This is way too minor for the Pit, so I’m putting it here.
Every year, before my birthday and Christmas, my mom and other relatives ask me what I want. And I answer, “Nothing at all, thanks.” And I really, honestly mean that. But nobody – especially my mom – will believe me, so since I’m not forthcoming with a loot list, they try to guess, and I end up with a load of stuff I neither need nor want.
My lack of desire for gifts is two-fold:
I have simple tastes, and I’m happy with what I’ve got. I don’t make much money, but if there’s something expensive that I really want then I either find a way to pay for it (without using credit) or I put it on my “one of these days” list. Otherwise, I get by with simple things.
My closest relatives are also of modest means, and can’t afford to buy the expensive things I might want, so I won’t mention those things. There are some less expensive, hobby-related things I wouldn’t mind receiving as gifts, but due to their nature (Dungeons & Dragons materials, rock & roll CDs, etc) I’m fairly confident that certain family members wouldn’t buy me those things anyway, on religious grounds. So I don’t ask for those things, either. Frankly, I’d rather see my relatives take the money they would have spent on me and use it to buy nicer things for my young nieces. Christmas and birthdays are for kids.
But they buy me stuff anyway, and I end up having to try to appear grateful. For example, my most recent expensive purchase was a brand new Specialized road bike. I spent about $1,200 for a high-end bicycle (well, higher-end than the box store bikes I’d been riding) that was exactly what I wanted. So for my birthday my mom went out and bought me a pair of bicycling gloves (I already owned a better pair), a digital speedometer/bike computer (which broke less than two weeks later), and a big, fat, gel-cushion seat cover (I paid for a very lightweight bike, and this seat cover would have added about 5% to the weight of the bike – and also defeated the purpose of the ergonomically designed saddle that came with the bike, so I didn’t even put it on). And so I end up feeling like a jerk because I don’t appreciate the gifts. Maybe I’m just being selfish. I don’t know.
So I think I’m going to try to head all this off by creating a standing “gift list” that will apply to both Christmas and by birthday. Do you insist on getting me a gift? Fine. Here’s a list of things I’ll actually find useful, and would buy for myself. Pick one or two:
Fruit of the Loom (and only Fruit of the Loom - I like the way they fit) boxer shorts (Small)
White, ankle-length athletic socks, any brand
A ream of A4-sized printer paper.
A 1.5-liter bottle of Natural Citrus Listerine
A box of tea bags – black, English Breakfast, or Earl Grey
These simple things will make me very happy.