My aim is to kill gift lists, they suck and were created by the devil.
This post is outside of the blog's normal subject matter, but indulge me, it tis the season after all.
Gift Lists = Shopping Through Others
When you hand someone a wish-list you're asking them to buy things for you that you want.
Alright, I hear you, you're screaming,
That's the freaking point! No one wants a sweater from grandma they'll never wear!
It's a common concern but doesn't need to be. Either learn to love that sweater or find new excuses to wear it (costume parties!), but whatever you do thank your grandma for her display of love and appreciate the time and energy she put into it.
Stop killing Gift Giving Joy
A big part of gift giving is thinking about who you're gifting to and thinking hard about what to get. Something they need? Something the want? Something they would have never bought themselves but love all the same?
This process can be challenging but it's a joy all the same. Through the process you get to think of your loved one's life in a way that you rarely - if ever - take the time to do. Through the process you get to ask yourself questions like:
What makes them happy in their life?
Are they taking good care of themselves?
What would they do more often if they only had X?
How do they like to spend their spare time?
Did they lose or break something they loved this year?
This process is love! Don't kill it by handing them a list of shit you'd buy yourself if you only had a pile of cash laying around.
What Gifts Are All About
They are about the relationship between you and the giver.
They are not about you. They are not about making you the happiest kid near the Christmas tree. They are not about your desires nor your expectations.
They are an opportunity for loved ones to show they care. Don't steal that opportunity from them with a wish list you made on Amazon.
Expect Nothing, Receive Everything
Gift-sadness arises from a difference in expectations and reality. Don't expect the gift of your dreams and you won't be disappointed. Set expectations low and be pleasantly surprised when they're exceeded.
If you're feeling bad about what you were given as a gift you need to check yourself, before you wreck yourself (sorry, I couldn't help myself). Honestly, how fortunate are you to be in a situation where you can complain about that thing you got wasn't the thing you wanted.
Next Time: Don't Take the Shortcut, Fun Awaits
When someone asks to send you a list respectfully refuse. It'll be more work but it'll be more fun. If you've made a list for your loved ones already, try making it your last.
The fringe benefit here is re-establishing the joy of the mystery. Remember being a kid and not having a clue what was inside the wrapping paper? So exciting! Enjoy.