Author Topic: Not supplying a wish list - rude?  (Read 4102 times)

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gollymolly2

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2012, 01:36:35 AM »
Yes, but there's a difference between wish lists that are conducive to thoughtful gift buying and wish lists that turn gift buying into chores. "I could use some new books - I love historical fiction; or some jigsaw puzzles, or a recipe book for crockpots" vs. "I want the new Lincoln biography and the new Rihanna cd." The first still allows some choosing/decision making, but the second doesn't.

So I can see why receiving and being asked for the second kind of wish list can be kind of deflating.

Having said that, though, I think Toots' warning would be too over the top. Even if I agreed with it it would sound like a lecture.

So I recommend sending a general wish list out and just ignoring any commentary. And maybe opt out next year.

saki

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2012, 08:33:31 AM »
Quote
the whole point of giving them a gift, I think, is to get them something that they'd like and use.

I think this goes to the heart of it.  There's been a fair bit of chat in the office about wishlists and things as it's coming up to Christmas and those in favour of wishlists seem (to me) to miss the point a bit in that what I want is not to choose my own present, what I want is a surprise.  Insisting on my choosing exactly what I want means that I don't get what I want.

I completely get that I may end up with something that I merely like rather than love, or even something that I hate.  But that's a risk that I'm perfectly happy to take.  I can buy myself some stuff off Amazon any time. 

I think I'll see how it goes this year.  If whoever has got me uses my Amazon list anyway (based on the link I sent last year), I think I will just opt out next year, the problem will be finding a way to do it that doesn't sound rude/lecturey but just gets across that I clearly don't fit in with how the majority want to handle it so I'd rather not do it.

camlan

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2012, 10:11:45 AM »

I think this goes to the heart of it.  There's been a fair bit of chat in the office about wishlists and things as it's coming up to Christmas and those in favour of wishlists seem (to me) to miss the point a bit in that what I want is not to choose my own present, what I want is a surprise.  Insisting on my choosing exactly what I want means that I don't get what I want.

This is the message you have to get across to your family.

"Surprise me! No, really, I mean it. I love surprises. What I really want for Christmas is a surprise gift. I could use anything from category Y and these two shops have things in my style, but those are just suggestions. What I really want is to get a box on Christmas morning and have no clue what might be inside it. Really. Truly. Cross my heart. My wish list is one item. Surprise me. Well, no puppy dogs or baby seals, please. But other than that, the sky's the limit."

Focus on the surprise element. Not the wish list or lack thereof. Not on the thought you'd like them to put into it. Not the meaning a gift has for you.

You want a surprise. Ask them for that.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


MariaE

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2012, 10:42:32 AM »
Camlan's suggestion is good. As long as you still offer suggestions or some general ideas you're fine. I do think that saying "surprise me" and nothing else is rude. Some people (myself included) just aren't good at picking up hints. It's got nothing to do with not caring or being lazy - it's just an ability we lack. Giving general ideas like "A book is always nice, or I love the stuff they have at that store" is all I need, but if people don't even give me that? They're gonna get a gift certificate for Amazon. The idea of giving them something useless paralyzes me, so I'd rather go with safe but generic any day.
 
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Drawberry

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2012, 07:21:29 PM »
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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.

I certainly wouldn't feel too thrilled with receiving such an email myself. Even though it's considered 'tradition' at this point to do so that doesn't make any less 'gimmie pig'. If you know the sorts of things each individual would like I see no reason why you are obligated to follow something you are inherently against. No more then someone is obligated to buy from a wedding registry or baby registry at the mall.

If you feel like your efforts would be 'wasted' on these individuals you are perfectly within your rights to chose to 'click and buy' as SIL so seems to desire you do. I am sure you know other people of whom your efforts would be appreciated and can be concentrated in that direction.

People should not expect others to take a written map down gift lane, gifts are not ways to receive something so one does not  have to pay for it themselves (Unless the gift giver specifically does this knowing the individual would otherwise be unable to own or participate in this gift).It's suppose to be something a loved one bestows upon us as an act of affection, something this individual gives us under the knowledge (or belief) that we would enjoy or put good use of this. It is not a right or an expectation, it's a courtesy.

When gift receiving becomes and expectation or a right it is not longer a gift, it's something we wrangle other people into getting us to avoid the cost ourselves.

Perhaps you could avoid the website all together, simply send out an email with everyone's address included and provide the simple list you feel comfortable with providing (since it seems a lack of a list will not be accepted) and leave it at that.

While I certainly had no issues with my first 'wish list dealings', it seems like your family is abusing it's usefulness because they are more concerned with receiving precisely what they desire. Which does not seem to be anything heartfelt and meaningful.

Veronica

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2012, 08:08:24 PM »
I have an Amazon wish list and if people ask for ideas for what to gift me I point them in that direction. 

