Next Year I’m Just Going To Email Them My Wish List

“What do you want for Christmas?”

I hate that question. Hate.

Especially when, like this year, what I really want is money. Money to help cover the cost of plane tickets for four back home to Iowa. Money to cover the unexpected expense of a $500 insurance deductible. Or, maybe, money to finally replace the folding chairs we’re using around our kitchen table.

No one wants to give out money for Christmas.

And so, like I do every year, I’ve given my in-laws a steady stream of bullshit gift ideas because I can’t think of anything else and I hate the idea of making official requests for presents.

I wonder if it would be considered poor manners to just email them the link to an Amazon wish list.

Does anyone besides Avitable send a “buy me this please” list to their family members?

And also?

HI! Buy me stuff! From this link! Because you read me on the Internet!

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  1. avitable says:


    It’s not a “buy me this please” list!

    It’s a “I don’t really want a gift, but if you want to try to get me something that I don’t already have, here’s a list of things I have my eye on” list.

    And it works!

  2. Danalyn says:

    I usually do, but this year, I need money. Luckily, everyone in the family is aware of it, too, so there were no questions from family members this year.

  3. I actually loved Adam’s list. I bought a lot of that shit for my husband b/c this year I am going to freaking win the unspoken Christmas contest.


  4. i think it is perfectly acceptable to answer that AWFUL question of what you want or need with “help financially for our trip.” no harm or shame in that. people shouldn’t ask what you want if they don’t really wish to know your desires.

    although keep in mind that i flat out refuse to purchase from registries. if i want to give someone a gift, it will be something i want them to have. after that, what they do with it is up to them.

    yeah, it is fun here in my world. :)

  5. My sister does the list thing and it always pisses me off, so this year I thought I’d go rogue and get something on my own. Only I couldn’t think of anything and ended up asking for the list anyway(that I knew she had already made up.)

  6. rebturtle says:

    I’m still adjusting to the fact that my wife’s entire family runs on birthday/Christmas lists. They aren’t the most original giftgivers, and it embarrasses them when I get them all good gifts that aren’t on their lists. It pisses them off when I do it all 2 days before Christmas…….

  7. Maria says:

    I HATE that question too. I know they are asking, but I feel like I’m telling them to buy me stuff.

    That said, if you have to send them gift suggestions, I don’t think it would be in poor taste for you to send them your Amazon list.

  8. Jamie says:

    i send out an email just after thanksgiving to family members each details when we will have my oldest daughter for the holiday so when we will be available to meet with THEM, and also what each kid is in to, along with gift suggestions for jason and myself…my mom gives out money, jason’s folks give us small gifts and money…my dad does gift cards…i don’t think that asking for money as an adult is a bad thing, it’s practical and makes sense

  9. Vic says:

    After my mum bought me Bridget Jones’s Diary on dvd one Christmas I’ve done a list – this year it’s all come from amazon, complete with links to the individual products. She asks, I tell and then she asks where she can get it and where’s cheapest. It’s the same every year. The rest of the family ask and I tell them just to check in with mum. It seems to work well.
    Of course my borther and sister ignore the list and go their own way, and thta’s fine too – they always come up with some groovy stuff.

  10. SciFi Dad says:

    We (my wife and I) aren’t exchanging gifts this year, just stockings. We’ve also asked our parents for money to cover expenses (mostly the repairs to our basement) and they seem OK with it. Few others buy us gifts (actually this year, just my SIL) since everyone else buys for our kids and we buy for them (if childless) or their kids.

  11. NYCWD says:

    I have a standing order for underwear and socks from my mom.

    Otherwise… I’m pretty hopeless in asking for anything. There’s really nothing I want or need.

    Except underwear and socks.

  12. FyreGoddess says:

    A couple of years ago I set up a kind of hidden link on my blog of all my wishlist kind of stuff. It’s not obvious to my readers, but it is there and I can link friends and family *who ask* to it.

    It starts with my Amazon wish list, gives a list of stores where a gift card would be appreciated/used, and has a list of actual things that I need or want. I also have a list of things that I also want/appreciate that aren’t necessarily a one-time thing (example: I’m a bath person, so bath salts, bath beads, etc. are always welcome). I update it periodically throughout the year because a month before any present-giving situation, I forget everything that I wanted up to that point in time.

    It really makes it easier for everyone that way because I have an simple link I can send out that I know is pretty much up-to-date and none of it is specific to being purchased at Amazon. I also have a wide enough variety of things that it spans price ranges so even if, say, I were participating in a Secret Santa thing, whoever drew my name would find good ideas for cheap gifts, or even stocking stuffer type stuff.

