How to Create an Excellent Holiday Wish List

by RebeccaRizzuti

The holidays are coming, and your friends and family want to get you the perfect gift. Help them out by putting together a wishlist that makes their job easier!

The holidays approach: Rapidly. Before you know it, Hanukkah, Yule, and Christmas will be upon us, and family and friends will scramble to decide what to get for everyone on their wish list. Shopping can be an enjoyable experience, but it can also be stressful if you don't know what to buy for your favorite people on your list. A wishlist eases the burden on your loved ones and gives them an idea of what you want and need this holiday season. So if you don't want one more ugly sweater to add to the pile (or if you do!), this guide should help you to decide what does and does not belong on your list this year.

How to Make a Christmas Wishlist
How to Make a Christmas Wishlist

Why Should You Make a Holiday Wish List?

Even Adults Should Do It!

Every year around this time, my mother asks me for a Christmas List. She's been doing it since I was a little girl. And every year I struggle to come up with ideas for what I should put onto a wish list. Most years, I've neglected to give her the finished copy of the list. After all, I'm an adult, and by now, she ought to know me well enough to pick something out.

My husband is one of those people who hates to give wish lists at the holidays. In his mind, if you know him well, you should be able to buy the perfect gift without his help. Unfortunately, this means that he gets the same tired things every year for Christmas, and most years he walks away from the holiday disappointed even in my gifts.

Oh! How I wish that he'd simplify things for me and tell me what he wants!

To answer the question of why you should create a holiday wishlist, because it makes it easier on your loved ones. 

Can you think of anything more disappointing on a holiday (whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or Yule), than seeing that look of disappointment cross your spouse's face when the thing in the package doesn't meet the expectation and the build up to the holiday? Your wish list prevents this from happening to the people you love because it gives them an idea of the sorts of things that you want!

A wish list doesn't mean that the person giving you a gift has to buy something on the list: It merely gives them an idea of the sorts of things that interest you and allows them to choose something appropriate. They may choose to buy something on your list, but they don't have to choose something on your list. 

Write Holiday Wishlists with Pen and Paper
Write Holiday Wishlists with Pen and Paper

Write it with Pen and Paper

For the Technologically Illiterate

These days, it's easy to put together an online wishlist with a service such as Amazon. I keep a running wishlist that I clear out every month or so (removing things I've purchased for myself or have obtained as gifts) and share that via my blogs. This wishlist is public and my fans and followers can purchase from it if they like. 

I don't share this wishlist with family and friends. It's meant as a reminder to me of where I want to go, personal goals, and an opportunity for my fans and followers to support my reading or crafting habits if they wish to do so. It's a way to connect, and perhaps a way to be just a little bit greedy.

The important list -- the one I want to tell you about now -- is the one that I write out by hand with pen and paper every year. 

Admit it: There's something special about paper with real ink on it, hand written by the person who gives it to you. Don't you love to receive personalized letters? They lose something when they're printed from a computer, or if they're stored on a cloud or device.

A good holiday wishlist should be written by hand.

Don't slack about this. Sit down when you have some time, pick up your favorite pen and a sheet of lined paper (to make it easier for yourself, or unlined if you're confident in your penmanship!) and write out your list, one item per line.

This will make the list more personal. Yes, it means that you have to copy it for every person who needs the list. Save a copy for yourself so that if anyone else asks for a list you can copy it by hand for anyone who wants the list.

Parents in particular will appreciate this, especially if they don't use Amazon or the internet regularly!


What to Include on Your Holiday Wishlist

Everything You Want, in a Variety of Price Ranges

My biggest problem every single year is what do I put on my holiday wishlist? The question crops up every time if this or that item is "too expensive" and whether or not I'd actually expect someone to spend that kind of money on me. In my immediate family, we have a budget for each of the four of us, and that budget goes toward each person as though from a fifth, outside party (think "Santa").

For people outside of our immediate family, however, there are limitations on what people can afford, or what we've decided will be the annual budget for gift-giving.

You should, therefore, add a number of choices to your wish list in various price categories. For example, I love books, and I may include a collection of books (or boxed sets) that I'd like to have. These generally cost less than $20 and make great selections for people on a limited budget. Movies and music come in the same budget range, and you should consider including at least a few of these "small ticket" items to your holiday wishlist this year.

I am firmly of the belief that you should consider the price tag of the items you're including on your wish list, and potentially break the list down into different price categories for those who request it. This will make their lives easier, and that's the purpose of the wish list.

Bear in mind that your list isn't intended to get you everything you want and make your dreams come true: It's intended to help others decide what you might like to get for the special occasion.

Create your list in a way that allows people to choose something similar to, or related to, the things that you've listed. For example, if I list a Canon EOS Rebel camera, the people reading my list may not be able to afford the price tag, but will know I have an interest in photography, and may choose photo albums, scrapbooks, photo frames, or even a point-and-shoot camera or camera bag as an alternative.

How to Make a Holiday Wishlist
How to Make a Holiday Wishlist

Consider Items Related to Your Hobbies

I started this article, in part, because I'd been writing a blog post about the best gifts to give to people who love to read. That post makes a point about choosing items (as the giver) that relate to the primary interest being discussed: Reading. 

When looking for items for my best friend (who is an avid reader) for Christmas, I try to consider things which relate to her interest in books. A nice, comfy chair to curl up in when reading, a special mug for her coffee or tea while she reads, a cozy blanket to wrap herself up in: These all make wonderful, supplementary gifts without even touching the books themselves.

This is the way I feel you should approach the creation of your wish list.

Reading is one of my hobbies. My wish list includes the comfy chair, the cozy sherpa blanket, the mug, the warm socks. I don't expect everyone to buy me books: Duplicates are too likely, for one, and for another, people can be sensitive not only about what they read, but about what other people read as well. 

Most hobbies provide supplemental materials that relate to those hobbies. If you're interested in photography, you could put a camera on your wish list, but you may also want to include photo albums, acid-free paper, or scrapbooking supplies. None of these is dependent upon the camera: What good is a tripod if you don't have the camera to put it on? Each of them relates to the primary interest and provides options for the giver in a variety of different price ranges.

Then, if a mysterious and jolly fat man comes down the chimney with the SLR camera of your dreams, you're lucky and pleased, but not disappointed because you didn't get anything related to your hobby.

Do you keep a holiday wishlist?

But Please Remember...

It's not about receiving...

Put together a wishlist for those who request it -- someone is sure to this holiday season! But keep in mind that the spirit of the season is in giving, and not in receiving. Don't be disappointed if you don't receive everything that you put on your wish list. There's always next year, or maybe something more expensive that you can work toward. 

Focus, instead, on giving the best gifts you can for your loved ones this year. Whatever you receive -- especially those special things that you really wanted -- will be something remarkable, surprising, and extra on top of the joy of giving.

Updated: 10/26/2015, RebeccaRizzuti
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