While everyone is out there blogging about gift guides for someone else, let’s focus on the really important things about Christmas: the presents for you!
Just kidding (well, kind of)
I think it’s important to be thoughtful when asking for gifts for Christmas. My family sends out extensive emailed lists with Christmas wish lists that have tons of links. We use these wish lists as a guide for shopping. Sometimes I get an exact item that my sister requests, sometimes I get her something similar. And we don’t all stick to the list. In fact, it’s important to go off-list when shopping to make sure there are some thoughtful and useful surprises for the recipient.
I think this ad from Ebay sums up holiday gift giving and receiving pretty well 🙂
Back to the matter at hand, it’s important to craft a useful wish list so that you can both get items you want and also save money by receiving items you need that you would otherwise have to buy yourself. I often ask for items that I would like to replace something that I already have but don’t have the money to replace, or something that I would really like but would not otherwise buy for myself (considering how limited my shopping budget is). I I include items that are practical as well as some fun things for me. Giving a list of items that I actually need means that I don’t have to go out and buy those items later and it frees me up from receiving random things that I don’t need or want.
I try to be practical as well as whimsical when making my wish list. Why not have fun with it! I tend to write the list by keeping a draft email saved and adding to it whenever I run across something that I like or realize that I need. I also keep a post it note stuck inside my planner with a shopping list for myself that includes clothing and home items that I need/want. Without some direction and thoughtful contemplating I would end up with a wish list that asks for random makeup products (which I am a sucker for but don’t really need) or I would just say “oh I dunno, I don’t really need anything” which is true to an extent (yes, I am content with what I have) but it is nice to give gift givers some direction when asked. Also, think of the gift giver’s budget. Don’t ask for something crazy expensive if you know there’s no way they will buy it for you. I am a very frugal gal and so is my family so I know to keep gifts within reason (which usually means about $20-$30, unless its a special and super practical item like luggage, a rug, or a vacuum, in which case keep around $100-$200). My folks are known to splurge on a practical item like luggage but they won’t spend the same amount of money on a piece of jewelry or a gift card for a massage since that’s not nearly as useful.
Being other-centered for a moment, while I am making my wish list I concurrently keep a gift list for the people that I am shopping for. I brainstorm ideas for each person and write them down, and I also add to the list as I am out and about shopping or browsing online. Having a list keeps me organized and helps me remember who I already bought for and who is remaining. It also helps keep me on budget. Usually I set a specific budget for gifts and then divide that up and set a budget for each person. Not everyone has the same budget amount and sometimes I manipulate it because I find the perfect gift that is $10 over budget and/or I score some great deals on a gift and come in under budget. This year I spent about $20-$30 per person, give or take. Some people were over and some were under budget. I only bought most people one gift each this year (with the exception of my daughter and her cousin, and hubs). I would prefer to give many gifts per person but our budget is very small and we are having Christmas with a lot of family members so we each will receive several gifts apiece since there are 10 of us. So keeping it minimal is totally fine. Besides, now that there are kids in the family they will be the primary gift receivers anyway.
Since I’m sure you are wondering, here’s a few things on my Christmas wish list this year:
- A rug for our living room- We picked out this specific rug over a year ago at Lowes (it took forever for hubs and I to agree on a rug and he wanted to keep a bare floor anyway) but haven’t had the money to buy it. A rug is something that makes a room so cozy and comfortable but is not a necessity to life, hence whenever we had the money together to purchase it we always ended up having to spend it on something else, like a medical bill.
- A robot vacuum- I found this vacuum on Amazon with great reviews and I have heard good things about the brand before. We have two dogs and I am sweeping up dog hair daily so this would be amazing to have. Again, it’s not a necessity and definitely falls into the category of something that would be practical and awesome, but not something that I am going to buy myself.
- A blender- Ours broke last year while I was making soup for Christmas dinner. Yup. And I haven’t replaced it. Goes to show that a blender is not a necessity but it would be nice to be able to make smoothies again.
- A mustard yellow sweater- I tend to buy black sweaters so I looked in my closet and decided to ask for a sweater that is different than all the ones I already own. Super practical but also fun.
- Underwear- Yup. I don’t know when the last time I went underwear shopping was but it was literally years ago. I wear everything till it falls apart (I know, super sexy) so this is a perfect gift idea for my husband to get me.
- A new checkbook cover- Yes, I actually use a checkbook and the cover that I have was gifted to me back in college. I think it’s 10 years old and it is worn out and threadbare. Time to replace!
- A new wool jacket- Same as the checkbook cover, I received my current wool jacket as a Christmas gift from my sister about 8 years ago and it is getting worn out, particularly on the cuffs. If I don’t get a new jacket for Christmas I will probably look into how to repair the cuffs and see how many more years of wear I can get out of it. I really like it and the lining is in great shape still.
- A couple of parenting books that I would like to read
- Eye cream- I am running low and I definitely need it
- A 2018 day planner- Since I am old school and still use planners
- Gift certificate for a massage- A classic gift because it is a luxury item I would not buy myself
So there you have it. This is my super-practical Christmas wish list. If I get zero of these items that is totally okay with me. I can go without all of them if they aren’t in the budget (except the underwear, that needs to be purchased). I enjoy making a wish list because it allows me to think about the things in my life that are worn out and should be replaced, things that would make my life easier, and things I flat out would enjoy. It’s a fun window shopping exercise and allows me to get some research done to plan purchases that I may choose to make in the coming year.
What do you put on your holiday wish list? How do you tell your family what you want?