Author Topic: Not supplying a wish list - rude?  (Read 4170 times)

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saki

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Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« on: November 23, 2012, 04:16:14 PM »
Background:  my husband is one of four, all four siblings are married.  Three years or so ago, we agreed that rather than buying presents for everyone, we'd do Secret Santa and just buy one, more expensive, present.  My husband and I had understood that part of the motivation behind this was so that you could put more time and effort into this - though I'm not sure that anyone else took this away so it may have been us misunderstanding. /end background

Everyone else involved in this supplies an Amazon wishlist every year.  One of my SILs this year even went so far as to make a special Amazon wishlist especially for Secret Santa that added up to the exact amount that we've agreed is the limit so that her Secret Santa doesn't have to make any decisions at all on what to buy her.  Neither my husband nor I are keen on wishlists.  For me, it's really that I don't want to choose my own present, I want a surprise, and (sorry if this sounds special snowflakey), I want someone to put some time and thought into my present, not just pick things off a wishlist and hit "ship", I just don't see the point in that.  For what it's worth, I am more than happy to put time and thought into the presents I give. 

In previous years, I've supplied an Amazon wishlist but said in my e-mail round that I would rather have a surprise but am supplying the wishlist in case inspiration is needed.  Every time I've just had stuff off my wishlist.  This year, I've decided to go for not supplying one at all and just providing some general thoughts on things I like (e.g. anything in Y category would be great, e.g. I like the style of things in these two shops).  My husband has done a similar (though slightly different) thing.

I sort of get the impression from the tone of the e-mails that everyone else is a bit grumpy with us for not making it easy for them.  In general, I gather that wishlists are now the norm for Christmas presents but I just don't like them at all.  I'd honestly rather opt out of the whole thing, if the others insist on just doing wishlists.  Are we rude for not going along with the majority?

Also, are we rude not to buy presents in return exclusively from their wishlists?  What I'm going for for my SIL (not the one mentioned above - I wouldn't dare deviate from her list!) is a mixture of wishlist and non-wishlist stuff that I think she'll like.  I think my husband is planning something like that for his Secret Santa.  In previous years, I've mostly gone with wishlists because I've been allocated someone I didn't know that well.

Drawberry

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2012, 05:18:20 PM »
Boyfriend's family is fairly large and fairly close, they do name drawings each year in similar fashion with a particular 'mark' on the indented monetary value of the gift(s) at $50. The intent is so that instead of everyone buying for every cousin and aunt in the family you draw a random name from those willing to participate and gift them something in that approximate range. (IE: spending no more then $50 but preferably close to that amount so one individual does get a $10 gift while they gifted a $55 gift )

Boyfriends mother had come to me last year asking for a wish list, which I initially declined on and simply said I didn't need anything. Feeling as though his family had done above and beyond for me and I had no intention of begging for (or expecting) gifts. However his mother genuinely wanted one from me to provide for herself and the family member whom drew my name for the secret Santa. Considering I may not be the most openly sharing person in the world (being an introvert with social anxiety disorder, a double whammy of yikes!) I finally agreed to write down a list of things I would have liked, having been asked to be very specific (Brand, shop, size, color, etc) about what I wanted.

I don't think this had to do with a lack of caring or wanting to know me personally, it had to do with them simply wanting be sure I enjoyed what I got and a secret Santa event in which the individual who drew my name was not particularly knowledgeable about my interests. Considering the individuals who requests a 'wish-list' from me where reassuring that they really wanted it and wanted to be sure they knew what styles I enjoyed, sizes I needed, and colors I would have wanted I conceded and did so.

While I initially felt a bit rude making a list of things I wanted and checking prices online it was what I was asked to do for people who really may not be super knowledgeable about everything I like. If it's asked of me again, I will do so but I will not do so if it is not asked. I can say again that I need nothing but I know that Boyfriends mother wouldn't settle for 'nothing' :P

I am sure that in some cases a wish-list may be a way for individuals to mindlessly buy for others without consideration or thought other then that gifting is standard and expected. However, in cases such as the one I experienced a wish-list can be a good starting point for those who may genuinely not be sure what I would want, possibly need, and would like to gather ideas. My wish list included things like 'colorful scarf' and 'knit gloves' as well as sweaters from X or Y shop in my size. It is also important to keep in mind my wish-list was hand-written on paper and not a list from a website in which someone could order from.

