It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

by Rachel on November 12, 2010

Yesterday, Eric sent me the e-mail every girl dreams of getting.


I’m so excited to be in love at the holidays!!!!

I tried to downplay my excitement when I e-mailed him back.

(I love Sky Mall.)

Oh, you don’t like my list? Fine! I tried again….

He called me ridiculous. I told him I was kidding about everything but the headphones.

I’ll send him the real list this weekend.

Anyway, I didn’t ask him for a list because I am a really good gifter and am comfortable flying without a map. And anyway, guys are easy to shop for. Give me one occasion when cologne, sunglasses, ipods, digital cameras, DVDs, watches, magazine subscriptions, nice jeans, or blowies won’t suffice. Not possible! But I love Eric so much, I want to give him something really special. I think I’m going to choose one thing off that list…and then let him hit it in the shower.

(OK that’s a joke. He knows he has to wife me before I’d get my hair wet for him.)

Since this is my first Christmas with a serious and official Facebook boyfriend, I’m very curious to hear your thoughts on wish lists. Do you give your SO one? I mean, in all honesty, I know exactly what I want, but I also like to feel surprised on some level. I’m very curious how other people do this! Does your person ask? Do you ask for a list in return? How long is your list? Do you want everything on it, or is it just suggestions? And have you ever cried because you’ve gotten something horrible?

I know you all will have great insight into this, so please let it rip in the comments!

{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carolyn @ Lovin' Losing November 12, 2010 at 9:29 am

We had some conflict with wish lists in the beginning of our relationship. In his family it would seem rude to give someone a list of what you want. In mine, someone always asks for a list because, I mean, why would you want to give someone something they didn’t want?


2 Jessica @ How Sweet November 12, 2010 at 9:30 am

My husband is an excellent gift-giver… even at our first Christmas (we’d only been dating 3 months) I was excited because of what a great shopper he is. Let’s just say that when I first met him, I questioned his orientation. I rarely give him a list because I love to be surprised and he picks out the BEST stuff. On the other hand, I think I give good gifts too, but he has 10 years on me and has EVERYTHING. So throughout the year, I casually hint around about things he likes (without asking) and keep a mental log. I don’t think in the 4 years we’ve been together that we ever have returned something we got each other.


3 Rachel November 12, 2010 at 9:31 am

Wow!! That’s impressive!


4 maria @ Chasing the Now November 12, 2010 at 9:38 am



5 Laura Georgina November 12, 2010 at 9:32 am

He has to wife you before you get your hair wet for him! Priceless.

I do a wish list for family (well, more like a hint assault), but not with the man–and he is the BEST gift-giver ever. He always gets me exactly what I would have wanted had I known it existed or dared to ask for it, so I’m always 100% surprised and happy with what I get. Plus, he’s been great at wow gifts at all budget levels (from broke-ass students to less-broke-but-still-not-raking-in-the-G’s now).

The only problem is that I have to avoid saying that I want something, because if I’m expecting it and there’s no surprise element… I’m not getting it.


6 Sophie @ yumventures November 12, 2010 at 9:36 am

We dont give each other lists, but we do give like a “general idea” kind of thing. Like, I’ll ask him if he wants something “useful”, “playful”, or “professional”, he’ll ask me if I want something “shiny”, “fuzzy”, or “wearable”. Keeps things a surprise but you still get the general idea.

Except for last Christmas when he got me a fountain pen. Oy.


7 Gracie November 12, 2010 at 9:37 am

“I’m so excited to be in love at the holidays!!!!” <—- that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :D You're a lucky girl!


8 maria @ Chasing the Now November 12, 2010 at 9:37 am

My husband and I tried something different this year, we each made a Google doc and shared it with the other with our list and links. Easy. But he also knows I like a little surprise.


9 Rachel November 12, 2010 at 9:39 am

I love Google docs!! Eric and I have quite a few shared ones and a gift one is a good idea!

