I love to read and listen to music, so a couple years ago hubby bought me an iPod, and then last year I received a nook. This has been really great for us, because I was able to download my music collection to my computer and I’m trying to build up my collection of e-books, so I can get rid of more of my physical books. Since them ,whenever someone asks what to buy me for an occasion, I ask for gift cards to either iTunes or Barnes and Noble.
My family is perfectly ok with giving me gift cards, as they understand my reasons for wanting them, and they know my crazy passion for books and music. My MIL is being difficult, though, as she has always thought gift cards were tacky gifts and showed a lack of thought for the recipient. DH and I have tried to explain to her why I’m asking for them, and she’s seen firsthand how small our apartment is.
My dilemma comes from the fact that MIL always wants us to tell her what to buy for us for birthdays or Christmas. I’m not into clothes or jewelry, and my only hobbies are reading or listening to music, so I can’t really thing of anything else to ask for. She keeps asking me to tell her what to get me for my birthday next month besides a gift card, but I’d feel really guilty asking for something that I know I wouldn’t use.
Should I continue to tell her that a gift card is something that I really want and would use, or should I try to come up with something else to tell her? Please help! Thanks! 0226-12
Information about what one prefers to receive as a gift should be “pull” information, not “push”. By that I mean that under no circumstances should any take the initiative to tell others what it is they want to be given as gifts. However, if the giver takes the initiative to ask, i.e. “pulling the information” from you, it is perfectly fine to suggest a suitable gift. As long as your friends and family are asking you for your gift preferences, replying to them that you’d prefer gift cards to buy ebooks won’t land you in Etiquette Hell.