Are you a "List" Person or a "Surprise Me" Person?

Ahh, the holiday season is upon us. It brings with it the cheerful laughter of children and the lilting “chi-ching” of cash registers. Gift giving is right around the corner!

When receiving a gift:

Do you like to give people a list of what you want or do you want to open gifts completely unaware of what might be inside?

When giving a gift:

Do you prefer to give someone exactly what they want or do you enjoy the creative challenge of picking out something you think they’ll adore?

Me? I like the surprise gift. I’d like to think that anyone I’m giving a gift to is familiar enough to me that I’ll know their style and preference. I might be a tad off on size, but it will usually be within the realm of FABULOUS to the receiver.

Likewise with receiving gifts. I want to think the person knows me well enough to know that I don’t wear plaid and kitchen appliances will probably go unused.

How’s about you??

When receiving a gift, i prefer to be surprised. because its the best kind of gift when you are genuinely surprised by something you wanted or that someone thought that as soon as they saw the gift, they thought of me.

Same thing with giving. 9 out of 10, I will buy what the person **wants ** or what i think suits that person.

this is going to sound bad, but i hate gifts that weren’t thought out. and i hate when people buy things they they think i need, like bedsheets and towels.

and i think gifts, especially birthday gifts, should be what that person wants as opposed to need. gifts that they wouldnt necessarily buy for themselves. those are the best kinds.
unless i ask you specifically for them, don’t buy it. especially when its not a gift where the need was painfully obvious.

I like the lists because people are terribly prone to buying me crap. I like being surprised when the present’s good. I’m also a dick.

I’m flexible.

When I’m giving: I love to come up with surprises. I’m good at it. I listen for hints or desires all year, I plan what sort of things to get for weeks ahead of time, and I take my time getting stuff. I’ve never yet had anyone give me a list and demand something from it, but I’d respect their wishes if so.

When I’m receiving: Many people who give me gifts want lists, and I’m more than happy to make lists. I tend to come up with far more items than I’d actually receive and let people surprise me from a big pool. My mother, for example, always wants to know what I want, and that’s fine.

I do like to be surprised – if the person is good at deciding on presents. My wife is good at surprises, but her mother is horrible at it. Horrible. But she doesn’t want to buy stuff from a list, either, so it’s kind of the worst of both worlds. Not that it’s torture or anything, but I feel bad that I think I’ve given away ASAP any gift that my MIL has gotten for me. Not because I don’t like her, but because they’re wildly off base.

What I really don’t like about this is the waste of money. I can express enthusiasm, and I am happy to receive the gifts. But ye gods, she’s a horrible gift-giver.

There’s no gift better than a perfect surprise gift. But almost any gift, including gift certificates or cash, is preferable to a poorly chosen surprise gift. So working from a list tends to seem like a safe middle ground. Unless you’re really good at gift-giving.

For years my mother would take me to the “maul” and have me pick out my Christmas presents. Then she’d take them home, wrap them, and put them under the tree. Now don’t get me wrong, here. It isn’t that I’m not grateful. But just how suprised was I supposed to seem when I knew what everything was before I even opened the box.

And so I like surprises. Considering the way things went this past Christmas, I think Mom has begun to catch on. :sunglasses:

Definitely the surprise gifts, giving and receiving.

If it’s a gift from someone like my brother, I cut him some slack and expect that I might have to help him out in the list department. But I would hope that close friends and significant others would put some more creativity and thought into their gifts.

Totally a surprise-me kinda girl. Unfortunately, I’ve married into a family of listers and I hate it. I always feel so greedy when I ask for stuff. I don’t know how many items should go on the list, what they should be, etc. yet, every year my M-I-L demands the lists come out. Ugh. My husband has inherited great gift giving skills but drops just enough hints so that I can’t guess what the present is, but have maddening, evil, obsessive thoughts/guesses about it. He has a talent for doing this just about a week before the gift is given, so I have prime stewing time. My mother, OTOH is a fabulous gift-giver and great at surprises, so I never worry about what she’s gonna give.

As far as giving gifts, I like to think that I have my mom’s gift (pardon the pun) for picking good ones. I usually sit down before Thanksgiving, list who I have to buy for, go to websites that have the kind of stuff they like and get inspiration from there.

Ooooooh…I married into listers as well. They all know exactly what they’re getting. My husband doesn’t WANT anything that he didn’t specifically request. I try to surprise him, but fail miserably every year.

