• Mon, Nov 29 2010

There is a Time to Stop Making Holiday Wish Lists, and That Time is Now

It’s the holidays, right? And that means not only buying gifts for your friends and loved ones, but having your friends and loved ones buy you gifts as well.

When you were a kid, maybe you drew up a color-coded list of all the toys you wanted, from Barbie to G.I. Joe to beanie babies or whatever. And at that time, you were just so adorable with your little list.

But you’re not five anymore, and you don’t depend entirely on your parents for money unless you’re in high school, and maybe college. And as such, drawing up an unsolicited list and sending it to your family is greedy and childish, and I think you should stop.

Now, before you go crying into the corner huddled around your list and cursing me out, let me make a few stipulations. If lists are a tradition in your family, and everybody sends one to everybody else, I’m not talking about you. And if — although this is a fine line for me — your mother calls you and asks you what you want and you tell her, I’m most of the time also not talking about you, unless you use that opportunity to naively request something that costs more than she can afford.

Because here’s the thing. When you were a kid, you likely didn’t understand the concept of money, and so getting gifts for the holidays was like some kind of wonderful magic, in which you simply asked and they appeared. (This was not true for me since I am a Jew and we don’t have Santa Claus, so my gifts came with the name of the actual person that bought them, but I still didn’t think much until I was older about how much money was spent.)

Well, all that’s changed now. You know how much rent costs, you know how much groceries cost, and you know how much your parents spent to raise your ass. And that means that you know how much your gift list would cost, and unless all you have on there is socks and pencils, it’s probably more than your parents (and definitely your friends) should be spending on you at this stage of the game.

Also, I know that this will wound you, but these days none of us should expect a gift from anyone other than our significant other. Sure, your parents will get you something, and some of your friends will too. But we’re beyond the stage where we get gifts from everyone we know just because we’re so goddamned adorable…and it’s time, readers, to accept that fact.

So if your parents or friends or relatives ask what you want, go ahead and tell them (you have my blessing), but make it a reasonable request (“I’d love a scarf!”).  If they don’t ask, take what they give you, say thank you, and be proud of yourself for having a job that allows you to go out and buy what you want.

And now, look at you! You’re a grown-up. Mazel tov, and that might just be…the biggest gift of all.

From Our Partners

Share This Post:
  • Lindsay Cross

    You made me nervous for a minute there, Jessica. My mother hounds us for a list so that she knows what to buy, because she will always buy something. But we try to be reasonable in our lists and never ask for more than she’ll be spending. Since my mom and I both work out Christmas budgets, I know what that limit is. (Yes, I have a Christmas budget. I also have a dozen nieces and nephews, a budget is necessary.) I’m glad that I’m one of the exceptions though. I hope that means that I’m still a grown up.