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wyldwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:57 PM
Original message
What does 'hard to shop for" mean??
My wife and friends tell me I'm hard to shop for.

This statement is absurd for several reasons. One, my family has a tradition of everyone making a list of what he/she wants and passing it around. An often pointless endeavor because people often ignore the list and go rogue.

So after years of receiving useless, thoughtless junk or things I already have, I decided about three years ago that if someone MUST get me something for Christmas, just get me a gift card from a book seller so I can buy what I want for myself.

What I want - what makes me happy - can not only be purchased online but also in at least 5 department and grocery stores within 10 miles of where I live - making me ridiculously EASY to shop for.

Now, suddenly my wife wants to redefine the point of gift giving. Now, it should be to make the giver feel they've done something special, not necessarily making the receiver satisfied with what they've gotten. In other words, because my wife thinks getting gift cards is impersonal, I should also think they're impersonal.

If you're thinking all this sounds incredibly petty and materialistic, you're right. My initial request to donate gift money to one of my favorite charities was shot down.

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cyberswede Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
1. My mom has similar ideas
She would NEVER buy us record albums (LPs) when we were kids (or CDs or DVDs later on), because she didn't think they were good gifts. *roll eyes*

I sort of feel bad buying a gift card for someone if I can't think of something to get them, but if they ASK for one, that's a whole nother story. I would love to get iTunes gift cards for everything, but you know how my mom is. :)
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MicaelS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. Since you obviously like books...
Make a list of titles you want, then give them to your wife. Have the giver write their name and the date on an inside leaf.
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MiddleFingerMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:37 PM
Response to Original message
3. I've been told that I'm really GOOD at shopping for people that I know well.
.
.
.
Being "told" that a good gift would be a gift card would do one of two things (though probably BOTH):
.
(a) It would relieve some of my stress.
.
(OR)
.
(2) It would take away the pleasure I get from picking a gift (perhaps from out of left
field) that I think the person would enjoy.
.
.
.
So, yes... a little bit "selfish" on my part, too. But then I always been a little bit
cynical about the existence of 100% PURE altruism, anyways.
.
.
.
And, unless you want your "request" to be interpreted and acted upon as a "demand"
(that would kinda NEGATE the "gift" concept, no?), I think it's totally up to the
gift-giver to make that choice. Totally!!!
.
.
.
And totally up to the recipient to graciously accept the fact that they didn't "score"
as well as they could have. Perhaps you've lost the "reason for the season" a little bit.
.
.
.
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mysuzuki2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
4. Well, thankfully I don't have that problem!
No one ever buys me anything? The people who might be expected to buy Winter Solstice of birthday gifts are always too broke!
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
5. I really think that gift cards are the best.
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 01:58 PM by RebelOne
If a person is "hard to shop for", he or she can buy a gift they really want. I love gift cards. They solve a lot of my gift-giving dilemmas.
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hyphenate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
6. I've been giving things to a friend now for 9 years
as he's my closest friend, and I try to give him something every year that he will like immensely. Usually, I give him a combination of items--books or book gift certs (for Amazon), something related to his musical tastes, and something to appeal to his fondness for old "B" movies from the 50s and 60s.

A while back, he said he now had far too many books to read, but I bought him some anyhow--coffee table type books you can look at without having to read them.

I made a few judgements in error by giving him some jazz jam sessions which didn't do much for him, and one year, I gave him a really cool crock pot shaped like a football, which he never used because hims "cooking" consists of microwaving and deep frying.

So while I have found him easy to buy for in the past, it's getting harder to go the distance in respect to gifts now.

You might try to have people give you a combo of items--smaller items which you might need, like clothes, small gadgets, and perhaps accessories for other items, like a case for a tablet, subscriptions to magazines you might like, or items of food you enjoy. That way, they can get you a couple of smaller girt certificates, and some variety of items that are relevant to you, but where several of them are welcomed more than others.

Just a thought.
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The Velveteen Ocelot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
7. I got on my sister-in-law's shit list one year
because I gave her kids gift cards. They were teenagers so I knew anything I got them would be hopelessly uncool - therefore I concluded gift cards would be better because they could buy something they actually wanted instead of being stuck with some lame gift from their uncool aunt.

Well. You'd think I'd given them a gift subscription to Hustler and a dime bag of Acapulco Gold. My SIL really got her knickers in a twist (which I found out from my brother; butter wouldn't melt in her passive-aggressive little mouth) because gift cards are so impersonal and insulting because you don't put any thought into the gift, how could I treat her kids like that, blah, blah, blah.