  13. ali says:

    my stepmom likes to have her shopping DONE by october…yes, she’s crazy. and she forces us to send her lists…which isn’t esy because i have to do one for me, plus one for each of the kids. sheesh! hello, amazon wish list!

  14. I don’t but it would be nice to actually get stuff I want for once.

    BTW, I’ve got the onion chopper. It kicks ass.

  15. Lilseed says:

    This post spoke to me on so many levels! I absolutely hate the “what do you want” question for any gift-giving occasion, but especially Christmas. Why is it that the people who are supposed to be closest to me always ask this? Aren’t they supposed to know me and what I would want, need, or like?

    My husband’s family is awful during Christmas. Everyone has to have a list and gifts are expected. My family doesn’t expect me to get them anything (even though I do). Hubby’s family, even his parents, list what they want each year. Yes, this makes gift-giving to them easier, but isn’t a little presumptuous for PARENTS to expect and almost demand presents from their children?

    Anyway, enough of my Christmas rant. I do the Amazon list because it is pretty much demanded by others that I have some kind of list of things I want. In the past, I’ve done small lists and end up with EXACTLY what’s on the list. What fun is that? They might as well not even bother wrapping.

    This year I made a huge Amazon list so there is no way I am getting everything. It will be interesting to see what people chose off my list.

  16. McKenzie says:

    After my mother died my father INSISTED that we keep an updated Amazon wish list. So that way he doesn’t have to put much thought into Christmas/Birhtdays and he can ship directly to our houses. This list has come in handy with my in laws demanding a list. I casusally mention an item I want but forget the brand name and then say Oh it is on my Amazon wish list. Having the lists also helps me buy for my sibilings as well. I say go for it tell them about your list that way even if they won’t shell out cash at least you get what you want.

  17. Burgh Baby says:

    I hate doing lists. HATE them. Every year my in-laws ask for them, and every year I whine as I put one together. This year, however, they didn’t ask. Turns out they are planning to send cash because they won’t be home for Christmas and don’t want to pay for postage to send anything. The only thing I hate more than lists is getting cash. Seriously, I want to open a present and be surprised. Dammit.

  18. Katie says:

    Months before Christmas, I remind my family that I have a WishPot ( account. They seem to enjoy knowing exactly what I want, and I don’t feel like I’m begging for things right before Christmas.

  19. Amanda says:

    My brother and I both do Amazon wishlists for our family, they appreciate the convenience. We’ve always made lists, since we were kids, now it’s just on the internet instead of hand written.

  20. You want Beaches and the complete works of Shakespeare…that’s awesome ;)

  21. I clicked on your wish list and I couldn’t get past your birthday. Is it really January 17th? That is my daughter’s birthday and the day after my son’s. If so, I will never ever forget your birthday.

    My inlaws make me tell them what to get my kids. Which starts the dance of me trying to figure out how much they want to spend. I don’t want to look like a greedy bitch, but I also can’t stand when I give them ideas and they ask for more because it isn’t “enough”. Every year I end up exhausted from finding all the gifts for them to buy while they get all the praise from my kids for buying them the gifts. I count myself lucky that they do want to be generous with my kids, but if they could make some effort on their own, I’d appreciate it a lot more!

  22. Finn says:

    Ask for the money if that’s what you want. Or for Visa or Amex gift cards. After years of “Oh… that’s nice,” from me, my mother just gives me a big fat Visa gift card for Christmas, which is perfect every time.

    If they won’t send money and insist on a list — send a list with the furniture on it, airline tickets, whatever it is you wanted the cash for.

    I’m going to hell, aren’t I?

  23. Coma Girl says:

    Yup! I love I send it to my husband and family every year.

  24. Miss Britt says:

    avitable: oh. yes. Thank you. I’m going to take etiquette tips from the greediest fucker I know.

    Danalyn: me too. And my parents are cool with that. I’m sure it’s not FUN for them, but they’re putting their efforts into preparing for our visit.

    I think Jared’s parents are just really, really uncomfortable with that idea.

    Redneck Mommy: I usually use Adam’s list for ideas to get my 8 year old son. Or some random preteen girl I know.

    hello haha narf: what do you suppose is the limit on that before you have to cave and start giving actual gift ideas? This year I went with 3 times.

    floating princess: I hate getting stuck on gift ideas. I really would much rather give personalized gifts whenever possible so it bugs the crap out of me when I have a mental block.

    rebturtle: I, personally, think I’m an awesome gift giver. :-)

    I wonder how one verifies that…

    Maria : why did I not think of this SEVERAL WEEKS AGO?!?!?!?

    Jamie: oh I am so not – nor will I ever be – that organized. Good for you, woman! Wow.