I honestly should just keep one throughout the year because I always forget the things I want, even from my family.


10 Eunice November 12, 2010 at 9:39 am

Kohy refuses to give or accept a wish list. Something about the meaning of Christmas… Anyway,the first few years were hit or miss, but I think he has the hang of it now. I still give him very obvious hints, just in case. Like you said, guys are super easy to shop for. Football jerseys and techy gadgets. Done.


11 Manon November 12, 2010 at 9:42 am

I’m fortunate to have the best dad in the world, who on top of just being awesome in general, seems to think that he is Santa Claus. So, I give my parents a list every year, and usually get everything on it. It’s ridiculous really. When it comes to boyfriends, well, when I USED to have them, I never give them a list. I guess I want to be with someone who cares about me enough to put some thought into a gift, not just pick something off a list, order it online and wait for it to show up at your doorstep. The best xmas with a boyfriend I had, he had a necklace designed for me,which was gift a plenty, but then had also gotten me a bunch of ‘smaller’ gifts that he had just picked up as he would notice me gazing longingly while we were out shopping or something. He knew I loved to open presents, so he made sure I had plenty to open, and I loved how creative he was making stupid little things like a cute spatula the best give ever….oh, AND he made me Christmas cookies which tasted horrible, but it was cute. Hard to believe he was the biggest jackass I ever met. LOL


12 Rachel November 12, 2010 at 10:02 am

Literal LOL.


13 Andrea November 12, 2010 at 9:42 am

I’m a fan of lists. I really am. But, I also tell them that they have to at least get me one present that isn’t on the list. That way, there is always an element of surprise.


14 Lisa @ I'm an Okie November 12, 2010 at 9:43 am

I’m a big fan of giving the man a wish list. He seems like a lost puppy without one sometimes!

And I’m with ya–I don’t need a wish list for him!


15 Jackie (ananda prana) November 12, 2010 at 9:44 am

How cute is that email! Luck you :)

My suggestion is… Go to the mall together while shopping for friends and family, all the while ‘oooohing’ and ‘ahhing’ over things you like. Hopefully, they get the hint ;)

My boyfriend and I are long distance, so we usually pool our money together for a visit instead of an actual Christmas present!


16 Robyn November 12, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I think that’s a really sweet idea! I’m in a long-distance relationship too, so I totally can appreciate how precious time spent together is. Way to be creative!


17 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:25 pm

I love that idea too!! I’m a big fan of trips for birthdays but I would love to do a holiday trip instead of gifts!!


18 Jennifer@ knackfornutrition November 12, 2010 at 9:47 am

I like the element of surprise. I figure the people giving me a gift are usually the ones that know me the best, so they probably can’t f@!~ up too badly. Except for long lost aunts. They fail every year. No, I do not want Kohl’s jewelry, thank you. But seriously, I’d let him know in the general area of what you want and then let him do the rest of the work. Let him sweat a little… :)


19 Alina @ Duty Free Foodie November 12, 2010 at 9:49 am

I am a terrible gift giver – I really need lists. And my boyfriend is usually not satisfied with any of the above – so picky! And I like to give lists as well, since that way I know I am getting something I want.

And also, I can’t believe there is such a thing as $2800 headphones.


20 Rachel November 12, 2010 at 10:02 am

RIGHT?! Haha seriously, I was wondering if anyone was going to comment on that…


21 Smash @ Appreciate The Now November 12, 2010 at 9:53 am

Per my tweet, you know how I feel about this. LOVE IT!


22 Becca November 12, 2010 at 9:54 am

I’m really picky to shop for…. but still like to be surprised! As impatient as I am, I love the anticipation. It’s a bad combo probably, but it is what it is!