So now, to keep peace in the family I must trudge through shopping malls wracking my brain to choose gifts that are cool.
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csziggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #7
37. I found out something interesting
While many people don't like Best Buy they have kind of a cool policy. If you buy a gift online to be picked up at the store by the recipient (one of the choices when you buy online), the recipient gets a receipt that does not have the amount spent but can be used to return or exchange the gift.

So you could buy your nieces & nephews anything at all at Best Buy, they can exchange it for whatever they want.

Other stores may have similar policies - I don't do enough shopping to know about returns, etc. But it would be worth checking.
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 06:00 PM
Response to Original message
8. I'm 70 years old. I don't NEED anything.
I have 70 years worth of stuff.
If there's something I WANT (or THINK I need) I go buy it.
Usually it's clothes of some kind.
Eventually, you CAN wear out a T shirt.

The hardest question to answer is "What do you want for Christmas/birthday/whatever?"
I don't know.
I really don't.

OK, I might like to try out one of those ipads.
That looks kind of interesting.
But it would basically be a toy for me.

I don't want you to spend that much money on a toy/gift for me, no matter how much you love me or how rich you are.
Feed some people instead.

But that's not something you can open under the tree on Christmas morning.
Christmas is totally out of control now.
It's ALL about shopping and buying and consuming.
meh

Bah, Humbug.
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suninvited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:19 AM
Response to Reply #8
13. if this were facebook
and I could hit a like button, I would hit that button on this.

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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #8
29. I only shop for the Angel tree kids
in other words, only for those who NEED - it's sad how many people fall for this have-to-buy-gifts nonsense
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #29
35. it's not only sad
it's something i refuse to do any longer, but in reality, i've never been into xmas. last year, i told my (adult) kids that i wasn't buying christmas presents anymore, except for the babies (my two grandkids) and they totally got their noses out of joint. i'm on a fixed income now and they wouldn't be happy with a $20 bill or my hand knit items, oh well then.
THAT is sad....
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OhioBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
9. In my experience, men are just by nature harder to shop for
unless you know they have a collection that you can add to - like my step-father who collects coins. Or are a fan of something - like a sports team - and they wear shirts or sweatshirts.. Or someone you live with.. my husband is easy to shop for b/c I know what he needs and likes.

Women are easier b/c we talk more... we know they like or dislike bath and body and what fragrance, we know if they wear jewelry and can recognize their tastes, we know if they have admired a kitchen gadget that we have, we can usually judge their size for shirts or sweaters and know their taste... etc.

I've had great success in past years of getting really awesome gifts.. this year I suck... I went in with my siblings on so-so gifts that they picked up on Black Friday while I was out of State... I like it when I get things like a scrap-book for my dad of his mother and father's families or the flag box I had made for my mom for her father's flag... Or for my husband, a historical book of his hometown.. stuff like that... very personal and very thoughtful.. again.. this year I suck - it's pretty much all commercial crap and I hate it.

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Draill Donating Member (360 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
10. I have the same problem
with some folk this time of year. I've started to try and figure out what kind of stuff they want to get me and ask them for that. It doesn't seem to work out any better. I don't know what the answer to this is. I find it maddening. Happy Holidays! :)
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 09:27 PM
Response to Original message
11. It means "The dood considers whatever I gifts to him useless thoughtless junk that he already has"
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:11 AM
Response to Original message
12. "Hard to shop for"
To me, it means that you either want for nothing, and need nothing, and have no liking for the useless knick-knacks (electric egg peelers?)festoon the endcaps at department stores,

Or what you REAALLY want is way beyond the resources of the inquiring giver.

Gift cards for the bookstore are always appreciated!
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Phentex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. That's what I think it means but also...
in the case of my niece - she is very picky. I usually go for a kitchen item that she doesn't have but I have heard her critique other gifts from friends (color, usefulness, size, style, etc.) It's not fun.
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #20
26. In that case, let me suggest the "Universal Gift".
It's the right colour, and nobody ever says they have too much of it.

Cash.
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Phentex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #26
32. then she says nobody put any thought into it...
she's a pain, but I love her!
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. Boy, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't, aren't you?
Lucky for me my daughter collects pictures of dead presidents. She doesn't get to keep them very long, but she likes them just the same.
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fizzgig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:36 AM
Response to Original message
14. my dad is damn near impossible to shop for
he is a very particular man who will buy himself things he really likes. plus, his tastes run beyond what my bank account can manage.

so, every year my sister and i flounder around for ideas and finally give up and do our best and he's never really excited.

BUT! i think we've nailed it this year. i will be crushed if he doesn't love what we're getting him.

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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:38 AM
Response to Original message
15. When I'm traveling overseas, it's EASY to shop for souvenirs for my
sisters-in-law and nieces. There's so much beautiful stuff for sale everywhere, distinctive jewelry or household items if nothing else.

