Tuesday, 20 May 2008


The hardest people to buy gifts for are the ones who just go out and buy whatever it is they want as soon as they want it, which is probably most everyone I know these days. Mom always had me give her a 'wishlist' for my birthdays and Christmases, from the time I was in my early teens. I would be careful to include plenty of items with a small price tag, as she didn’t have much money. That said, she was good at saving up and she liked giving me ‘real jewelry’ so big things weren’t out of the question. My list might include a new set of measuring cups (to go with the current colour scheme in the kitchen), a half slip, a record album (we are talking about the dark ages, here) and an emerald necklace. She wasn’t limited to what was on the list, but I always knew that a fair number of gifts would come from it.

I would try to give it to her a month or two in advance, but it would be compiled over quite a few months' time. A long list didn’t indicate greed, it only gave the giver more items from which to choose. This practice may have been part of my early training in frugality, come to think of it. If something was on my wishlist, I couldn’t buy it myself in case she chose that item, so I learned to wait for what I wanted.

Bill and I have taken up exchanging wishlists to save making expensive mistakes and disappointment. I’m not as good as I used to be at coming up with it early and it doesn't seem to be as long. I think it’s likely that my real wishlists now are more about things that can’t be bought, which is not helpful.

I use Bill’s wishlist to give me clues about what else I might surprise him with. This is where Amazon is helpful. Knowing he liked books and films about Dorothy L. Sayers’ character, Lord Peter Wimsey, I guessed he might like Margery Allingham’s Albert Campion, and I was right. Once I've decided which items I will buy, I share the remainder of Bill's list with his 3 children; he has to struggle with my list alone.

I gave Bill my birthday wishlist a few days ago – and I’ve added a couple items as I’ve discovered them. I’m quite looking forward to what surprises await me in a couple of weeks.

What would you put on your wishlist?


Rick Stone said...

A gift card with lots of $$$ on it for buying diesel fuel. Looking at well over $4.00 per gallon for our next journey.

Shelley said...

Ouch. Might this website be of use to you? I found it on The Simple Dollar blog.