23 Paige November 12, 2010 at 9:55 am

I also like to be surprised, so usually I try to avoid giving a wishlist (although, I too usually know what I want, so I don’t think this method really sets me up for success). Or I give a few vague ideas and say something unhelpful like, “You know what I like…”

This year, though, I asked for jewelry (and I don’t mean, like, “significant” jewelry or anything) and I was told I just had to send examples of things that I like so he’d know what sorts of things to look for.

He always refuses to give me a wishlist and is one of those people who buys most things he wants, so shopping for him is kind of pain.

We tend to fall back on the “toys of an intimate nature” category an awful lot.


24 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Bow chicka wow WOW.


25 angela November 12, 2010 at 9:58 am

After 10 years of my husband and I buying each other everything we want for birthdays and Christmases, yes, we appreciate wish lists. We don’t always buy off the list, but sometimes they can spark that just perfect idea. Not to mention, my husband’s last 2 birthday gifts, a $2000 drawing tablet and a 2011 Ford Mustang… I’m just out of ideas, I can’t top that anymore so he’d better tell me what he wants!

We keep lists on amazon year round. That way other family can find them and shop from them, and when it comes to us needing ideas for each other, at least it’s something to think about. He almost NEVER buys off of my list, but it’s usually looking at my list that gives him the ideas.


26 Rachel November 12, 2010 at 10:02 am

Umm…I’d like to be married to you around my birthday!!


27 Leah November 12, 2010 at 10:54 am

I keep an amazon list as well! It works out fabulously! I just have to remember not to be putting anything scandalous on it since my Mom frequently scopes it out. That would be… awkward.


28 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I keep Amazon lists for what I want to buy for other people!!


29 Lauren at KeepItSweet November 12, 2010 at 10:00 am

we used to do regular gifts but in recent years we do things where we spend time together, last year we signed up for a personal trainer together which i think we are doing again


30 Rachel November 12, 2010 at 10:02 am

I like that idea a lot!


31 Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks November 12, 2010 at 10:10 am

While I kind of hate Christmas, I really, really like buying gifts for people. For me, while stressful, I find the act of figuring out the perfect gift for someone really fun. I enjoy their shock and surprise when they open their gifts…especially if I really got it right. Due to this, I never ask for a list….my SO despises Christmas, so asking him for a list would just involve him saying, “Don’t get me anything and I won’t get you anything.”

I totally want something, so that is out.

He has never asked me what I want either.

Due to that and him hating Christmas, I’ve wound up with: Random generic presents like tea and or fruit preserves. I laughed so hard. I was like, “What, are we 80 already?” I’ve also wound up with handmade keychains and money. I’m a dork, so I found the handmade keychain (the ID picture from the corner of an expired credit card cut out and hot glued to a casino poker chip keychain) quite endearing, and as we were at a casino it was appropriate. The money wasn’t bad either. He isn’t stingy.

Thing is, if you really want something that you love, tell him specifically what to get you. Most men suck at gifts. If you want to be surprised (or amused) by what he shows up to dinner with in December, tell him to wing it and you’ll love anything he gives you.


32 Julia November 12, 2010 at 10:13 am

My boyfriend and I have been together for 4.5 years, so we’ve had plenty of holidays. Sometimes he asks what I want; if he asks, I tell him exactly what to get me. There have been a couple of occasions where we order it online with me doing everything except paying. This is what usually happens for Christmas. For other holidays (birthdays, anniversary, v-day) he surprises me. I like this arrangement because I get what I want for Christmas, and on the holidays that are more special and less commercial I get something meaningful from him.


33 Alyssa November 12, 2010 at 10:15 am

Thankfully my boyfriend is an AMAZING gift-giver and always knows exactly what I would want without ever really tell him. We both tend to pay attention to each others’ “wants” throughout the year for ideas (for example, he’d see like a shirt in a store and he’d almost get it but won’t. I would get him that down the road). Plus he’s the most grateful person in the world and appreciates everything so he’s easy. I also completely trust him in picking out my gifts so I’ve never really had to tell him what I wanted. Maybe I’ve dropped a few hints here and there (hello huge Coach purse with matching wallet…last Christmas). I’m fairly lucky in that respect. I also completely trust him to pick out my future engagement ring which I want no part of whatsoever haha but that’s a different subject for another day.


