S/O How do you feel about gift lists? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-15-2009, 01:44 PM
 
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I think unsolicited gift lists are tacky, but if my mom asks me what I would like for Christmas, I don't have a problem giving her a few ideas. I've never gone so far as to actually write down a list.

If I ask someone else what they would like, I appreciate it when they have a couple of ideas to share, but I wouldn't like it if a list came to my email box unsolicited in the middle of November.
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Old 11-15-2009, 01:58 PM
 
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I love them, but I only give them out to people who ask for them. I love having them to buy someone something off of, because I would much rather buy them something that I am certain they're going to like than take a chance on something else.

We can put as much thought as possible into buying gifts for others, but that doesn't mean that they have to like them.

It just seems like a no-brainer to me - why wouldn't you want to be guaranteed that a gift recipient will enjoy their gift? And if someone asks you to give them a list, they're doing so because they truly care about getting you/your child something that you/they really want - and I can tell you as a giver it makes things so much easier.
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Old 11-15-2009, 02:06 PM
 
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That type of list would drive me crazy, lol, but it looks like your DS is fairly young. I guess I'm more used to buying legos for my 16 year old nephew who is a Lego connoisseur. And even if someone said "pajamas" I would want sizes and fabric preferences.
Well, I DO give sizes. LOL. Otherwise it would be a bit hard to buy for someone. For example, this year (well, pretty much every year), I told MIL that both DS and DH need new pajamas and I told her DS's size. For DH she can guess as well as I can. I also mentioned that DS is really into matching Daddy these days, so if she found matching ones that bonus.

As for the Legos thing, DS doesn't have any Legos (only Duplos), so I could tell her that any set would work, just to stick with the ones for younger kids. I could see how in the future if DS already had some sets it would be more complicated. Same with the Playmobil thing.
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Old 11-15-2009, 06:24 PM
 
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Such a great thread! It is so interesting to see everyone's opinions on this topic!

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Old 11-15-2009, 06:51 PM
 
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They irk me. For weddings or showers, great, b/c I understand that I have some sort of social obligation to help outfit the members of my community. But for children's Christmas presents, it bugs me--I have no obligation to get anyone any gift, let alone some specific thing. If the parent wants it so badly, they should buy it themselves.

The recent thread combined w/ my brother's Amazon wish list has this on my mind. My brother and SIL make a very big deal of things ONLY coming off their list and I find it so annoying--why not just send them a check, y/k? Because getting out my cc and checking a box involves zero thought about my nephews, their personalities, my toy experiences, etc. We've gotten dud toys from relatives/friends (MIL's dressy clothes obsession comes to mind ). The gifter gets a sincere thank you from us for the thought involved and then we deal w/ the gift privately.

Rant over! What do you think?

I only give a list if someone requests one. If not, we are happy with DD having whatever gift someone chose to purchase for her. I also think it leaves a bad message to kids leading them to believe on their birthday or Christmas others are expected to get them what they wish. Please!

My FIL always asks us to send him a list for DD. She's only 18 months old so I always choose a few items that are $20 and under and gift it to him but not without telling him she'll appreciate whatever her grandpa decides to give her.

DH's 10 year old nephew has a habit of haranguing us about his Christmas gift and it's always something expensive like a new Playstation of Xbox. I always tell him, "we have your gift already. You should give your list to your mom and dad."
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Old 11-15-2009, 06:55 PM
 
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I like them. I don't know what someone has already or what their kids are into. I like having an idea. I also create a wishlist for DS, mainly to trigger my own memory, but everybody asks me anyway, so I can just email it to them.

I don't really understand all the animosity toward a wishlist. If you are very close to someone and already know what they have and/or like, you don't really need one, but nowadays families are spread out and not as close as we might like.
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Old 11-15-2009, 06:57 PM
 
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I don't mind general gift lists especially if you are stuck. What I do mind is that attitude and obligation that may come behind them. We do them for my dad because other get something like a waffle fork, oven gloves (those have come in handy) or salt and pepper shakers (yes, those are actual gifts). My mother broached this subject with him years ago. He is getting better in the last year or so. If we get wacky gifts it is the thought that counts. I give family ideas for my little girl at their request to avoid doubling up. I use the opportunity to give them particularly younger members ideas of age appropriate gifts or if their is something she needs like we got car seats from her grandparents for her first birthday. However this year we are doing a draw. I got a very specific list from the person I got. Three things in priority order. Their expectation is they get one or two of these things. With them there is no choice.
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Old 11-15-2009, 07:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Breathless Wonder View Post
I love wish lists!

