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Don’t Ask Me What I Want For Christmas. But I Still Expect A Gift!

Christmas presents
Image CreditRavi Shah/Flickr / CC by 2.0

Some people really need to hear this: You’re sucking all the joy out of Christmas gift-giving by asking everyone what they want!

With a few exceptions, nobody should be asking anyone what they want for Christmas. Conversely, nobody should be requesting specific items they’d like to receive. The people who do are just as bad.

Obviously I’m talking about adults. Children are different and Christmas for them is, at least in part, about receiving things they’ve desired and get to have during a special time.

Adults aren’t the same. Adults have jobs. Adults have money. When adults want things, they save up and purchase them. (Or finance them.)

Everything I want, I have. And if I don’t, it’s certainly not appropriate for me to ask that someone else get it for me, even if a person extended an invitation with a question like, “What can I get you for Christmas?”

In any event, it defeats the whole point of a “gift.” A gift is something thoughtful presented with love from one person to another. If you want to give a present, it’s because you’ve thought of something special for someone else — something you’ve noticed they don’t have and might appreciate or need. Explicitly asking requires no sentiment nor effort whatsoever. It’s lazy and empty.

And receiving gifts isn’t supposed to feel like an entitlement. It’s supposed to be a delight and a surprise that someone else spent time and money on presenting you with something, whether it’s jewelry they’ve seen you admire or a framed photo of the two of you for the sake of memories.

Those are real gifts. A thing that’s asked for and received isn’t a gift, it’s a completed order no different than an alert that your Amazon shipment has arrived.

I hope everyone gets something they love this year. I just hope they didn’t know it was coming.

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