34 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Oh that IS a different subject for a different day…that will be a day in the future for me. The short version: I think the element of surprise is SO important in that case, but a lot of people say you may think you like a ring or style of rings but you really need to try it on to be sure it looks good on your hand.

I have a lot of girlfriends who are going to have to jump in to assist when the time comes for all of that though!!


35 Melanie November 12, 2010 at 10:16 am

I’ve never exchanged lists, but one time I did cry because my boyfriend bought me a kitchen knife for Christmas. Seriously. A KNIFE. And not even a particularly nice one.


36 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:28 pm

LOL. I love kitchen gadgets but if it’s a gift from a boyfriend, it has to be like a really exceptional kitchen gadget.


37 Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle November 12, 2010 at 10:20 am

The first year is the year for surprises. After that, it’s all list baby. Unless he gives you a really GREAT gift the first year on his own, in which case you’re a lucky bitch and you need to marry him. But guys that give great gifts are rare. So take him for a christmas test drive, and if he passes then stick with the surprises, but if he fails, go for the list next year.

Case in point…first birthday the boy and I were together, I let him pick it out himself. He bought me a coach bag. Sounds great right? Oh no. I saw the box and got excited. Then I opened the box and wanted to cry. It was a denim barrel coach bag. Awful awful. And then I had to carry it around for months like I loved it when I secretly wanted to bury it in the backyard and pretend it never happened.


38 Lia November 12, 2010 at 10:33 am

OMG. The SAME EXACT THING happened to me with a Coach bag! It was our one year anniversary and I saw a Coach box and I was like whoa! But then I opened it and it was a multi-colored bag with those Coach C’s all over it. I wanted to cry. Just really not my style at all. I tried to be nice about it and pretend I liked it but I’m not a good liar. Poor soul, he offered to return it. He ended up picking me out a classic silver watch on his own that I love and have worn every single day for 3 years now. But still. Yikes. Ever since then…I give a list. :)


39 Paige November 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm

The problem with this logic is when the boyfriend aces it the first year (hellooooo Tiffany necklace and wonderful trip to San Francisco) and then the next year you wind up with a horrible wallet and ugly earrings. He’s been on gift-giving probation since this incident, but he’s still lovable.


40 Diane November 12, 2010 at 10:22 am

My dad has caused some serious family drama with his horrible gift-giving. We make lists and everything, but he still ends up failing. One year, he bought my mom a really cheap version of the Lands End down vest she wanted (WHITE GIRL PROBLEMS) and she was so pissed she took me and my sister on post-Christmas shopping spree. (And my mom hates to shop. It was totally for revenge.)

Last year, he bought me and my sister beautiful necklaces. He’s either finally learning or incredibly lucky.


41 Leah November 12, 2010 at 10:52 am

One year, my step dad bought my mom a rifle.

With a bayonet.

Needless to say, she swears by a list.


42 Diane November 12, 2010 at 11:40 am

Haha, that is amazing/horrible. Does she hunt? Collect antiques? If not, why would he even think she wanted that?!?


43 Leah November 12, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Um yeah, she does neither. She’s more of a jewelry or kitchen gadgets kind of gal. She’s 5’2″ and the gun was bigger than her!


44 Deva (Voracious Vorilee) November 13, 2010 at 9:53 pm

this exchange had me literally LOL


45 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:29 pm



46 Marg November 12, 2010 at 10:31 am

Yes, he is geting a wish list, after 4 years dating I’ve learned this the hard way. He was trying to be thoughful one year and got me a wetsuit after I just learned to wakeboard during the summer. I’m not that into it to go out in January and freeze my ass off, and I did use it once and got sick!

