One Year: No Gift Cards, No Gift Lists

With Christmas just three days away and I in my normal last-minute scramble for gifts, I have decided to try something new. It seems to be working for this holiday season.

The idea is simple and was sparked by my friend Tiffany pointing me to this article from pointing out the best gifts are not things you ask for.

The challenge is this: Spend one year buying gifts for friends and families without resorting to asking (or seeing) a gift list or ‘buying’ a gift card.

Why? Because I found out this year, so far, I can buy things for people that may not be on their list. I enjoy opening a gift and seeing something new, not something that I asked for, and I think others do to. It seems backward sometimes, to make a list and say “buy me this”. I know it helps people who aren’t familiar with my likes and dislikes, but if someone doesn’t know me well enough to pick out a gift they think I’ll like, then it’s okay to not get me anything at all. I won’t be offended.

And thus, I have purchased gifts for nieces and a nephew almost totally at random. They might already have them. They might not like them, but that’s okay. Maybe I’ll be known as the uncle who always gets crappy gifts the kids didn’t ask for. If that’s my place in family history, so be it.

I’d rather take the time to sit and think about what my family and friends would really like than to just check things off a list. It will help at birthdays because as it goes now; the birthdayee sends out a list of things they want. The other family members email each other explaining what they got. Phone calls are made when we can’t remember ‘the list’. It’s a hassle. I’d rather think about my brothers and find something that has some meaning behind it rather than something on a list. It has more meaning, I feel.

And don’t get me started on gift cards! “Here, I took some money and turned it into plastic.” I’d rather give cash. Or as I call it, “The US Gift Certificate; good at any store or drug dealer. Even accepted in some countries worldwide.” If you have no clue what to get the person, give them a card with a time and date on it. That time and date is for the two of you to go shopping (even if you don’t like shopping, because you’ll get bonus points if the person knows you don’t like shopping). If you’re going to just give the person money because you have no clue, at least use the money as as chance to spend time together.

I’m going to try this for a year and see how it goes. I have almost made it through one major holiday so I’m thinking the rest should be a breeze.

What about you? Are you up for the challenge?

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