I have what seems like a million people to buy for this year.  DH's family gets especially hard for me.  A lot of them I know, but I've never seen their houses, I know their interests but I don't know what they already have etc.  We also are not independently wealthy so I don't have an extra $500 in our budget to get a $25-$50 gift for each person.  I organize a secret Santa exchange for his siblings and their spouses for this reason. 

I guess I just don't feel like I have the free time to worry about getting the perfect gift for everyone.  I have my SIL this year.  I could probably come up with a decent gift on my own but I'd much, much prefer having some idea as to exactly what she wants.  I appreciate anyone who tells me what it is they want. 

Florida

Garden Goblin

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2012, 09:18:42 AM »
I like wish lists for the kids because I tend not to know what it is they already have.  For that reason, it's also helpful for relatives I know and like well enough to get a gift, but don't actually get to visit at their home very often.

But I don't view wish lists as 'must be these exact items'.  I view them mostly as 'these are the kinds of things I'm interested in, if you are getting me a gift, something like these would be good choices'.

Eden

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2012, 12:32:52 PM »
I agree with those who say you are not obligated to provide a specifically itemized wishlist nor buy from someone else's wishlist. I do think providing some general ideas is kind for those who are stumped about what to get.

I usually provide some combination of specific and general wish list, but I'm also really easy to buy for.

I've just begun the yearly chore of trying to pry some gift ideas from my husband because everyone asks me for ideas for him and he's impossible, not because he is difficult to please, but because he has very few hobbies and interests that make for easy gift-giving. I barely can come up with any ideas for ME to buy for him, let alone enough to provide to others. He says, "I don't need anything. No need to buy me gifts." My response is, "Well, people ARE going to buy you gifts and you're extremely difficult to buy for so suck it up and help them out!"

Drawberry

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2012, 03:49:22 PM »
But I don't view wish lists as 'must be these exact items'.  I view them mostly as 'these are the kinds of things I'm interested in, if you are getting me a gift, something like these would be good choices'.

To me this is the perfect usage of a 'wish list'.

If someone asks "Drawberry, what are some things you would like for X holiday/event/etc. I would like some ideas" I would feel comfortable providing such a 'list' and saying; "These are the kinds of things I am interested in, what sizes I may wear and colors I like, if you are getting me a gift something like these would be really appreciated"

I would never send someone an Amazon.com wish-list totaling up to the amount of money expected to be spent on me and say: "These are what I want. They equal X amount you said you where spending."

It is my firm belief that how the gift giver is treated and the kind of expectations the receiver has that makes all the difference. This is regardless of whether or not a 'wish list' is physically written or verbally expressed.

Lynn2000

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2012, 06:00:52 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.

Sorry if I am being too literal, but at the beginning of your post I got the impression that the idea was to buy a single, more expensive present for someone. But later you mention buying several, less expensive presents for the same person. To me this makes a difference because I think it takes more effort to come up with multiple presents for one person (especially someone you may not know well) than to come up with a single present. If the idea is to get multiple presents for one person, I think it's much more reasonable to ask for/want wish lists--it's not just a matter of having one, carefully thought-out idea, someone has to come up with several carefully thought-out ideas, and that may seem too overwhelming to people.

Disclaimer: I love wish lists. I always make one on Amazon every year. But, I always tell people that they don't HAVE to buy from the wish list, I'm happy to receive anything at all. I love gifts (both getting and giving) but I know they can make some other people anxious, and a wish list might help me to reduce their anxiety. For example, my mom feels that I'm difficult to buy gifts for, and she relies heavily on my wish list for gifts.

On the other hand, my friend Amy also loves wish lists. But woe befall you if you dare to get her something original, that was not on her list. I have heard her crab about that so much (regarding gifts from other people) that I don't dare deviate from her list myself. It's not as much fun for me to get her gifts--not because of her wish list, but because of her attitude about the wish list and gifts.

I think the general suggestions you mentioned ARE a wish list, just not an item-specific, Amazon wish list. If you emailed your general suggestions to the group (the same way they emailed the link to their Amazon wish lists to the group), I don't think anyone could reasonably accuse you of being rude or difficult. After all, if you told them the name of a store you liked, someone could just get you a gift card there, perhaps even buy it online, and that would be very little work for them (if they get anxious about giving gifts, for example).

As a side note, you can set up a wish list on Amazon that has ONLY general things on it. There's a box where you can type in something like "a red scarf" (that's one of their own examples, I think). You get a link to hand out to people, they get a list of items, and when they click on "a red scarf" in your list, it's like they typed "red scarf" into Amazon's search engine, and all kinds of red scarves sold by Amazon come up. Then they can pick the one they want to buy. So, if they like the convenience of buying things from Amazon, perhaps you could set up a general wish list like this for them.

