Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Forget "Hinting Season"! My NO-FAIL Strategy For Gift Giving (And Getting) This Holiday Season

I see that “Hinting Season” is trending on Twitter today and I'm assuming this is where you hint about what you want for the holidays. The problem is:

Hints may not be strong enough for someone who's oblivious (albeit well-intending) because no matter how much you hint, you may still not get what you want. 

This is what I got when I hinted for a Valentine's Day Gift - SO UNROMANTIC!

I learned this years ago when I hinted to my new husband that I wanted something cute, practical, and unique for Valentine's Day. I don't remember what I was after, but I know what I got: a set of 3 canisters in the shape of geese.  It was probably the most unromantic gift anyone had ever given me but, in his mind, it fit the bill. They were cute, it was practical, and the set was certainly unique. I, however, wasn't too pleased. 

That was when I came up with this shamelessly brilliant way for someone to get the gifts they want. Now, everyone in the family uses it. Here's how it works:

1.  Have the person you're giving to make a list of the 7 or so things that they want, kind of like a gift registry. If I'm the receiver and see those things in the stores, I take pictures and IM them to him along with the store name, location in the store (very important!), price, item number (if possible), etc. If they're in a catalog or sales circular, I give my husband the catalog/circular with all of the data circled. If our budget is tight, I make sure that some items are far cheaper than others; this also helps for when the kids want to buy stuff with their own money. Tip: keep a back-up of all this stuff, if possible. Oblivious or super-busy people tend to lose things. 

2.  The receiver MUST give as much information on those items as possible!   This HAS to be  fool-proof; otherwise, the receiver cannot blame the giver for not trying.  

The brilliance comes in the fact that the receiver does, indeed, want every item on that list even though they know they're not going to get them all. But there's absolutely no guessing involved on the part of the giver!   Short of taking his hand and leading him to the merchandise, there's nothing he has to do but fetch. And, since I, as the receiver, don't know which items I'm getting, it's still a surprise to me. It's sort of like Santa's list but far more precise. 

This is great, too, for when hubby takes the kids shopping with him. All he has to do is show a item to my daughter and, like the budding shop-a-holic she is, she finds it (of course, at her age, it's impossible for her to keep it a secret).

Do I, as the receiver, care that I know how much something costs? No! Does this rob the giver finding someone “the perfect gift”? Yes, but personally, I'd rather get someone what they want than risk spending my time and creative juices on something they're going to hate and have to take back. Is this concept too bold, too nervy? Possibly, but not if you ask the givers (and receivers) what they think about the concept ahead of time. I mean, I'd never presume someone was going to get me a gift. 

It's been a successful method for us for the last 15 years or so and, like a gift registry, it makes sure that we get what we want, don't waste money on items that are unappreciated, and makes shopping far easier and less of a wild goose chase. 

Discuss it with your loved ones, give it a shot and see if this strategy works for you. 

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