But brothers and nephews? Especially the teenage boys? That's always a struggle.
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:36 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. teenage boys? Starbucks gift cards.
I hear that even college kids like them.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. Not as a souvenir from a foreign country, though
A lot of good a Japanese Starbucks card would do them. :-)
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #16
19. Not as a souvenir from a foreign country, though
A lot of good a Japanese Starbucks card would do them. :-)
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tabbycat31 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #15
30. teenage boys-- itunes gift card
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. Again, not as a souvenir from a foreign country
You didn't read my post.

Besides, my nephews aren't into music at all.

The nieces on the other hand squeal with delight at the prospect of an iTunes gift card.
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:29 PM
Response to Reply #15
36. most guys like sports
you can find souvenirs with local sports team insignia on them that would be a big hit here (mansfield united?). soccer, baseball, rugby, etc. also, dare i say, alcoholic beverages (over 18)?

i have four sons, so guy stuff is basically all i buy. thank god for my baby granddaughter!
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Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #15
38. knives/weapons
easy
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:40 AM
Response to Original message
17. one of the most thoughtful gifts I ever gave got mixed reviews.
My MIL often told us the sad story about how when she was a child in rural Kansas she never had a box of new crayons. One year I bought her a big box of Crayola crayons and of course a coloring book too. She didn't say much. Of course there were other presents for her too, so she wasn't slighted. I never knew if it touched her or not.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:01 PM
Response to Original message
21. Has everything they need
And no hobbies that they don't have everything for!

I felt that way about certain male relatives - felt bad getting them another tie but what else what there?

I'm thinking we should just do token gifts - gift cards and money - it's like just exchanging money - may as well not bother!

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wyldwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. token gifts?
Here is a rundown of 'token' gifts I've gotten over the years.

1. A deer hunting computer game (I'm neither a hunter or a gamer.)
2. A christmas-themed picture frame that sings.
3. A bell pepper-shaped kitchen timer (I was... perplexed...)
4. Masculine scented candles (anyone who knows me knows I hate candles - they're smelly fire hazards.)

With the money spend on those, I could have had...

1. $20. Amazon or B&N gift cards to round out my West Wing and Smallville collections..
2. donations in my name (or my late parents') to the American Cancer Society or Alzheimer's Association
3. Movie theater and restaurant cards and a night of babysitting so my wife and I could out together more than twice a year.

So I'm all for gift cards. They make me happy. And if the goal of giving someone a gift is to make the person happy, that should be good enough. :)


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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. I give you $20 and you give me $20
We can exchange bills.

I hate shopping, so I guess that's why I find it stressful and can't wait until it's done!

So rarely can one give anything really useful. Kids maybe.
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wyldwolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. or I give you a chia pet and you give me a bowl of artificial fruit
We can exchange landfill fodder.
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cleveramerican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
25. its the thought that counts/ don't like giving or getting gift cards.
Edited on Sat Dec-10-11 12:53 PM by cleveramerican
The best gifts are the most thoughtful ones.
The ones where you are surprised.
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tblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
27. Was Christmas ever meant to be this agonizing?
Somehow doesn't seem right. Just relax, sweetie, and do what comes easy. No need to fret. Where's the fun?

We all go through some firm if it. I wish there were no expectations of presents at all. Just being with loved ones is the best part.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
28. means they are picky, self-centered bastards
:D
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MrsBrady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
34. well did you tell her how you really feel.
politely and lovingly of course.
Instead of telling us?

If she gets mad you'll just have to live with the fact that your wife is materialistic and deal with it.
If she doesn't get mad, then your charity gets a gift.

Sometimes people can get an idea about how things should be, and people get especially weird about this
on holidays for some reason.

I would talk it out with her.

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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:44 PM
Response to Original message
39. Chirstmas is insane. Yes! Buy useless plastic crap made in China,
wrap it in dead trees, and put it under another dead tree!

:woohoo:

All of this consumerism is so heavily promoted to keep our pitiful consuming economy afloat. If these items were made here, with care and skill, I'd be for it. But stuff just for stuff's sake? No. If it isn't necessary (food, clothing), enlightening (books, music) or beautiful (truly beautiful, not just 'cute') don't buy it, don't ask for it.

So many in this world have to do without the very basics, and we're supposed to get excited about receiving a bunch of trinkets? I do understand the idea of fellowship, nice meals and conversation, some seasonal decoration or foods, and maybe one thoughtful gift. The rest of the frenzy just is truly abhorrent.

But - as to your predicament - make a list of a few books you'd like (if you know what you want). Or music. If your wife insists on a list, give her a list of what you'd buy with the gift card(s). (Which takes the fun out of it, in my opinion - I love gift cards).
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