My latest tactic with him is to get the skinny from his best friend. I tell him how much I want to spend and he tells me which hideous garage tool Mr. Kalhoun has a boner for. I’ll give him that plus some other surprise stuff and he hates them and returns them for hot rod parts. It’s really quite depressing.

Ooooooh…I married into listers as well. They all know exactly what they’re getting. My husband doesn’t WANT anything that he didn’t specifically request. I try to surprise him, but fail miserably every year.

My latest tactic with him is to get the skinny from his best friend. I tell him how much I want to spend and he tells me which hideous garage tool Mr. Kalhoun has a boner for. I’ll give him that plus some other surprise stuff and he hates them and returns them for hot rod parts. It’s really quite depressing.

I love to be surprised. And I must say, it’ll be a lovely surprise this year if my inlaws don’t give me another small appliance. Most of them go unused - the one from last year is on a shelf collecting dust next to one from 6 years ago. What makes it worse is that they buy the best quality. I hate to let the thing sit but I honestly have no use for it.

Maybe they’ll get broken during the move…

As for giving, I try really hard to get gifts that I know the person wants or would like. I don’t always succeed, but I always try.

Here is what we do in my family.

We buy for my son, who is just 13, but my mom, sister, 24 year old daughter and I all boycott Christmas itself. We don’t buy any presents for each other. We do have the Christmas dinner though.

Then, the Day AFTER Christmas, we have a “girls day out”. We go to a movie we’ve been wanting to see, we have a nice lunch, and we go to the after christmas sales, and spend about what we would have spent for presents for each other.

It’s fun, we get to make our small little insignificant gesture of refusing to join in the commercialization of Christmas.

Suprises are good…if the person knows you well enough. What I hate are family members who buy you a gift just for the sake of letting it be known that they bought you something. Like an Aunt who buys you a nice serving dish for the kitchen irrespective of what your tastes are, and it’s the same gift she would give to anyone who was female, over 20, and doesn’t live in a cardboard box on the street.
It’s just a waste of space in my house. I would rather a small number of choice gifts than alot of useless pieces of crap.

I buy only a few presents, but I make sure they are quality, and money is no object. I like to buy just a little bit better than what they would expect. I’m sure to please.

Me, too.

Except for the dick part.


Giving: Give me a list. Too much effort and I’m not good at “surmising”.

Receiving: I’m actually a “I don’t want a gift” person. I don’t celebrate my birthday, I don’t do exchanges at Christmas, I don’t want anything I can’t buy for myself. No gifts.

I love being surprised. I also like surprising people.

Count me in for the “usually perceptive enough to buy without a list.” I don’t mind making a list for others, but I do like to make a varied list (and give parts to each person - no duplicates!) so it’s still a surprise. On rare occasions, I will profess a specific desire, such as “size 12 pants” two years ago (everything I had was too small), or “the new Dave Mattews solo CD.”

It depends on who’s doing the buying for me. If it’s someone who’d just buy me socks and underwear (Hi Mom!) or has no idea what I like (Hi Mom!), then I’ll hand off a list. Otherwise, I’ll wind up with ill-fitting sweaters. And I don’t wear sweaters. However, if it’s someone who doesn’t buy crappy gifts, then I like surprises.

I love gift shopping, so don’t give me a list. In fact, I got my girlfriend her presents already. And they’re so cool.

I am the best present giver and the worst present receiver.

I can almost always find someting someone would really like but not think of it themselves.

For me, I have pretty much everything I need. Give me a book store gift certificate or cash. Pretty much anything else I either don’t want or already have.

I keep telling my wife not to get me anything and then of course, she replies, “The you can’t get me anything” and I know she’ll be horribly disappointed if I don’t.

I’m a surpriser who married into listers, too, and I have learned the hard way where my husband’s family is concerned. I really hate to sound ungracious - they’re generally very nice people - but they are lousy at guessing what other people might like and equally lousy about gift appreciation. However, when I gently suggested that the adults stop exchanging gifts and focus our gift-giving efforts on the kids, I started a war that rages to this day. Now I grimly “fill orders” and present them with a list of music CDs I’d like every year, period.

Life, I’m pretty much the same way with my Listers. I always ask for the same perfume, CD/book gift certificates, or candles. Although I must say, the candles I’ve received are really nice ones.

God help me if my one sister-in-law buys me another sweater. The last one was six sizes too big and it looked like a Christmas store exploded on it. Funny, but it was just HER style.

But I really love these people!!! We have the best time together on Christmas eve. I wouldn’t trade that part for anything.

(Incidently, they eat PICNIC food on Christmas…sigh…)