Building A Better Wish List

gifting basics

Do you ever feel like Christmas gift giving is going over the top? For me it got to the point where I felt like I was buying and buying and buying but it was not satisfying. It felt hollow to just pile on another present that is nice but not really necessary. 

Plus, how many gifts do your kids really use after they open them anyway? My son has a bunch of things in a bag from 2 years ago that he hasn’t even gone through since he unwrapped them and took them up to his room. 

It makes me sad thinking about how it seems the reason for the season isn’t as much about spending time with family as it is about spending money. I feel like many businesses are pushing the wrong messages here. 

Last year, as a family we thought about this and decided none of us wants to waste money giving gifts that aren’t useful or appreciated. We don’t think this season should be just about gifts but we agree it’s something we still want to do. Check out what we decided was the perfect solution to this dilemma:

We have agreed that there will be a stocking and four gifts each for the kids. The stockings will have useful items in them and the gifts will be themed by:

1. Something you want

If there is a crazy thing on your list that has passed the ‘I really want this test’ (of wanting it for at least a few months,) then it can be considered. It could be a soft ice cream cone maker or a new computer gizmo. Or a diamond ring, or a trip to Hawaii, or a spa weekend… Oh wait that’s my list! (Hint, hint Santa!) 

2. Something you need

Something we’ve mutually identified is practical and will improve the quality of their life. Some examples, without being specific, might include an external hard drive for their laptops, a new desk light, a suitcase or a camera bag. One might also argue that a car or a 55″ curved tv would also be something you need. But that argument for sure will not be won in this house. 

3. Something you wear

This is self explanatory. It’s almost a tradition to give clothing to the kids every year but in this case it will not include underwear or socks. It has to be something cool like a sweater, boots or maybe a coat. This could possibly even include a monthly makeup, perfume or t-shirt subscription. There are lots of cool options available these days, some of which I covered in my post about Last Minute Gift Ideas Students Won’t Actually Hate.

4. Something you read

There are so many awesome options in this category. I LOVE this one. Me – I’m easy here. Actually so are the kids between their old favourite series and new hobby books you can get some really great reads. Novels, animated novels and comics, puzzle books, coffee table books… Plus in terms of genre there has to be something for everyone on your list in considering the different themes – mystery, romance, science fiction, satire, drama, action / adventure, horror, DIY, books on collecting, educational books etc. Everything you could possibly need in fiction or non-fiction at your fingertips in store or on the web. In a pinch there’s sudoku books, magazines, or a dictionary.

Last word:

We still love this idea! It has made the kids think carefully about each category and I know whatever they get it will be useful. 

Try it yourself and avoid the ‘overwhelmed’ feeling so many people have with this sort of thing. It’s truly a sanity saver. 



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