What Do You Want For Christmas? (I hate shopping)

October 16, 2013


Talking about Christmas before everyone’s ready to talk about Christmas is annoying and self-involved, but I’m doing it anyway because this year I cannot follow my usual Christmas shopping routine which is:

1) Realize Christmas is in 5 days

2) Panic

3) Go to Target and buy 15 things no one actually wants

4) Return home and realize I have no wrapping paper

5) Go to dollar store and buy the only wrapping paper left (smiling Santas!)

6) Return home and realize I have no tape

7) Go back to store for tape

8) See Christmas cards at store and feel nostalgic

9) Buy Christmas cards and maybe remember tape

10) Return home and realize addressing Christmas cards is the worst

11) Spend next few days trying to find Aunt Kim’s address

12) Wrap crappy gifts at 1am on Christmas Eve with shoddy dollar store tape

13) Swear to never do this again

This year nature has forced my hand into planning ahead as I will either be a) giving birth b) caring for a newborn or c) be severely overdue and not able to move during the time I’m usually scrambling for gifts.

It’s cool. Sometimes it’s nice to be forced into being an adult.

So I’m making a list. A list of things to buy for family and friends and a list of things I’d maybe want if someone begged me for a Christmas wish-list (please beg me). I’m not very good at it though. I can never think of anything I want that is not too small (Dear Santa, how about a turkey sandwich?) or not too big (Dear Santa, Cancun sounds really nice).

When it comes to buying for other people, I always end up in the candle aisle feeling dizzy and overwhelmed (does anyone really want candles?).

What do you want for Christmas? Do you have go-to gifts for certain ages/genders? Help.


45 thoughts on “What Do You Want For Christmas? (I hate shopping)

  1. Kimberly

    I have found that jewelry is good for almost any female. You do have to know a little bit about them. My mom? Clip on earrings, she will go to her grave with out a piercing (and both my sisters too actually. This is why I’m the whore of the family. One set of pierced ears) And with jewelry you can go from inexpensive to very very expensive, so it works with any budget.

    Handmade, like quilts and crocheted stuff also works for me if I think about it in October (and then stay up late for a week before Christmas actually DOING it)

    My dad likes 2D gifts (his words) so I try to write him a poem, make some art work for his classroom, something like that.

    My MIL is great at buying clothes. So if you have a shopping gift (as is supernatural power) use that to your advantage. I’ve never gotten anything but clothing from her. Oh, and a 400 dollar blender. Best gift ever.

    Gift cards can be cool if you pair it with a funky item. Last year I got my brother a “date night” with a gift card to his favorite restaurant and a bar of manly soap from FirebirdBathBody on etsy.

    I can’t wait to read what everyone else says!!

  2. Alli

    The Wineys make and share a google doc where everyone enters what they actually want for Christmas. It takes away the, “I wonder what I will get,” but that is trumped by the fact that you don’t get socks.

  3. Katie (@derstk)

    I always, always ask for gift cards. They get a bad rap because they’re considered impersonal, but I LOVE going out and doing things–shopping, movies, restaurants, etc, so it’s like two gifts in one. I get an excuse to do those things and don’t have to feel guilty about spending money on them. It’s the gift that keeps on giving long after December 25. :)

    As far as giving gifts, my family is extremely specific in our Christmas list-making…as in: here’s the specific link to the specific item I want, all you have to do is order it. It’s not sentimental, but it works for us!

  4. Colleen

    **sorry about the book I wrote**

    I am so glad you asked this question. I love giving gifts. I love it with every fiber of my being. I plan gifts out and take notes on my phone and try to be very strategic about the whole thing. You know that Christmas Parks and Rec episode where Leslie gives everyone the perfect gift? That’s what I strive for.

    So, let’s talk about Austin and men in general. I find that with them it’s better to give an experience. Does he like whiskey? Get him a nice bottle of 30-year whiskey. Does he like a certain band or play that is going to be performed nearby in the next 6 months? Get him tickets for that. Does he like steak? Order him Omaha steaks. Does he like fixing things and working around the house? Get him a new tool, or, better yet (because I would feel a little out of my element to do that), call a local hardware store and explain to them what you’re trying to do. Send him off to said store, where employee will be waiting for him and walk him through new tools, understand what he’s into, etc. When he goes to pay you’ve left your credit card info with the employee, so it’s taken care of. Surprise! To supplement this, you can also buy him something at a store he frequents – any store – and buy new pants/belt/sweater/something you think he’d look sexy in, and if he doesn’t like it, then he basically has a gift certificate to the store.

