When I was younger, I never picked my own stuff out. I just got what I got, and I was fine with it. As I've grown older, I have literally started picking out every single gift that I get. At the risk of sounding ungrateful/spoiled, it's really become a pain. I am in college away from home. I'm in school 21 hours a week (that's including labs) and am pretty busy overall. When the holidays roll around I get even busier because my parents demand that I pick out what I want for Christmas from every relative. I can't say "just surprise me" because they won't. Usually I don't need or want anything much but my relatives insist on getting me something that I've picked out. The other day I had to drive down and get fitted for English riding boots and put off starting an essay until 8 at night. The odd part is that when I get said boots at Christmas I am expected to act surprised and enthusiastic, as if the boot fairy sneaked into my room to custom-fit me.
I have asked for gift cards several times and the answer is always "no". My aunt and uncle always get me a gift card, which I love and use throughout the year on things that I have time to pick out. The hard part is thinking of things for every relative that are fit to their specifications. My dad's mom refuses to get me anything under or above a certain price range. However, this "thing" has to be something tangible, not a gift card, and must be substantial-she doesn't like to get me jewelry or technology, as she thinks the former is too "little" and doesn't understand/can't get excited over the latter. My parents want to get me practical things like clothes which, again, I have to drive in and get fitted for. Often my mother (the messenger) will say "What do you want Relative A to get you for Christmas?" and I'll suggest something. Relative A will reject that idea and I will get another call from my mom a week later and the cycle continues. Often Christmas is a hassle because I'm so busy picking out my own stuff and trying to please people. Sometimes I literally don't want anything within the parameters of what I'm supposed to be picking out-I want something too cheap or a gift card and don't need anything else.
I recently found out that this is a trend in my family-everyone picks out their own stuff and everyone acts surprised. I've never heard of anyone else's family doing this so to me it seems strange. I can understand pretending to be surprised and wrapping all the gifts so children can have fun/won't be disillusioned, but my brother and I aren't kids anymore by any stretch. My main question is this: is it rude to just refuse to pick out my own gifts? Is there anything I can say? As I've gotten older it just gets more time-consuming and vexing. No one asks me in September or October, they all want to know from Thanksgiving onward when I'm preoccupied with things like finals. :S