Do I think it's rude to not provide a wish-list? Not at all. Nor do I think it's inherently rude to ask for one. But if you are personally feeling as if it's being asked for as a way to avoid all thought on you as an individual that is your choice on how to handle it. Whether you choose to not provide one at all, provide one just to 'get it over with', or make a hand-written list of vague ideas like mine ('colored scarf' for example).

I still wear the colored scarf I received from last years Secret Santa! It's so incredibly ME and absolutely PERFECT that I couldn't believe someone could figure out it would have been what I wanted when I never even saw it before in my life. So I guess that's my little bit on how a wish-list doesn't have to be inherently rude or bad or a method to avoid thinking about others. I think how it's handled and the individuals are treated makes the difference.

« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 05:22:16 PM by Drawberry »

saki

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2012, 05:26:54 PM »
Quote
Do I think it's rude to not provide a wish-list? Not at all. Nor do I think it's inherently rude to ask for one. But if you are personally feeling as if it's being asked for as a way to avoid all thought on you as an individual that is your choice on how to handle it. Whether you choose to not provide one at all, provide one just to 'get it over with', or make a hand-written list of vague ideas like mine ('colored scarf' for example).

I'd be ok with supplying the sort of list you describe - in fact, that's kind of what I did do this year.  In previous years, I've supplied a list like yours - where I've said "I'd like a coloured scarf" type things but - alongside an Amazon list but it's been ignored utterly in favour of the Amazon list.  I think that's what makes me feel that it's really about how to avoid all thought.  My jaw actually fell open when I got my SIL's e-mail with "I've selected 6 things on Amazon that I'd like for Secret Santa, they add up to the exact amount we've set as the limit, so my Secret Santa doesn't have to do any work", it's like she feels that's the ideal way to do it.  Weirds me out.

Shoo

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2012, 05:37:19 PM »
Quote
Do I think it's rude to not provide a wish-list? Not at all. Nor do I think it's inherently rude to ask for one. But if you are personally feeling as if it's being asked for as a way to avoid all thought on you as an individual that is your choice on how to handle it. Whether you choose to not provide one at all, provide one just to 'get it over with', or make a hand-written list of vague ideas like mine ('colored scarf' for example).

I'd be ok with supplying the sort of list you describe - in fact, that's kind of what I did do this year.  In previous years, I've supplied a list like yours - where I've said "I'd like a coloured scarf" type things but - alongside an Amazon list but it's been ignored utterly in favour of the Amazon list.  I think that's what makes me feel that it's really about how to avoid all thought.  My jaw actually fell open when I got my SIL's e-mail with "I've selected 6 things on Amazon that I'd like for Secret Santa, they add up to the exact amount we've set as the limit, so my Secret Santa doesn't have to do any work", it's like she feels that's the ideal way to do it.  Weirds me out.

If that's how it's done, then I have to ask what's the point?  Everybody can just take the money they'd have spent on someone else and just buy what they want for themselves.  If there's no thought going into the gift(s), then there is absolutely no reason to do a gift exchange, IMO.

I wouldn't like it one bit, just like you.


And besides that, your SIL chose multiple items adding up to the amount of the gift limit?  I don't know.  That just seems really pointless to me.  And a little bit crass too, if I'm honest.

saki

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2012, 05:43:24 PM »
Quote
Do I think it's rude to not provide a wish-list? Not at all. Nor do I think it's inherently rude to ask for one. But if you are personally feeling as if it's being asked for as a way to avoid all thought on you as an individual that is your choice on how to handle it. Whether you choose to not provide one at all, provide one just to 'get it over with', or make a hand-written list of vague ideas like mine ('colored scarf' for example).

I'd be ok with supplying the sort of list you describe - in fact, that's kind of what I did do this year.  In previous years, I've supplied a list like yours - where I've said "I'd like a coloured scarf" type things but - alongside an Amazon list but it's been ignored utterly in favour of the Amazon list.  I think that's what makes me feel that it's really about how to avoid all thought.  My jaw actually fell open when I got my SIL's e-mail with "I've selected 6 things on Amazon that I'd like for Secret Santa, they add up to the exact amount we've set as the limit, so my Secret Santa doesn't have to do any work", it's like she feels that's the ideal way to do it.  Weirds me out.