    The general “experience” thing works well with couples or parents, too. I try to give my parents a joint gift each year that’s a subscription to something – three months of a coffee club where you get new coffee each month, a basket of various chocolate from independent shops if they have a sweet tooth, a gift certificate to their favorite local restaurant or where they had a first date. Sometimes people don’t use their gift certificates either – give it to them with a reservation already made (they can always cancel it), or go out to dinner with them and pay for it there. Then with my Dad I again supplement with a nice bottle of whiskey or wine, or a piece of clothing. Last year he had just gotten an iPhone so I gave him nice, touch-screen capable, leather gloves.

    Lastly, close girlfriends/sisters/moms. Yes…some do like candles! One of my besties loves candles, it’s my default gift. Did someone recently have a baby? Schedule a pedicure or manicure or massage for you both – again, give the gift with the reservation made. Even if the reservation is in Feb/March (when your baby is a bit older), it should still work. Perhaps your husbands can watch the older one, and spas are filled with women – bring along the little baby while you sit in your chair getting your pedicure. No one will care if you whip em out to breastfeed or if she cries a little or if she just sleeps in your arms. Women love babies! So that’s what I try to do with my friends – if I know their style, I get them something from their favorite store. If I know of a few good books I just read, I give them to her (my sister is a big book reader and always gives me her latest favorites and I love it). For those that live close to me, I try to aim for experience…my girlfriend’s bday is around the corner and I’m talking us to get fancy “warm cream” manicures followed by our favorite hot chocolate around the corner. Essentially, women want to be pampered I think, particularly those with taxing jobs or those who are mothers. If you can pamper them (and get a little pampering out of it yourself!), go for it. And that’s for ladies you’re very close with who live around you – otherwise a candle, or your favorite new book, heck even your favorite new mascara, is a thoughtful, fun and useful gift.

      1. Colleen

        haha thank you :) I seriously love, love giving gifts. I wish there was a job where I just bought gifts for people based on profiles others sent me lol. good luck and if you need help I am a tweet or email away!

    1. Cheri

      For nongifty folk like myself who agonize over gift buying (especially for people who ARE gifty), this reference tool is immensely helpful. Bless you for relaying your wisdom.

  5. meganstilley

    Yep, we are in the same boat this year. A lot of my shopping is already done.
    For kids I find it easy to give gifts until they are about 5 or so. My go to for any kid is books because you generally have an idea of what they are into and can get a book on that topic. Also, books are more parent friendly than an obnoxious battery powered toy.
    For adults it is more challenging, but my husband’s family and mine too have stopped gifting to siblings. This happened when the baby explosion happened. Getting gifts for 8 nieces and nephews is enough in my opinion without another 4 siblings plus spouses.
    Parents are somewhat easier now because you can give them some nice photos of your children or a GC to their favorite restaurant and that is done.
    I guess that is mainly who I get gifts for.

    1. kathrine

      My family had the problem of a gazillion nieces and nephews and we solved it by doing a secret Santa. Saves alotta money and the presents are more likely to be a bit nicer because your only buying for 1-2 kids instead of 12. if you think your family is up for it i would definately recommend it.

  6. Carrie

    Handmade,vintage and fair trade of course:) thankfully Washington Boro Creative Bazaar (hello plug!) is two weeks before you are due so last second gift shopping is wrapped up. Also people will be shocked and pleased with anything u get them because pregnancy/newborn pass.
    Also this weekend Building Character has its giant fall ware house sale. And eBay is my good buddy for finding a special, odd or fun thing (nostalgia gifts are great).

    1. Kate {motleymama} Post author

      I forgot about preg/newborn pass, although I feel like when you have a second baby–everyone is like: oh you’re fine. So I better get my baazar on (duh).

      I love when you ebay. I especially love when you ebay giant native american sweaters.