    Vic: my mom would never, ever buy off a list. She’s always just SURE she knows the PERFECT thing for you. She’s right about.. eh… 50% of the time. Which isn’t bad. And the thought, at least, is ALWAYS there.

    SciFi Dad: the only people I’ll be getting actual “gifts” from this year are my husband’s parents. For all of those exact same reasons.

    NYCWD: I have this strange urge to buy you underwear now.

    It’s almost… like… I’m being compelled…

    FyreGoddess: I’d never be able to pull that off. I’d get antsy and buy the stuff I really wanted myself. LOL

    ali: wish list for the kids. My God, that is BRILLIANT!! And would solve grandparents getting duplicate gifts!

    always home and uncool: I have been coveting that for YEARS.

    And do you know I didn’t ask for it when they asked what I wanted? *sigh*

    Lilseed: hahahhahaha – I’m glad someone else has all the crazy gift issues I do!

    McKenzie: see, and I don’t care so much about getting what I want. Maybe because I can usually get myself what I want if I *really* want it. To me, receiving a gift is more about someone knowing me, caring about me, and doing something nice for me than it is actually *getting* anything anyway.

    Burgh Baby: how can you hate cash?!?!?!?!?!?

    Katie: I’ve never heard of wishpot. Will have to check that out.

    Amanda: I don’t think we EVER made lists as kids.

    Maybe poor kids just don’t do that. LOL

    Princess of the Universe: heart AND brains, baby! Or, um, a big soppy sentimental mess. Whatever. :-)

    radioactivegirltori: no, that’s my made up birthday I tell the internet in order to protect my secret identity. :-P

    YES – that’s my REAL birthday. Silly.

    Finn: well, the problem is that you can’t really bring furniture home with you on the plane. Or mortgages, unfortunately.

    I think they are trying to preserve their tradition, actually. Of opening presents together, etc. etc. etc. It’s not always EASIEST for me – but I guess I can sympathize with the sentiment.

    Coma Girl: I would be so hurt if my husband needed a wish list. (See sappy sentimental mess comments above. LOL)

  25. Psshh. I only made an Amazon wish list because Adam made me. But then I made Becky make one and I made Sarah update hers because, even though I know what they like, I don’t know what they already have. If I see you often enough to know what you like or already have, I buy you whatever I damned well please.

    And it’s perfectly fine to ask for money to help pay your way home – that’s like them buying a present for themselves because I’m sure they’re all very happy you get to come home, right?

    We always just tell my husbands parents money – last year we used it to buy diapers. This year, we’re hoping to actually be able to do something fun with it.

  26. Dawn says:

    We don’t celebrate Christmas, but that question comes up at every birthday, every anniversary, every Valentine’s Day, etc… And it goes both ways: I ask and get asked.

    I’d much prefer to get something that I actually want than have to fake glee. I don’t know how to fake glee. I can’t. I won’t.

    I don’t think it’s a bad idea AT ALL to give someone a list if they ask. And even if they don’t. Nor do I think it’s wrong to say, “Cash never goes out of style…”

  27. steen says:

    My in-laws demand a Christmas list from us each year. The first couple of years before I was married was awkward; I didn’t want to ask for anything outrageously expensive so I filled my list with little things I didn’t really need or want.

    And then I discovered and add stuff throughout the year that I see online. I send that to them. Also, by now, they know which places we like getting gift cards for and have a general idea of what to get us so my list is more of a suggestion anymore.

    Gift cards are a good way to get out of cash. Except when you need cash to, like, pay bills and stuff like insurance deductibles. It sucks that cash has become taboo for Christmas because, really, it’s a great all-purpose gift.

  28. just beth says:

    I feel you, for sure. I try to just pick something easy, early on, to have in mind for when anyone asks.

    i go for books, because, well, I love books and I know they’re not expensive and easy to bring on the plane.



  29. My mother requests a wish list from my brother and I and we put outlandish shit all over it. Student loans paid in full, this year I asked for a bright orange Prius, my rbother for a 2008 midnight blue Camaro. You could ask your family to go in on a plane ticket home?

  30. Honestly, I just tell them that spending time with them is all I want. I do not *need* anything, and if they insist, I ignore their attempts.

    Good luck getting money. I think that is one thing EVERYONE is short on this year!

  31. Donna says:

    Don’t think of it as a buy me this list. Think of it as the list of stuff that I really want and if you want to know what to get without having to ask then look at the list. That’s why I set mine up. When everyone asks what I want, I tell them either check out the Amazon wish list or check out my projects on my blogs and if they can contribute anything to help me accomplish those goals then to feel free. (It’s a shameless self promotion for me to have them check out the blog, what can I say?)