If that's how it's done, then I have to ask what's the point?  Everybody can just take the money they'd have spent on someone else and just buy what they want for themselves.  If there's no thought going into the gift(s), then there is absolutely no reason to do a gift exchange, IMO.

I wouldn't like it one bit, just like you.


And besides that, your SIL chose multiple items adding up to the amount of the gift limit?  I don't know.  That just seems really pointless to me.  And a little bit crass too, if I'm honest.

Everyone other than that SIL provides an Amazon list that has enough items on it that you have a choice but, I don't know, even that feels a bit pointless to me?  I do sort of think that I'd prefer, at that point, just to spend the money on the things I picked out on Amazon rather than have someone else do that while I spend money on the things that they picked out on Amazon..

Brisvegasgal

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2012, 06:13:44 PM »
I don't think wish lists or the lack of them are inherently rude.

 I do think that a lot of people find gift giving difficult are would prefer to spend money on something they know the receiver would like.

There are two things IMO that a gift recipient needs to know. 1. If you send a list and don't get something off it - accept the gift graciously.  2.  If you don't send a list accept whatever you get graciously. My sister has done the opposite of both these points and it's hurtful and rude.

I'm sure Saki, that you'll appreciate whatever you're given so perhaps you can tell your gift giver that.


camlan

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2012, 06:41:19 PM »



 This year, I've decided to go for not supplying one at all and just providing some general thoughts on things I like (e.g. anything in Y category would be great, e.g. I like the style of things in these two shops).  My husband has done a similar (though slightly different) thing.

[snip]

Also, are we rude not to buy presents in return exclusively from their wishlists?  What I'm going for for my SIL (not the one mentioned above - I wouldn't dare deviate from her list!) is a mixture of wishlist and non-wishlist stuff that I think she'll like.  I think my husband is planning something like that for his Secret Santa.  In previous years, I've mostly gone with wishlists because I've been allocated someone I didn't know that well.

To me, what you have provided *is* a wish list. You've specifically stated a category of things you like and stores that carry more things that you like. I'd be fine with that. With my sisters-in-law, I like a little guidance, as I don't know them as well as I know my own siblings. Not sure what size they wear, what books they already own, what kitchen gadgets they have. But tell me that Sue only wears blue and green, Sally loves to cook and is always looking for exotic spices, and Cindy loves to wear crazy mittens and I have something to go on.

As for buying off a wish list, I usually do a combination. One or two things from the wish list, because I know the person will like them. And one or two things that I think they will like that aren't on the list, because I like to put some thought into what they might enjoy.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Amara

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2012, 07:20:12 PM »
For the first time, I got asked for a wish list for Christmas. And I have to say I like it. In the past I have gotten scented candles, plastic measuring cups, and so on--all of which end up at the thrift store the next day. (I can't stand scented stuff, and I don't use plastic in the kitchen.) I did, of course, express honest thanks when I opened them but I simply cannot use them. They have also given me gift cards to Gelson's (a high-end grocery store) and Trader Joe's, useful but not overly exciting to get.

This year, my sister, who often goes in with my brother, asked for the list. It took a while to make up but I ended up putting about ten items on it that I know really want: some wall decor, some kitchen utensils, some sculpture, all with links to them. Any one of them would be most welcome. The prices are all over the range. In turn I have asked her for a list, and I know my brother loves cactus so I am seeking out some of the rarer ones in my price range.

I don't think it limits me if my sister does a list like mine. I know I will get her something she'll love but she won't know what it is until she opens it. To me, a decent-sized list of much-wanted items just makes gift giving easier but it doesn't lower the excitement on Christmas day.

*remove uncompleted sentence*
« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 08:26:12 PM by Amara »

rashea

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2012, 08:23:41 PM »
If you're on Pinterest, that's an option as well. I've pinned a bunch of ideas, and then been clear that when I pin gloves, I don't mean this exact pair from this exact site, but a pain in an equivalent size. It seems to work. Especially if I pin a couple of similar pairs. Would that be an option?
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katycoo

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2012, 08:40:54 PM »
I love wish lists.  Amazon ones are great becuase people can just get excatly what you're after, but email lists of things like "Any latest release from , Y and Z authors, a new fluffy scarf (l liike red and blue best) - well. they're helpful.

I appreciate that you like all the thought and effort of a gift chosen but not providing a list doesn't ensure a thoguhtful gift.  in fact, it merely increases the likeelihood of getting something you don't like.