  7. Jessica

    I was you not too long ago. In the MALL the week of Christmas over spending on things no one really wanted….and then you could tell it all felt very impersonal to the people I love the most in my life.

    So, I’m a pretty crafty individual, with moderate sewing skills, so I just made out my gift list and have started to make all the Christmas presents this year, much like last year. Everyone feels very much thought of when they know you spent a lot your time making them. Of course, I keep my gift giving list to around 10 people. Luckily my family has gotten so large we have just decided to nix all presents because no one can afford 70 gifts unless everyone gets like, gum.

    What I really want for Christmas is like thousands of K-cups b/c those buggers are expensive and I’m too lazy to use the one you can use your own grinds in. I’m a sucker for all things pen/pencil/stationary related. And I’d like a super adult business card holder b/c I think I’ve finally graduated from the one I bought in my 20’s covered in rhinestones that I bought from Claire’s.

  8. Fran

    Magazine subscriptions have saved Christmas shopping for me more than once. Because most people like getting Real Simple every once in a while, but most never want to spend the dollas. And it’s a gift that lasts for a whole year.

    I said Real Simple but obviously I would choose People or something equally reputable.

    Also selfishly I got so tired of realizing what I wish I’d asked for after Christmas that I keep a secret Pinterest board year round where I add things I want and then I can just email the list to anyone that asks. Or I can keep track of ideas for other people there, too. If I am feeling generous.

    1. Kate {motleymama} Post author

      I love you. (LOL over People because obviously).

      Pinterest board is a good idea, although whenever I look over my wish list Pinterest board I think—wait, I don’t even know what half of this stuff is. I just like the picture because chevron/lighting/twinkle lights.

  9. A

    I’m so sick of STUFF clogging my life, so I’m trying to do more the gift card/experience route: It’s always nice to have an excuse to go to a restaurant–though it’s important to give a restaurant gift card of a place they want to go, and not a place I want to go. For example, some people actually like to go to places like TGIFridays.

    It’s also nice, if you have the time to make the effort, to get gift cards to places that you don’t mind if your friend never uses it and the place ends up absorbing the money. It’s easier to get all the gift cards at the same time at Turkey Hill, but places like Lancaster have something called Downtown Dollars that your giftee can use at a whole list of shops, restaurants, even hair salons, so they truly get to pick what they like, and you get to help spread the love on all Lancaster offers. Win!

    1. Kate {motleymama} Post author

      You’re right. And honestly that’s all I want too. Gift cards and experiences. I do not need any more linens.

      TGIFs made me laugh. But good point. Not everyone would appreciate a gift card to Ethiopian food.

  10. Emma

    As a college student the most exciting gift I got last year was a year’s supply of laundry detergent. Also, deodorant.

    Also, snacks.

  11. Ellies Wonder

    I am a fan of giving gift cards with a pair of super cozy socks. That is my go-to gift. Etsy is always fun and easy for gifts too.

    My family stopped giving gifts a while ago. Instead, we focus of really good food, time spent together, and doing things like going to a movie or an afternoon hike. In the spirit of gift giving, we do a “classy” white-elephant gift exchange on Christmas morning. Everyone buys one gender-neutral gift under $20 and then we do white elephant. It is SO much fun and usually we get all riled up. Along with that my dad and step-mom give us stockings full of little things. I wouldn’t have Christmas any other way, and it totally takes the stress out of shopping. :)

  12. KC

    I like the “really really nice version of something small that’s either consumable or that you use all the time” edge to gifts. The best spatula ever? Really awesome popcorn? Super-cozy socks? Amazing ice-scraper? Chocolate/fruit/fancy-salt/tea/coffee? The most awesome cheese-grater? (note: these are ideally things you’ve used/experienced or that a friend has used/experienced, so you’re confident that they are in fact better than “average”)

    The other direction I tend to veer with not-sure-what-to-get gifts is retro/kiddie/sharable. Case of pop-rocks, anyone? :-)

    And the third is the category of “regiftables”; bottle of wine; fancy candle; etc. – given early enough in the month that if it’s not their thing, it has time to find its way to a new home. ;-)

  13. A

    Oh my gosh, are you saying that not everyone wants an Itunes giftcard along with a construction monstrocity I have dubbed “homemade card”? WHAT.