  32. Allyson says:

    It’s perfectly ok to email them an amazon wishlist, if they ask you for specific gift ideas. If they’re looking for general ideas so they can surprise you, then you say stuff like “I like vampire books.” Or, “I look completely awesome in rock’n’roll hats.” Or, “Lately, all I can think about is how I’m going to recover from the $500 insurance deductible, so please, just something small. I feel so guilty owning expensive things, when I’m struggling to pay the bills.”

  33. twinkie says:

    Christmas is soooooooo impersonal .. at least to me. It seems like greed overtakes anything else and sometimes you spend forever trying to find the “perfect” gift and you think you did great then they open it and you can tell by the look in their eyes they don’t like it.

    Another thought I had is people keep saying that Jesus is the reason for the season but if you really think about it, Jesus was just an afterthought and added only so that Christians could celebrate the soltice without feeling like pagans.

    Gifts are the reason for the season. haha.. I know, I know… bitter much? I can’t wait till this joyous holiday is over.

    bah humbug

  34. Crys says:

    money comes in pretty handy down here, bub.

  35. Sybil Law says:

    I’ll send you $500, and you send me $500. Okay?! Then we’re both happy!
    Your wishlist has me confused. So, you LIKE cooking? After that guacamole disaster, I just assumed you didn’t!
    You NEED that hanging potrack, though. It’s awesome. :)

  36. no limit for me. i if tell you that i want what you want me to have and you give me nothing, then i know what you want me to have. there is nothing i need. if you are buying me a present then you should know what i would like or want.

    yes, i am that much of a bitch about presents, i know. sigh.

  37. Deidre says:

    I hate that question too!

    You could ask for new chairs, no? Or a gift certificate to your favorite hair retailer?

  38. Deidre says:

    That should have been chair, apologies.

  39. Janelle says:

    Not having read everyone else comments, I’m with Adam on this one.

    If I’m gonna spend MY money to buy YOU a gift, I don’t want to waste MY money buying you something that A) you already have or B) you don’t want.

    I’d rather KNOW what you want vs. guessing. I’m good at mind reading- though I do try!

    If I can’t afford anything on your list, I know that “Hey, I can get Miss Britt a gift card that she can put towards something that she does want.”

    And when people ask, “What do you want?” And you just spent thousands of dollars on plane tickets, saying, “Well mom and pop, I just spend thousands of dollars on plane tickets. Money is the best gift right now as we will have to eat again once we get back to Florida.” Ok, something like that.

    Ask for what you want Britt or you won’t get what you want. :)

  40. Mr Farty says:

    Since you asked, Zoe at My Boyfriend Is A Twat keeps a wishlist on her blog. It seems to be working quite well.

    As for me, I have a blog – what more could anyone want?

  41. J... says:

    When my MIL was alive, everyone gave her a list every year because she bought presents for all of her kids, their spouses and every one of their children (and spouses and their children where applicable). It’s hard to know what that many people are into when some of us just don’t like the same things.

    My husband and I exchange lists usually but to be used as more of an idea list than an actual “buy me this exact thing at this exact store” list. I can’t keep track of what he has and what he needs for tools in his garage and he can’t keep track of what books I have or have not purchased lately. The lists make it easier to not have to take something back.

    I actually prefer money or gift cards over presents because then I get what I want and have the experience of shopping for it (meaning a day out!) and I always use it to buy something that I wouldn’t normally spend the money on so that it is still a present to me. I don’t think it’s bad to ask for money if someone really wants to know what to get you.

  42. Loralee says:

    I am so bah-humbug this year that I just bought my first gifts yesterday for my kids. The thought of what to get everyone else makes me want to curl up and die.

    I would throw cash at anyone to avoid the shopping, so I think we are fairly matching in the “Vibe” category with this one.

  43. Courtney says:

    My family asks for a Christmas list now, too. Same goes here – I could use the money way more than I could use a bunch of gifts. I try to write thing down year round so I can give them a nice fat list with lots of price ranges and I can still be surprised. Sort of.

  44. I always, always ask for £1 Million, well, it’s what I want. OK, I asked for a FM transmitter for my Ipod this year, that was a bit greedy and complicated.

    I should have just asked for £1,000,019.99.

  45. That very sentence makes my skin crawl. EVERY YEAR. We’re required by hubby’s family, to make a list and have it ready by Thanksgiving. Its nice, in a sense, that I can tell them exactly what I’d like my kids to get (and feel comfortable saying things like, “DON’T get them cars – they have hundreds!”) but its hard to make myself a list.

    Honestly, I make up a list of crap, too. If I were truthful, it would contain vacuum cleaners and other household products. I’d rather shop for the fun stuff (and sweaters I’ll actually wear) myself.

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