My SIL is a lovely person.  She has plently of money and likes to spend it on gifts.  She buys things that she likes.  At least 50% of the time, I really really hate whatever expensive gift she has given me.  25% I like it, but its not my taste and won't get used.  25% she's on the money.  I'm certain its a fluke when that happens.

So I guess you need to decide whether you'll be more disppointed to receive a gift you picked yourself, or the potential for a gift you don't like at all.

JennJenn68

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2012, 09:49:59 PM »
Personally, I'm more than a little tired of "wish lists".  To me, they smack of "entitlement".  As in, "I'm entitled to a gift from you, and it darned well better be what I want, or else!"

Then again, I'm one of the (seemingly small) group of people who loathe receiving gifts, of any kind.  No, I don't want to be surprised.  No, I don't want a gift.  I just want to spend time with the family and not have to worry about "oh, dear, is the gift that I spent X amount of dollars and time sidling through the crowds at the mall and fighting off a panic attack every step of the way not good enough for you this time?" and, really, if you have to make lists, how much of a "gift" is it and how much of an "obligation" instead?

Yeah, I'm not a fan of holiday shopping, and it shows.  I don't know what's "rude" and what isn't anymore, because to me the holiday season has become nothing but rudeness and entitlement.  I don't cope well with it, needless to say.

Sharnita

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2012, 10:00:21 PM »
your feelings about gift giving remind me a bit of the character of Sheldon on Big Bang Theory.  I think that there are lots of ways to look at it.  Your way is certainly one way and I don't completely discount it.  OTOH, choosing a gift can be fun for some people.  It can be a way to think of somebody and to connect with them even when you aren't with them.  Depending on how a wish list is presented and received it can also be fun.  It can reveal new and fun things about the person or about what might be out there - for example "Oh, I didn't know Ralph was interested in knitting.  All these years and I never knew until now." Or "This new biography of Lincoln looks pretty interesting - I might get myself a copy too"

TootsNYC

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2012, 10:36:46 PM »
I agree with you completely.

In fact, once I was proposing a Secret Santa among my siblings (we live far apart and seldom buy gifts anymore) AND our kids, so that you'd have from, oh, Easter until Christmas to gather intel on the person.

The idea was going to be that you have to listen closely, and get involved in email exchanges, watch their Facebook page, etc.

I don't know why you can't be completely honest with everyone.

Say, "The thing I like about the gift exchange is the amount of thought that the givers put into it. That's what makes it fun, and that's what makes me feel closer to all of you. It's not really fun to receive a present that I picked out myself--I can go do that, all on my own. Maybe it'se selfish of me, but I was hoping I'd get a present that says one of you spent at least 45 minutes trying to think about me, and what I like. Even if a present turns out to not be useful after all, I always feel closer to the person who gave it to me, because I could tell how much thought they put into it.
    "And it's no fun to *give* a present that doesn't involve some level of thinking about you. I like the process of listening close to conversations and watching Facebook walls in order to come up with something that I hope you'll like.
    "In fact, when I hear comments about how 'little work' someone will have to do, it makes me think that giving me a present is a chore. And that's not how I want present exchanges to be. So if this is going to be about 'making it easy,' and we're simply going to swap shopping lists, then I'm going to bail on the Secret Santa."

I love 'wish lists' when they're done right--as I define "right," of course ;).  In my family, the gift lists are usually quite long--they have at least 4 times as many gifts as you might actually receive (4 parent/sib units, so 16 ideas), and many times there are even more. They are sometimes specific but usually very general. Sometimes they are lists of what you already have ("I have these 6 Agatha Christie books already, but you can buy me any of the others").
   In our family, they always left you a LOT of room to improvise. And nobody ever expected to receive ANY of those things--they were just there *in case* you ran out of YOUR OWN ideas.

I'll also say that gifts not on "the registry" are often the ones that make a slightly bigger splash. Definitely, you are completely polite to get some stuff not on the wish list. And you watch this year--those will be things people will be more interested in. (Feel free to comment on how fun they seemed to find it.)

I'll certainly run the risk of receiving a gift I don't like in exchange for the serendipity of getting a *purple* shirt from my SIL (sister-in-love--they're not married). I'd never have picked that color, but she did--and now I love purple! I never realized how good i look in that color! And gifts are the only place this might actually happen nowadays.