However, I think you are perfectly fine to not provide an item-specific wish list, or to use Amazon at all. I think you are perfectly fine to not buy SIL items from her wish list, if you have original ideas for her gift. People have different comfort levels with buying gifts; some like wish lists, some don't. I think people are rude when they pressure others to conform to their ideas about gifts.

ETA: TYPO, grrr.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 08:09:32 PM by Lynn2000 »
~Lynn2000

Yvaine

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2012, 06:08:03 PM »
As a side note, you can set up a wish list on Amazon that has ONLY general things on it. There's a box where you can type in something like "a red scarf" (that's one of their own examples, I think). You get a link to hand out to people, they get a list of items, and when they click on "a red scarf" in your list, it's like they typed "red scarf" into Amazon's search engine, and all kinds of red scarves sold by Amazon come up. Then they can pick the one they want to buy. So, if they like the convenience of buying things from Amazon, perhaps you could set up a general wish list like this for them.

What a cool feature! I had no idea. I wonder if I could set one up for "cute owl stuff."

TootsNYC

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2012, 06:27:08 PM »
I agree with those who say you are not obligated to provide a specifically itemized wishlist nor buy from someone else's wishlist. I do think providing some general ideas is kind for those who are stumped about what to get.

I usually provide some combination of specific and general wish list, but I'm also really easy to buy for.

I've just begun the yearly chore of trying to pry some gift ideas from my husband because everyone asks me for ideas for him and he's impossible, not because he is difficult to please, but because he has very few hobbies and interests that make for easy gift-giving. I barely can come up with any ideas for ME to buy for him, let alone enough to provide to others. He says, "I don't need anything. No need to buy me gifts." My response is, "Well, people ARE going to buy you gifts and you're extremely difficult to buy for so suck it up and help them out!"

Food! Fancy beer/wine!

Another note about the Amazon list--I think you can add notes, too, so that if there's a specific, oh, clothing rack you want because of its size, or something, you can say that. or you can say, "Or anything like this."

Eden

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2012, 02:13:24 PM »
I couldn't help thinking of this thread the other day when my BIL sent his and his wife's wish lists to me and my MIL.

Background: My in-laws give in great quantity and monetary value. I expect to receive anywhere between 5-10 gifts from them and it would not be unheard of if some of those items were in the triple digits in cost. My husband and I typically spend a max of $50 on a gift for BIL's wife who is notoriously picky and her dislike of unwanted gifts is only thinly veiled.

So back to the wish list: BIL's wife had (other than a short list of stores to which she'd like gift certificates) exactly 5 very specific items on her list (e.g., This Blouse at this Link in this Size and Color). Not one item cost less than $75. Not only is there no way I would spend that amount on her, but my in-laws need more ideas than that. I emailed my husband essentially that and he said, "Gift card, less than $75 :)" The best part is that a few hours later I got another email from BIL with the subject line "Another idea for Wife." I thought, "Excellent. Glad they realized their mistake." The idea? $175 boots.

EMuir

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2012, 02:23:03 PM »
I have some friends who I used to spend much more time with, and we get together a few times a year plus for Christmas. We have a lot of shared history and have a great time together, but we don't know each others' interests as well as we once did. So we give out Christmas lists.  We are all polite and the lists contain a variety of gifts and suggestions, down to some exact gifts.  Or you can buy off-list.  But it really helps to figure out a gift to get that won't end up tossed.

violinp

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Re: Not supplying a wish list - rude?
« Reply #29 on: December 03, 2012, 02:37:45 PM »
My family is made up of people who don't like to guess at what books, etc. each other wants, so they want a specific wishlist, with links and everything. It doesn't bother me one bit, because I'm kinda that way too - yes, someone may want a red scarf, but would they appreciate the cotton one over the cashmere? Or, they do like sci - fi movies, but are they okay with Syfy channel original movies, or do they want something more sophisticated? In other words, I need direct guidance, because I don't want to screw everything up.

That isn't to say that I don't appreciate gifts I didn't (exactly) ask for. For instance, almost all of the fancy jewelry I have I got for Christmas from my dad, unasked - for. I cherish that jewelry very much. And the best Christmas gift I ever got was when I asked for a hardcover copy of my favorite book, because my paperback was falling apart, and my dad got a hardcover copy...that was also first edition, limited edition, and signed by the author. I think that was the only time I ever cried with happiness from a gift.

If you don't like wishlists and don't want to give them or buy off of them, that's not rude - more power to the givers who can find something amazing without a list to guide them. However, I think a lot of people do them not because they don't want to put thought in a gift (although some people do feel that way), but because they want to make certain that the recipient of the gift will love the gift they're given.
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