The Evolution of My Wish List

When I was a child, I hate to admit it but I was pretty greedy with gifts. My parents would ask me for a wish list each November, and I would give them more than just a list. I would open up the Wish Book (the Sears Christmas catalogue) and pour over the pages with excitement. I’d start with a list of roughly 100 things I wanted, and would only whittle it down to about 30 or so because my parents told me that my list was too long. When sending in a letter to Santa I remember having too many clippings from the Wish Book to fit into my envelope at least a few times. The funny part was despite that fact I didn’t usually get much from my list, I still would make one regardless. I wanted as many toys and games as I could possibly get.

As a teenager my wants got a bit more expensive. Making very little money was enough to buy myself a bit of clothing but I still wanted expensive hair straighteners, a cell phone, and brand name clothing. I definitely felt the pressure to fit in during high school which was fulfilled by wearing all of the ridiculously overpriced clothing that my friends wore. My Christmas list went way down in size because I knew I could only ask for so much when each gift cost close to $100.

In college and university the reality of being a broke post-secondary student hit me hard. My Christmas list was to have my phone bill for a few months taken care of or cold, hard cash that could get me through a few months a bit easier. Nothing says “the spirit of giving” like asking your parents for money.

For the past few years whenever my family starts to ask me what I’d like to receive for Christmas, my mind goes blank. It takes me days to think of things and all I think of are items that I need for my house. When I was younger my least favourite gifts were the ones that were useful and these days I get excited at the thought of getting a good vacuum or cast-iron pan for Christmas. At the same time, if I don’t get anything it won’t bother me because I know that I can eventually save up and get it for myself anyway.

I’m not sure when it all happened but as you age Christmas really does become more about family and friends than it does about gifts and spending money . That’s why I don’t mind not being able to get amazing gifts for my family due to money constraints. There were several years that I couldn’t afford to get them anything, and they didn’t even bat an eye. In fact, they encouraged me not to worry about it and go into even more debt just for the sake of a gift. The holidays can be celebrated just as happily frugally so don’t worry if you can’t afford everything you wish you could do or get for others. Money does not dictate how much fun you will have or how much you care about your family and friends.

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Comments

  1. My mind has always gone blank when it comes to my Christmas wishlist. All of my friends and family have ALWAYS complained about that because it’s nearly impossible to get me a gift haha.

  2. Oh man, the Wish Book… I did so many imaginary shopping sprees with that. I circled EVERYTHING.

  3. I always struggle to come up with something I want for Christmas. I usually just default to something boring like a new pair of pants or a package of socks (I really love new socks). I know it drives my family nuts, but I don’t really want/need much. I told my wife that when I say I don’t really want anything to go ahead and not get me anything and I would be fine with that, but she doesn’t believe me.

    • Socks are great to get ! For some reason I never think to buy myself any, I just wear unmatched socks full of holes until I get some new ones as a gift. And although you really don’t care if you get anything, it’s a nice feeling to get your significant other something so there probably won’t ever be a year she’ll take you up on that. :P

  4. “The holidays can be celebrated just as happily frugally so don’t worry if you can’t afford everything you wish you could do or get for others. Money does not dictate how much fun you will have or how much you care about your family and friends” I could not agree more, money should not decide whether or not you can have fun…especially at this time of year.

    • Yes! I think that people stress out so much about the money aspect, when nobody really cares about presents much anyway. I never want anyone to feel pressure to get me something they can’t afford, and I have decided not to feel that way about anyone else either!

  5. “I’m not sure when it all happened but as you age Christmas really does become more about family and friends than it does about gifts and spending money.” So very true! I love just being with my family more than anything :)

  6. Ah, the Sears Wishbook. I remember spending many a year pouring over that catalogue looking for Christmas suggestions! Actually, I relate to everything you’ve described at the different age ranges. I think it’s probably a pretty typical progression to be honest.

    • Well I’m glad to hear that, I was feeling like a greedy, grubby handed child for sure ! But I think most children probably just aren’t mentally matured and developed enough to not want everything!

  7. I still get small gifts from my relatives and I feel very bad not giving them anything or at least sending a thank-you card. Some of them I haven’t seen since I was a child.

    I do think the whole gift thing is pointless. The Black Friday thing in the U.S. is pretty out of control.

    I don’t feel bad for enjoying nice things. It’s not about the object. It’s about the happiness a person gets from having something nice. I try to think of it that way. I don’t think it’s bad or greedy to enjoy nice things.

    That said, being overly materialistic isn’t good.

    • Oh for sure. I don’t think it’s bad at all to enjoy material objects. I agree with you, simply that it’s not what’s important and if you truly can’t do the Christmas gift thing, you shouldn’t feel obligated to.

  8. I am difficult to buy for because as you said, my mind just goes blank when I’m asked what I would like to receive. At this point I really don’t want a whole lot of stuff as I enjoy living simply. Instead I really treasure experiences and time spent with my loved ones.

    • The minimalist in me wants to tell everyone “don’t buy me _____” because I hate clutter and useless items even more-so now, but I think that would be bordering on rude! haha The experiences are amazing, especially at the holidays when even the far away family can often make a trip to visit (in my case at least).

  9. I actually laughed when I read this post. It reminded me a little bit of myself. You are so right about the gifts. It becomes more about the things I need than luxury items. And the older you get the more realize the time spent with family is one of the greatest gifts. It is irreplacable.

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