I think you should do a Pinterest wish list. And put lots of "example" type stuff on there.

Lady Snowdon

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2012, 11:02:17 PM »

Say, "The thing I like about the gift exchange is the amount of thought that the givers put into it. That's what makes it fun, and that's what makes me feel closer to all of you. It's not really fun to receive a present that I picked out myself--I can go do that, all on my own. Maybe it'se selfish of me, but I was hoping I'd get a present that says one of you spent at least 45 minutes trying to think about me, and what I like. Even if a present turns out to not be useful after all, I always feel closer to the person who gave it to me, because I could tell how much thought they put into it.
    "And it's no fun to *give* a present that doesn't involve some level of thinking about you. I like the process of listening close to conversations and watching Facebook walls in order to come up with something that I hope you'll like.
    "In fact, when I hear comments about how 'little work' someone will have to do, it makes me think that giving me a present is a chore. And that's not how I want present exchanges to be. So if this is going to be about 'making it easy,' and we're simply going to swap shopping lists, then I'm going to bail on the Secret Santa."


I have to say, hearing something like this would be one of the most anxiety-inducing comments ever, for me.  I spend hours every year thinking about what people would like, running it by people who know them to see if they agree, re-thinking if the idea doesn't work, etc.  Having a wishlist makes things that much easier; I still spend a great deal of time thinking about what to get someone, but at least with a wishlist I have some sort of idea or platform to go off of, instead of just going blind.  I don't want to spend my money and time getting a present for someone that they don't like or won't use; the whole point of giving them a gift, I think, is to get them something that they'd like and use. 

I buy for some people where I honestly don't know what they like or don't like.  I've mentioned before that a lot of my in-laws are hard to buy for.  If my sister in law hadn't told me "I'm looking for some new books to read" when I asked her for ideas, I wouldn't have thought of giving her books at all.  I think she's maybe mentioned books three times in the past 10 years that I've known her.  I had no idea my brother in law liked Chipotle until he mentioned a gift card there would be great. 

kareng57

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2012, 12:22:32 AM »

Say, "The thing I like about the gift exchange is the amount of thought that the givers put into it. That's what makes it fun, and that's what makes me feel closer to all of you. It's not really fun to receive a present that I picked out myself--I can go do that, all on my own. Maybe it'se selfish of me, but I was hoping I'd get a present that says one of you spent at least 45 minutes trying to think about me, and what I like. Even if a present turns out to not be useful after all, I always feel closer to the person who gave it to me, because I could tell how much thought they put into it.
    "And it's no fun to *give* a present that doesn't involve some level of thinking about you. I like the process of listening close to conversations and watching Facebook walls in order to come up with something that I hope you'll like.
    "In fact, when I hear comments about how 'little work' someone will have to do, it makes me think that giving me a present is a chore. And that's not how I want present exchanges to be. So if this is going to be about 'making it easy,' and we're simply going to swap shopping lists, then I'm going to bail on the Secret Santa."


I have to say, hearing something like this would be one of the most anxiety-inducing comments ever, for me.  I spend hours every year thinking about what people would like, running it by people who know them to see if they agree, re-thinking if the idea doesn't work, etc.  Having a wishlist makes things that much easier; I still spend a great deal of time thinking about what to get someone, but at least with a wishlist I have some sort of idea or platform to go off of, instead of just going blind.  I don't want to spend my money and time getting a present for someone that they don't like or won't use; the whole point of giving them a gift, I think, is to get them something that they'd like and use. 

I buy for some people where I honestly don't know what they like or don't like.  I've mentioned before that a lot of my in-laws are hard to buy for.  If my sister in law hadn't told me "I'm looking for some new books to read" when I asked her for ideas, I wouldn't have thought of giving her books at all.  I think she's maybe mentioned books three times in the past 10 years that I've known her.  I had no idea my brother in law liked Chipotle until he mentioned a gift card there would be great.


I have to agree.  For me, this would seem to be a horrible lecture as to what "my family" is doing wrong.

Hey, my family-of-origin did (still does, really) gift-lists and I still don't like it.  But - you deal with it.  Either you (generic) give a very generic wish-list, or do not provide a list and are prepared to graciously accept anything.  But you can't say "I don't do lists!" and then be upset with what you get.