Sunday, December 07, 2008

Managed Gift Giving

I participate in the annual gift giving of the holidays. And whoever says it is better to give than receive, is probably lying – it is always better to receive.

Though I’ve learned the secret to getting what you want, and ensuring you give what others want too. I call it managed gift giving, and it is really easy to do.
All I do, is I create separate lists of the things I want or need for those who typically give me gifts every year – like my immediate family and friends. Then, I ask those same people what exactly they want or need, and make my own list of things for them, based on their responses.

I’ve tried to get others to give me lists, and for the most part, they either forget, or say they never can figure out what they want. That’s why I just ask people what they want or need. It is easier for me to get them thinking about what they want by talking with them, rather than leaving them to create their own lists.

Though I always create my own lists and give them out to others. This way, I don’t have to take anything back, or worse, do the dreaded re-gifting thing.

Re-gifting is always dangerous, because any gift you didn’t value enough to give away, may easily end up back in the hands of the very same person who gave you the gift in the first place! It’s true – if you don’t value a gift enough to keep it, you probably will forget who gave it to you in the first place, unless of course, it really was an awful gift.

You might be thinking now, that by giving a list of potential gifts ruins any chance of a surprise. Right?


I make a list of possible gifts, and tell those I give these things to they don’t have to get anything or everything off the list, it’s just a guide post, to give them ideas about the types of things I’m looking for. Though, because shopping for someone else can be quite tedious and not always easy, most people will stick to the list. And because I don’t know what on the list they will give me, it is always a surprise.

Though sometimes I can’t surprise everyone on my holiday gift giving list. Sometimes, people don’t give me enough to go on, so I have to get the one or two items which they mention, and that means they know pretty much what I’m giving them. I like it when people give me a long list of stuff – a list too long for me to get everything on. This way, I can really surprise them.

Managing gift giving is the best way to give gifts – and not just during the holidays. When birthdays and other events happen throughout the year where gifts are required, I always ask people what they want or need. This way, they get what they want, rather than me having to try and figure it out.

And this also means I never give the worst gift of all – money or gift cards. Giving a gift card or money says to the person you’re giving the gift to that you really don’t care about them. It shows that you really don’t know that person well enough to be giving a gift in the first place.

Though I suppose asking someone what they want takes out some of the guesswork too, but at least there aren’t any nasty surprises.

I shouldn’t get polka dot underwear, or some weird funky furry steering wheel cover or something, because people know what I want or need – just as I know what they want or need too.

Managed gift giving works – try it this year.

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