I belong to a community that is focused around an organisation devoted to a hobby. We do meet in person to participate in this hobby, but as there are chapters of the organisation in different parts of the country, we do a lot of discussions on an online forum.
At Christmas we can opt into a secret santa. The gifts that people give are mostly related to the hobby. Usually people don't spend a lot of money on the gift, but often they spend a lot of time hand making their gift. Hand making a gift is not required however. The rules also don't state that the gift has to be related to the hobby.
This year we had the option of posting a wishlist on the forums, which many people did. They usually listed a few things relating to the hobby that they would like. One or two people mentioned chocolate, but the majority of the posters only asked for hobby related items.
Last year I declined to participate, as I wasn't sure I could give a quality gift, as I am not talented at making things relating to the hobby. This year however I had a few ideas, including purchasing a handmade item from a friend in the community that sells hobby related items. I was pleased with the name I received as I knew he wanted a widget, and so I purchased a widget from my friend for him. However he then purchased a widget from her for himself. Luckily I was able to find something else from his wishlist, though it did mean last minute shopping. I think he'll actually prefer what I got him than the widget he was originally going to get. For the record, it wouldn't be terrible to have more than one widget, but he probably wouldn't need two identical widgets, and I just didn't feel right giving it to him once I knew he had one.
I received my secret santa gift today. It was soap. Soap does not relate to hobby at all. Another friend also received soap and she is also disappointed. She sent a very lovely handmade gift she spent a lot of time making. Neither of us posted a wishlist however, as we would have been happy with anything relating to hobby at all.
People are now starting to post pictures of their gifts on the online forum. Some of the gifts are amazing. All of them so far relate to the hobby.
I have several questions:
Is it rude to post a wishlist including several options and then buy one of those things yourself before the gift exchange?
Is it rude to gift a generic item such as soap rather than a specialised item relating to hobby? Does the fact we didn't post a wishlist impact on this?
Were we rude not to post a wishlist?
Should people decline to participate if they can't give a gift relating to hobby?
Is is rude to post a picture of the soap? I don't really know what I could say other than "Thanks for the soap", which next to all the gushing thanks posted so far might be a bit PA.