I’m trying out Amazon wishlist this year and actually started adding a few things last month because I always forget come this time of year.


47 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:29 pm



48 SoupDragon November 12, 2010 at 10:35 am

My fiancé always wants a list; he’s not really comfortable with off-piste gift shopping. I find him really difficult to buy for because if he wants something, he buys it, unless it’s ridiculously expensive (in which case I can’t afford it anyway). I have to resort to telling him not to buy stuff which rather ruins the surprise.

Last year I knitted him a boob. That went down pretty well. But I’ve just realised that I can’t remember what I bought him for his birthday…


49 Robyn November 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm

You knitted a boob? I can’t say I’m not impressed and incredibly curious. Picture?


50 Janna November 14, 2010 at 11:02 am

Coffee nearly shot out of my mouth.


51 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Also would like a picture of this knitted boob!!


52 Brie @ Brie Fit November 12, 2010 at 10:37 am

Oh, totally a list.
The first year…he got me a bread machine. Which I LOVED, and used a lot, but was kind of sad because it was our first gift-giving relationship occasion and I was hoping for something a little more romantic. And then the bread machine broke, and I was too lazy to get it fixed because come on, it’s an $80 bread machine and where the eff do you get those things fixed and no I am not paying the $50 to ship it back to the Cuisinart people and I was a teeny bit busy with law school, and we ended up throwing it away when we moved.
And now, every time we argue, he’s like, “YOU THREW AWAY THE BREADMAKER I GAVE YOU FOR OUR FIRST CHRISTMAS TOGETHER” and I’m like, “COME ON, that was four years ago.” It’s totally fraught.
Then we got married, and we registered for a new bread machine, and got it, and now I make bread sometimes, and he is less pissy about it.
Moral of the story: don’t ask for anything that can break and later be used as ammo against you.


53 Leah November 12, 2010 at 10:50 am

I don’t like giving lists to my Huz b/c it takes the fun out of it. Instead, a few months leading up to Christmas, I start dropping mad hints about all the stuff that might be nice to have. He’s a smart guy. He can figure it out. I also happen to think he is really easy to shop for so he need not give me any hints. I do give lists to my parents though, now, since we aren’t living under the same roof and I don’t get the opportunity to lay it on thick with the hints.


54 Beth November 12, 2010 at 10:54 am

My fiance is a great gift giver… our first Christmas together he gave me an iPod touch. This Christmas he surprised me with a MacBook Pro (well a little early), but he definitely surprised me . I don’t give him a list, I’m at the point where quality time alone with him is a gift with our schedules. Although I tell him that I really want (and actually need!) stupid stuff for Christmas like an apple cutter and socks. lol I have to make a list for my family because my mom says she can’t buy for me anymore and needs ideas.


55 Jessica November 12, 2010 at 11:03 am

My husband hates surprises. His list includes links to websites where I can buy the exact graphic novel or shirt he wants. I always try throwing in a few surprise stocking stuffers but he’s only lukewarm. It’s so boring! On the flip side, he says I’M hard to shop for and insists on a detailed list from me. Ugh. It really takes a lot of the fun out of gift giving. I feel like we should just exchange envelopes of cash and buy our own damn gifts.


56 Lori November 12, 2010 at 11:20 am

I have a camo snuggie and I LOVE it. LURV it. Big puffy heart it. I got it as a gag gift when I left my position at a military base, but I was all like: ROCKIN’.


57 Lori November 12, 2010 at 11:31 am

Oh right. The questions:
Do you give your SO one? No, but I drop hints all year. This year, I wanted my plane ticket home to be my birthday and Christmas gift, but because he knows I like opening stuff, the cat and the dogs will be super generous this year. :D
Does your person ask? Sometimes, if I’ve been off my game and not dropping hints all year.
Do you ask for a list in return? No… not normally. I typically try to listen to his wants, but if I’m stuck then I’ll paw around.
How long is your list? I do for my mom and mother-in-law.
Do you want everything on it, or is it just suggestions? I do that like I did my wedding registry: if you are stuck, here are some ideas. Some items have been on the list for years.

