When I was a kid, the Sears Wish Book catalog would be delivered to our house in September. With the care of a doctoral candidate researching a dissertation, I would pore through its pages looking for stuff I wanted for Christmas. I would get out a blue-lined, loose leaf piece of paper and create a spreadsheet of all the items I was interested in. I'd list the page number, item number, description, price, and assign a priority number for each item. (This was probably something like 1 through 5, ranging from "I absolutely had to have this item," to "I wouldn't kick it out of my playchest.")
I made absolutely sure people knew exactly what I wanted for Xmas.
The page that I went the most nuts on was the Star Wars page. That was like porn to my 10-year-old eyes.
Since I've grown up, figuring out what I want for xmas is a lot more difficult. My mom still starts bugging me months ahead of time about my "list." Other people, too. And I have the hardest time coming up with one. Really, it's almost become a chore. Sigh-- I guess I have to make a list now.
The problem is, if I want something, I'll just go buy it myself. And half the time, I don't even do that-- I just decide I didn't really need it after all. Or the thing I want (vacuum cleaner, new car, MP3 player, laptop) is out of the price range of the person asking for a list. So I have to figure out things that I want that I can put off buying for the next month or so.
I don't want to make it hard for people to get me gifts, because I know it means they care about me. So I try to take this chore seriously. And I do appreciate the gifts people get me. It's just always so hard to come up with a list every year.
I really don't have a huge need for stuff. And one thing I don't want is to clutter my home with useless crap.
(Unless it's really good useless crap.)
When I was married, my ex and I often had this conversation about gifts:
Ex: See what so-and-so got us? Me: What does it do? Ex: It looks pretty. Me: So it sits around and looks pretty, but is otherwise useless? Ex: Yes.
Really, how many decorative vases does one couple need?
But I'm not completely without aesthetic appreciation, and to prove it I think I have found the absolute perfect gift idea. I am mesmerized by the big bean sculpture at Millennium Park in Chicago.
If anyone ever finds a miniature replica of that, I totally want one for my house.
And, I guess, a shirt or something. Maybe a CD. I'll get a list to you.