  14. jolie

    Listen, I don’t have it in me to read these comments but I am about to do a manly gift guide and I’ll let you know when I do. Maybe I’ll do one for women too because basically it would be like here are things to buy me, right?

  15. ashleegadd

    I don’t have the energy to leave a novel-sized comment (but I could! I love talking about gifts!), nor do I have the energy to read all these comments (so many thoughts!), and maybe this was already mentioned, but one of my favorite gifts to give AND receive are subscription boxes. The gifts that keep on giving! Birchbox is my fave. Without it, I would never wear lipstick. Ever.

  16. Alice H

    I have been making a wish list on Amazon for myself and my kids. I see something I think is neat, I look it up on Amazon right away and add it to my wish list! Same thing for my kids, they say “I want this” to every 107 items and I add it to my list!

    Right now, I really want a 50mm lens for my camera. And anything for my kitchen is always good. And I love makeup.

    1. Alice H

      For gifts for my girlfriends, I usually give them a cute little goodie bag of my favorite things: Vera Bradley id pouch ($12), the mint flavored lip gloss from Bath & Body, a $5 Sonic gift card (I must have ALL the cherry limeades!), and Maybeline Falsies mascara

  17. Missy

    My adult boys say they don’t want anything, my husband i have no clue. My grandson is easy, he is only 3. So this year I have no clue what to get. Any suggestions?

  18. KLC

    I make jams and wine. I have a huge strawberry patch and fruit trees so when I harvest I make a ton of jam and some nice meads. Usually this happens in mid to late summer so I just have to put together little baskets and/or bows near Christmas and alakazam presents! Usually I get a little creative with labels to make them special to the person. On one side of my family we do secret Santa. On thanksgiving we all write our name on an index card along with some gift ideas and favortite things (color, scents…) and put them all in a hat and draw! That way everyone only has to buy one gift under $20 and we have a blast trying to figure out who it was. Lately we’ve taken it to another level trying to disguise gift packages such as hiding a small present in a DVD case to mislead the unwrapper! It’s fun :)

  19. Alexandra (@Alexampersandra)

    I’m 27 years old. Every year, my grandmother and my aunt demand a Christmas list (and now I have to write one for my fiance for them too). I’m struggling with it, because I just finished putting together our wedding registry… so beyond a few things (we collect seasons of The Simpsons on DVD, and there are a few gift cards I’d be particularly happy to receive, and a book I want, and he likes spicy sauces/rubs so I put that on his list), I’m redirecting everyone to the wedding registry when they ask what we want… isn’t that the entire point of a registry? To know what we want? Which means I need to add more things to it, to keep everyone’s options open for wedding gifts after Christmas is over (the wedding is in March).

    As far as GIVING this year, I bought a lot of wonderful supplies from Brambleberry and I’m making what I’ve dubbed “spa baskets” for family members… a lady version and a man version. There are a few exceptions (Dad is getting a rosebush ordered from Edmund’s Roses, and Fiance’s dad is getting interesting beers, for example). And for friends, I’m getting mugs and filling them with wintery comforty type things: hot chocolate, different teas, a Kcup for the ones who have Keurigs, candy canes, cinnamon sticks, mini liqueur bottles (Bailey’s is popular for the hot chocolate), marshmallows, honey stirrers for the tea, and if I have time, shaped sugar cubes and/or some homemade cookies. Fiance and I aren’t exchanging gifts (we ordered wedding rings instead) but we’re doing stockings, with a price limit, so we have something to do on Christmas, gift-wise.

  20. Makayla

    Well, Im thirteen. I love anything, and Everything. This year, I’ve kinda matured on what kind of stuff i want. I asked for stuff like, Ray Bans (Yeah, expensive, but I like to keep the options open(:) Okay, I must say, most of this stuff is pretty expensive. I wanted a North Face Jacket, Solo beats by Dre, Call of Duty Ghost (even though I’m actually really girly) A Tv, a Go-Cart, Make-up, Clothes, Scarfs, etc. Anything. Most kids, even though we make it out to be hard to shop for, I love everything. Ps. I love having candy in my stocking<33333 Love ya Ladies!!!

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