I hate wasting my money on things people don't want, don't like, or can't use. And I don't enjoy receiving gifts that waste other people's money because we don't like them, or can't use them.

I would rather actually get no gift at all.

I know I'm probably going to get flamed for being ungrateful. I do appreciate the thought behind a gift, if it is evident that thought was given, but I find many people give gifts at the holidays because they feel obligated to. Frequently these gifts are whatever was cheapest on sale, or it is a generic household/girl/boy/woman/man gift (like a doll, or a truck, a scarf, or a wallet), it is something they are regifting that they didn't want, or just grabbed because they themselves would have liked it without any thought to what the giftee would like. I find that quite frustrating.
I totally agree. I would rather not get a gift at all and just get to spend time with the family. Gifts are nice, if it's something you want/need. However there is one member of my family who ALWAYS brings gifts when she visits or when we visit her. While I appreciate the thought, usually it's not stuff we want or need, and most of it is stuff to be "displayed" which is very contrary to our low-maintenance/cat and kid-proof style. So most of it ends up packed away somewhere. I have for her time and money to be wasted, so I'd rather she just not give gifts. but I do appreciate that gifts are how she shows her love for us.

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Old 11-15-2009, 11:05 PM
 
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I see your point on fabric (though I don't feel the same way) - but sizes? Sizes I would think would be a piece of information that must be shared if clothing is requested. If the size is wrong, then the whole gift goes in the trash. If the fabric or color wasn't what the recipient would have chosen for himself/herself that's one thing, but the wrong size makes the gift garbage.

Also, for teens and adults, the wrong size is almost always seen as an insult. If you get a size that's too large, the recipient will usually think "great, so you think I'm fat, thanks a lot." If you get a size that's too small, the recipient will usually think "what is this, a hint? I need to lose weight? Thanks a lot."
Well sure, I'd share size info if asked.

But no, I don't take it as an insult if someone guesses my size wrong, especially since having "the size" does not mean anything across stores or even just with particular items of clothing. I'm anything from a 10 to a 14 depending on the brand, and sometimes a medium and sometimes a large.

I don't know... maybe I'm strange but I really don't obsess that people are trying to tell me to lose weight with their gifts or anything like that.

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Old 11-16-2009, 06:45 AM
 
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I am neutral on them. I detest making them for myself, because honestly there is not often there is something that I WANT want want, and I like surprises. I actually secretly adore horribly tacky and inappropriate crappy gifts, because they make me very popular at white elephant gift exchanges. I don't get those too often though. My most reliable bizarre and mortifying gift bestower tends to give me gift cards now.

As for other people having them, how religiously I follow them is highly dependent on the person who made them. If it's someone I KNOW will get extremely bent out of shape if anything crosses their threshold that is not pre-approved, then because I love them, I will dutifully follow it. The point is to make them happy, right? I will freely admit to being an ass on a regular basis, but I try not to do it ALL the time, KWIM? If it's someone I don't know well or has very different non-intuitive interests from me I like them as guidelines, and would probably follow them unless I found something based on that list that screamed THEM to me. (perhaps I have had a not small number of gifts end up at the White Elephant exchanges, myself. ) If it's someone who I know has been badgered into this by their family/friends/ect. then I don't bother looking most of the time.
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Old 11-16-2009, 12:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Breathless Wonder View Post
I love wish lists!

I hate wasting my money on things people don't want, don't like, or can't use. And I don't enjoy receiving gifts that waste other people's money because we don't like them, or can't use them.

I would rather actually get no gift at all.