And have you ever cried because you’ve gotten something horrible? Oh my gosh, no! :D Not at all. Well maybe when I was a kid from my parents, but my husband is a really good gift giver. VERY thoughtful. I’m lucky I suppose!


58 tish November 12, 2010 at 11:37 am

my guy is a miss in the gifting department or maybe it’s just that i rock it at it so HAWD that he just can’t keep up. for that reason alone we did lists this year :) we were gonna do the $900 iPad, but then realized sharing isn’t smart or fun. so now i have a snazzy little list. it’s a good jumping board BUT the true fun is the surprise extra gifts. mwahahaha


59 tish November 12, 2010 at 11:38 am

doh! i hate not having an edit button…i rock AT IT HAWD…extra “it” throws it all off. mmm, mmm, MMMM!


60 Alison November 12, 2010 at 11:41 am

I must say I’ve never gotten or given a wishlist to a SO …I like to pretend that I know exactly what he wants and enjoy testing to see how much he’s been paying attention..but I do admit when he’s made a list for his mom or grandma I’ve snuck a peek and emailed them immediately to say ‘DIBS!’…so that works.


61 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Good idea!!


62 Robyn November 12, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I’ve never given a boyfriend a wish list, but have had (mostly) good luck with gifts. Last year, Alex gave me a Tiffany’s necklace so he set the bar pretty high for our first Christmas together. LOL. I might drop some hints this year as I’m pretty sure he hasn’t started shopping yet. (Honey, are you reading this? Something cozy and cashmere, please, in any color but purple.)

I did cry once at a birthday present I received from a boyfriend. He’d known for a while that I was heartbroken over losing one of my (totally fake, but totally adorable) “diamond” post earrings. They were perfect! Right size, not too flashy, PERFECT for work. He ended up buying me earrings, but they were the teeny, tiny posts you get your ears pierced with. This was after he’d been drumming up how successful business was going, etc. when really he was sinking himself further and further into debt. Awesome. So I didn’t cry in front of him, I smiled and said thank you and then went into the bathroom and cried about my disintegrating relationship and the fact that my boyfriend would spend thousands of dollars on get-rich-quick conferences but wouldn’t spend more than $25 on my Christmas present. I am not a brand-name, gotta-have-the-most-expensive-thing person (hello, the earring that I’d lost was pretty inexpensive), but it felt like he missed something . . . especially when he’d gifted me a real diamond necklace the year before.


63 Robyn November 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Clarification: Gah! Birthday present! It was birthday — not Christmas.

(My birthday’s about 3 weeks after Christmas, though, so I blur when I received gifts a lot.)


64 Tenecia November 12, 2010 at 12:16 pm

“(OK that’s a joke. He knows he has to wife me before I’d get my hair wet for him.)” – I literally busted out laughing in my office at this!!! Can I tell you – I’ve been a wife for over 6 years (we’ve been together for 10 yrs) and he has yet to wet my hair – I’m not lettin’ NO ONE mess with my ‘do, not even the love of my life!! But wait….I guess that could be his Christmas gift this year…..thanks for lookin’ out ;)



65 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Hahaha 10 years and no wet hair!? Damn girl!


66 Julie November 12, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I don’t have a boyfriend for this year’s holidays, but I have for many in the past. I LOVE surprises. I mean love more than anything. My biggest pet peeve is when people “ruin” the endings of books/movies even if I have no intention on reading or seeing them. I used to get pissed at my boyfriends when they’d ask me what I wanted for a holiday/birthday. Shouldn’t they know!? I am crazy about the holidays so I used to spend lots of times coming up with unique and creative gifts for my boyfriends and take mental notes throughout the year so that I would be able to surprise them. Unfortunately I haven’t been lucky enough to date someone as obsessed as I am, and I actually cried on Valentines Day in high school when my boyfriend bought me flowers! Ha!


