Why having a wish list for gifts is a good thing

It’s practical and economical.

Many years ago, my friends and I decided to start sharing our wish lists for birthdays and special occasions.

#1 We set a budget

#2 We listed the three things we wanted to get

#3 We can do both or one of two things

a) We all chip in to get one gift on the list for that person (if it was a bit expensive), or…

b) We decide who buys what in the list so the person receives all three gifts.

And so on. There have been variations. 😁

Yes, there’s no element of surprise. It ruins the moment, you don’t get to make the person feel special, you don’t get into the spirit of gift-giving, there’s no excitement, and all that.

paper packaging idea
Don't judge a gift by its wrapping

First off, we weren’t (and still aren’t) strict about this. If any one of us wanted to get this person something extra, we can. Of course.

If we wanted to spring a surprise, we definitely could.


If you’re not really a good gift-giver, if you always find yourself buying generic gifts just for the sake of giving someone a gift, if you don’t have time to plan and think, if you don’t have the money…

The wish list works. Or it could work, for now. (By the way, we’ve always called it a wish list. Maybe there’s another term for it?)

#1 You’ll get what you want

And it likely won’t end up in storage or be recycled.

#2 You won’t “waste” time and effort and money

You immediately make a beeline to the right aisle at the store.

chic gift wrappers
I'll take that, thanks

This still needs tweaking, I know. It’d be good if the gifts on our wish lists were useful and eco-friendly. From my experience, though, they usually are, or are one or the other. I have conscientious friends. 👍

As I get older, however, the less thought I give to receiving gifts, to the point that I can safely say I don’t think about it at all. I get asked, “What do you want for (insert occasion here)?” And I always answer that I don’t want or need anything. They should just save their money and use it on themselves.

If you’re the one giving the gifts, though, maybe you can do these too, or instead:

#1 Make a donation to their favourite charity or cause

That’s it. No, not really. 😊

Breast Cancer Awareness cupcakes
You can bake for them too

Volunteer your time to a good cause in their name. Help them with a chore. Book and pay for an appointment for them. Treat them to a nice meal. Have a meaningful conversation and be a good listener.

Time. It’s worth thinking about how you’d like to spend it, because once it’s past, you can never get it back. If you give me your time and attention (out of all the people and things you can give these to), I’d consider that a pretty special gift.

Note: It’s September, and before we know it, it’s already December and the holidays. Hence this early post about gifts. 😉

So are we the only ones who do this? Do you also believe in this practice? Is this actually quite common? 😬