I know I'm probably going to get flamed for being ungrateful. I do appreciate the thought behind a gift, if it is evident that thought was given, but I find many people give gifts at the holidays because they feel obligated to. Frequently these gifts are whatever was cheapest on sale, or it is a generic household/girl/boy/woman/man gift (like a doll, or a truck, a scarf, or a wallet), it is something they are regifting that they didn't want, or just grabbed because they themselves would have liked it without any thought to what the giftee would like. I find that quite frustrating.
I don't really see the correlation between thoughtless gift giving and giving a gift that wasn't on a list. Thoughtless people will usually manage to be thoughtless whether you give them a list or not.

ETA: To answer the OP, growing up my family never did wish lists, and I was really uncomfortable with the idea when I first married DH and his family expected wish lists. I've grown accustomed to it with them now, but I still prefer my family's way of doing it.

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Old 11-16-2009, 10:19 PM
 
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I like to give (and get) general ideas... for example this year we are going to tell people that DS is REALLY into trains. We'll let them go from there.

my SIL always sends out a list, and it's kind of tradition to get something off that list. A few years ago, they got my DH some Monty Python themed stuff... he actually got a kick out of it... but someone still said something to the effect of "you can't complain if you don't give us a list." (nobody complained or made any sign of being unenthusiastic about the gifts--so I never figured that out) ANYWAY... what irks me is that I will see something that really makes me think of one of the kids or my SIL and I'll mention it to DH and say, "I really think so and so would like this. What do you think?" And his response is "well, ask her." Ummmm... no. I'm either going to get it for them or I'm not. I don't feel like I should have to ask someone's permission to buy them a gift.

And on the converse, I am typically genuinely grateful and enthusiastic about gifts that I receive. Because I can usually tell that the giver put a lot of thought into it.

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Old 11-17-2009, 11:55 AM
 
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I don't have a lot of experience with an actual list...because people in my DH's family actually tell you what *one* specific gift to buy (mostly for the children, but also for adults sometimes, too). So there is no free will in choosing gifts for his family and it drives me INSANE. I think it's kind of rude and takes all of the fun out of gift-giving. Yeah, I get that people want certain things and don't want to receive things they don't want/need...but I like to choose gifts thoughtfully, especially for kids, rather than get another bratz doll or whatever other junk they've ordered up. Why not just give them a check in that case? To me, it's just as impersonal. It's fun to pick out toys or books, maybe give them something they wouldn't ordinarily choose or think of, and just maybe, maybe they would enjoy it.

Of course, if people ask us for ideas for DD, we are happy to share them, but I certainly wouldn't expect anyone to be bound by the "list" we'd shared.

Sarah, with 3.5 yo DD Charlotte + brand new baby Eleanor Jane April 28, 2010
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Old 11-17-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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We create Amazon wish lists to give the family ideas of what to get. They live far away and don't really know what our kids like/need/would use. Same with me and my nieces and nephews. I have no idea what to get them. I live on another continent. I have no problem if someone gets something different, but I rather have a useful gift than have to go behind someones back and regift or donate.

My in laws are forever giving us stuff we don't use and we say thanks and do what we want with it. But it would be easier and nicer if they would ask for an idea or two. They give dd gifts that fit their idea of what she should like or how she should dress, not what might actually be useful for her or our lifestyle.

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Old 11-17-2009, 04:04 PM
 
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Edited to add that I think the problem is not with gift lists themselves, it's how people view their own gift lists. If somebody creates a gift list with the expectation that these are the only gifts that are acceptable, then yes, I do find that rude and inappropriate.
This is almost exactly what I was going to say, too. I love to get a list for my nieces and nephews, and often buy from it. I also know I can buy something off-list if I want to, and that's fine. Sometimes, I'll see something that just makes me go "oh, R would love this", and I buy it. The fact that she hasn't seen it on tv doesn't mean it's not an acceptable gift, yk?

Likewise, we make a wish list for the kids. My mom usually buys off it (not always). My godmother and SIL almost never do. My sister will talk to me ahead of time, because she's on a really limited budget, and will try to pick a group gift. But, if she found something else that she just loved and could afford, that's great, too, yk? Nobody is picky about having to have a particular gift. That's just not the way we roll.

When I was still exchanging with my extended family, I used to do a wish list. But, one of the reasons was to let them know that certain things were still good. Kind of like, "yes - I know I have 40 pairs of dangly earrings, but I'm always happy to get more".