67 Bridget@PavementandPlants November 12, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I can’t offer advice before I’ve never had a significant other over the holidays. Thats kind of sad now that I think about it.

But either way, I love you in love. It’s so sunshine and rainbows.


68 Heather November 12, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Oooh, Bridget, I’m in the same boat as you. No boys over the holidays ever. Which is especially sad since I JUST (as in, days ago) broke up with mine. Ah, well, one less gift to buy? Yes? Eh?

But I agree, I love you being in love too, Rach! You give me hope! haha


69 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:31 pm

It’s not sunshine and rainbows! It’s edgy!! I’m edgy!!!!


70 Libby November 12, 2010 at 12:48 pm

I usually give him lists, while I buy something for him that I think he’ll like. I HATE giving him the lists (I don’t like saying, “you should spend this much on me”), but otherwise he feels really helpless. One time he didn’t get me anything for my birthday until 2 months later, not because he hadn’t thought about it but because he couldn’t decide — choices stress him out. Giving him the list = much, much easier.


71 Bree November 12, 2010 at 12:59 pm

I’m pretty sure I would love a snuggie. I thought I hinted enough about it last year, but alas, no snuggie from my husband. He must have thought I was joking more then usual all the times I talked about it’s functionality, exciting patterns, and how fun it would have been to be at that world record setting Cleveland Cavs game where everyone in the crowd got one.

And with that, we suck at gifts. Being together for almost 9 years will do that I guess. My husband never wants anything and the few times he has, he has gone out and bought those things himself instead of waiting for a gift giving occasion. We usually end up putting that money towards something lame like furniture or other house related investments. We are such savers it’s ridiculous.

I will say that for our first wedding anniversary we both surprised each other with unexpected gifts. I always joked about wanting diamonds (I am so not a jewelery person) but he did get me some diamond stud earrings that I have yet to take out of my ears 2 years later, so that was fun. So maybe the key is joking about something over the top – sort of reverse psychology.


72 Kelle November 12, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Lists. Itemized. Linked. Size/color specified, with acceptable alternate size/color specified. Sometimes even the salesperson’s contact information. (God bless the color-coordinated Excel spread sheet I maintain year-round.)

This comes from years of what I call “The Annals of Male Gift-Giving Failures”. Exhibit 1: High school bf shows up with carnations from the supermarket and a mixed CD. I actually threw him off the porch and told him to come back when he learns to buy flowers. (Now that it’s my sorority flower, I have developed much more love for them.) Result? Tiffany bracelet that is now cherished, years later. From the list. Exhibit 2: Panicked phone call from my mama concerning anniversary present: “Oh God, it’s hideous. I can’t even look at it. It’s a glass swan. Sitting on the table. Holding…something. Hold on, I have to ‘accidentally’ break it.”

I maintain a list mainly because I am a kick-butt gift-giver and not just around the holidays. I have spreadsheets filled with links for my gifts to other people as well, lest you think I’m a selfish whooo-are. I think the surprise lies in the fact that I do not know what will be purchased off the list, not the ‘evil glass swan’ I-can’t-even-deal-with-the-realities-of-that-thing’s-existence surprise.


73 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Oh wow…so did your mom break the swan? Or did he actually give it to you!?!


74 Libby November 12, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Oh! A slanket is WAY higher quality than that piece of rags called a snuggie.


75 laura November 12, 2010 at 4:18 pm

I do not make a list, however, I am very vocal about what I like and honestly, I would much prefer something personal rather than something expensive.
I think I am a pretty good gift giver as well, but that might be because I only gift to people I am close to. I like to give very personal gifts.
I once received two dollar store items and a used kitchen towel for Christmas from the mother of one of my boyfriends. All of the other “significant others” received some pretty personal-to-the-person gifts. Nothing says “this is how much I REALLY like you” like a $1 cat puzzle and dirty dishrag.