Oh, and lists in our family aren't a long list of expensive stuff. In fact, we've always made a point of including a few very cheap items that we would enjoy, because we all know it can be really hard to find that perfect gift with a limited cash flow. Wish lists in my family have included Bassets licorice allsorts, eyeliners, and single paperbacks, in addition to cameras, video game consoles, etc. They're wish lists, not "you must buy this" lists. Most of us use them more as idea generators than as scripts.

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Old 11-17-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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... but I also think gift cards are tacky so
IMO, gift cards, like most things, depend on both the giver and the recipient. I have a niece who is a complete bookworm. So am I. I don't see her much, and don't visit her at home, and have no way of knowing which books she's already got. So, I give her a $30.00 gift card to Chapters. I know, from my own personal experience, that there are few things she'll enjoy as much as being turned loose in a big bookstore with money to spend on a new book. I could give her cash, but the gift I'm giving her is shopping for new books. She might do that with cash, too - but that's the gift I'm giving her. I don't see that as any different than giving her a pass to the fair or taking a young child to the zoo.

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Old 11-17-2009, 05:01 PM
 
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I LOVE gift cards. I wish I had more "tacky" friends and family.
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Old 11-17-2009, 05:07 PM
 
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I think they are the height of tacky. I might ask a person for one or two specific examples of things they need... but I never use a registry. Ick.

My IL's keep asking the kids for lists..... I have the kids send them web links to one or two items they love. For ideas. Not to beg for that particular item but because the grandparents seem impotent without a clue.
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Old 11-17-2009, 05:09 PM
 
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ANYWAY... what irks me is that I will see something that really makes me think of one of the kids or my SIL and I'll mention it to DH and say, "I really think so and so would like this. What do you think?" And his response is "well, ask her." Ummmm... no. I'm either going to get it for them or I'm not. I don't feel like I should have to ask someone's permission to buy them a gift.
It's not about asking permission to buy them a gift, your DH doesn't know if his sister would like it, and he's used to asking/using the list. Not everyone is a good gifter, they don't know by looking at something whether their giftee will like it. They don't go out into the stores and get reminded of people when they see something. This doesn't mean that they don't care about their giftees or want them to be happy, they just aren't good gifters. And it has nothing to do with how much money they want to spend. My MIL is a terrible gifter and she spends a lot of money, and she tries really hard too.
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Old 11-17-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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I like wish lists. We live far from our family and it's hard to know what to get for my nieces and nephews, because we only see them a few times a year. I love to get ideas so I know what they are into. I only make a list for DS when my mom asks for one. Since they don't see him often either they don't always know what he likes to play with. We don't expect gifts to be from our wish list, and are appreciative of whatever people choose to buy. But I don't have a problem providing them with ideas if they ask for them.

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Old 11-18-2009, 01:14 PM
 
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I like them, but for things besides wedding/baby showers, they should come about at the request of the gift giver, not something dictated by the gift receiver Except for my sister and Mom, the rest of my family has always been hard to shop for and I would rather ask them what they want so that I don't waste money on something they won't use. And my Mom loves to buy presents for people, seriously loves it definitely her #1 love language, and always wants a big list from each of us kids. I think she spends far too much, though she can afford it so I don't say much about it except that she doesn't have to get us so much stuff, but I do make her a list because again, I hate to see money wasted and it gives her ideas if nothing else.

So yeah, I think they are very useful when requested by the gift giver. Otherwise, they can easily come off as demanding gifts.

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Old 11-18-2009, 02:33 PM
 
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Gift lists are helpful. I don't mind making one for someone who asks, and I don't mind receiving one if I request it.

I also love gift cards. Almost every adult on my list this year (and last, and the year before that) are all getting gift cards to restaurants I know they love or would love to try. (also giving gift cards to bookstore, health food store and Dunkin Donuts)
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:28 PM
 
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I'm actually really wishing I had one for my brother's kids. I don't see them that much, and I really don't know what to get the two boys (8 and 10). I've had my niece covered for the last couple of years, but my nephews? I'm lost.

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