76 Elisabeth November 12, 2010 at 4:39 pm

We are serious lovers of the Amazon wish list. I start making mine in October, and send it to him in November…alerting him to any important changes that need to be noted along the way. We also share these lists with close family (not because we’re greedy, but because they’re always asking “what do you want for Christmas??!!” and this is the way to ensure that they spend their money on something that you’ll use/want).


77 Elisabeth November 12, 2010 at 4:39 pm

In fact…we both keep a pretty updated wish list all year long. Makes birthdays very easy, and sometimes he gets something that he forgot he even put on the list!


78 Cat @ YoungFoolishHungry November 12, 2010 at 5:06 pm

I really like the idea of pooling your money and taking a weekend trip. I would love to whole up in a cabin for the weekend with movies, books, snuggies, and food. Gifts are fun, but trips can be more memorable.


79 Jasmine @ Eat Move Write November 12, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Is it weird that we’ve never really exchanged Christmas gifts? We’ve always been that poor.

Well, we always do SOMEthing. Like, our first Christmas together, we set a spending limit of $0, but still managed to come up with something. He went online and made a crossword puzzle with clues about our life together and printed it. I commissioned an artist friend to draw our portrait based on a photograph and framed it in a frame I already had. It was a great Christmas. :)


80 Danielle November 12, 2010 at 6:24 pm

I definitely like to be surprised and want to get something that the other person has put a lot of effort or thought into. I also love to think of the perfect gift for someone. However, sometimes you just really need something you can’t really afford and that is when I would start dropping hints. In the past I have always been asked what I want but usually say surprise me unless there is something I really want/need.


81 Christie November 13, 2010 at 3:44 am

So being married…. yeah we pretty much do this:

A) Agree on some awesome gift and just buy that for our “gift to each other”
2) He gets a video game and I get a Coach bag/wallet


82 Theresa November 14, 2010 at 5:36 am

Oh, you crazy gift-givers, you. Since we’ve met, my husband and I have been too broke to give each other Christmas gifts. We know that we could save and scrounge and make sacrifices, but … we’re running a business, occasionally taking classes, eating healthily (and so cooking a lot), finding time to exercise, definitely not sleeping, and have too many daily money worries to freak out about presents. Especially since there’s so much we *want* and so little we *need*.

The most precious thing we can give each other is time. For Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and occasionally birthdays, we turn off our phones, cozy up on the couch, order a pizza, drink a bottle of wine, and watch movies together until we fall asleep. It’s an evening at the house, together, with no distractions. And we only get them a couple of times a year.

It might not sound romatic and exciting, but these nights are so precious to us, that this year we decided to do it even though we *do* have money to buy each other presents.


83 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Awww that’s great!


84 Chandra (@ShiftC) November 14, 2010 at 11:43 am

My current SO is a pain to shop for. He has everything a guy could ever need or want, and my lowly teacher’s salary won’t even allow me to consider the technicalogical gadgets he has listed on his Amazon wish list.

At any rate, we created a Google Document a year ago that chronicled every single thing we’d like to have. I personally think that I’m easy to shop for: SHOES, PURSES, GIFT CERTIFICATES TO SHOES/PURSES, junk for my classroom, and my list can go on.


85 Rachel November 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I am the same way — SO EASY TO SHOP FOR! But I also don’t want my bf to get me a gift card to Sephora for Christmas. I mean, I’d use it but still…maybe because it’s early in the relationship but I like gifts to have some glamour/thought/sex appeal/staying power!


86 Sara November 15, 2010 at 7:13 pm

In the past I never asked for anything from my husband for Christmas because I liked to “be surprised”. Then after being disappointed several years in row, I learned my lesson. Now I start campaigning in October, and I provide a long list with specifics (item numbers, websites, phone numbers).


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