Opening presents, Christmas 2010, as my old friend Jay Korbelic looks on.

Dear Santa…

Monday, 10 December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , ,

There is a lot of pressure at this time of year to find the perfect gift. And when it comes to buying something for me, there is the additional stress of choosing a birthday gift. December 26 is my big day, and it's up there with Christmas Day as one of the worst possible birthdays of the year. Everyone is over-partied and over-spent.

For years I’ve tried the “don’t get me anything approach” but all the kind souls in my life insist on giving me something. I get it. Many of us love to give, I certainly do, and would feel quite ripped off if I was told I wasn’t allowed to. But I’ve managed to convince some that one gift for both occasions will suffice.

Got the best present ever in 2008: Ruby!

Got the best present ever in 2008: Ruby!

To make it easier yet, I supply a list. It started when I was a kid writing a letter to Santa. All these decades later, my family still requests one. I even include photos and web links to where the purchases can be made. Sometimes I even pick it up myself. No wrapping required! Just call me considerate.

My fellow book-loving dad got me an e-reader for Christmas 2010. It was on the list, of course.

My fellow book-loving dad got me an e-reader for Christmas 2009.
It was on the list, of course.

For my boyfriend, I take photos in the stores and email them, along with pricing and any size and colour specifications. Unromantic you say? Maybe. But I don’t love surprises. Unless they come in little blue boxes.

Dec. 1, 2012

Dear Santa,

Here are the items on my Christmas wish list this year:

Thank you!


Frankly, I hate having too much stuff. I’m constantly purging, consigning, donating or simply leaving things in the back alley – my neighbourhood’s extremely efficient recycling program. So I’d rather get something that I really want or need.

Finished opening presents, Christmas 2010. Got the TNA hoodie I wanted. Thanks!

Finished opening presents, Christmas 2010.
Got the TNA hoodie I wanted. Thanks!

I only offer my list to those who ask. And trust me, many jump at the chance of relinquishing the decision-making process. Anna is one exception as she never asks what I want. But she has the gift of, well, gift giving. I leave my presents in her very capable hands.

I don’t remember what I got for Christmas 2007,
but having Anna join us for Christmas Eve dinner was a nice present!

My friend Judy takes all this a step further. She literally buys her own gift and her boyfriend buys his. She says it all started for her one year when she found herself single right before Christmas, so she treated herself to a great gift, and continued the custom for each special occasion after.

Then a couple of years later, she had a brand new boyfriend and a birthday on the horizon. Well, let’s just say he’s wonderful in many ways, but not so great at gift-buying. “When Christmas rolled around, I took a chance and suggested I buy myself this KitchenAid Stand mixer I really wanted “from him”, and that he could buy himself whatever he wanted “from me”. He thought it was a great idea and he was actually quite relieved! And that’s how our non-traditional tradition started.”

(Note to guys: only buy an appliance for your gal if it’s on her wish list!)

Have you ever bought your own presents? If you have a unique spin on gift giving, we’d love to hear from you!

My mom got me a beautiful painting by Athena Bax for Christmas 2011.
It was on my list, but I never thought I would actually get it. I cried!

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  • Susan White

    I’m a foodie and am always thrilled anytime I get an appliance as a gift.

    • annaandkristina

      That’s great, Susan! Sometimes, receiving an appliance as a gift can be taken the wrong way, so we always like to give fair warning to unsuspecting gift-buyers. 😉

  • LiaLinda

    We have a very small family, so ripping open gifts would last but a minute. We like to draw out the time we spend together, so someone (usually a child) passes out gifts to 1 person at a time, while we socialize over finger desserts & drinks, as we go around the room, opening gifts one at a time, until everything is opened. It gives everyone a chance to see what everyone else got.
    My sister came up with the idea of putting “hints” on the gift tag; not easy-to-guess hints, but rather, ones that are NOT meant to be figured out at all, until *after* the gift is opened. And more often than not, the hints are really corney. 🙂
    For instance, someone received a stereo with the hint “Got the beet?” (‘beat’ was mis-spelled on purpose, of course, and the giver had also hand-drawn various vegetables all over the packaging to really throw off the ability to guess the hint)!
    Someone got a camera one year, with the hint, “It’s not mild, medium, or old” (Get it? Say ‘cheese’!)
    Another gift for 10 pairs of nylon stockings came with the hint “For when you don’t want to ‘run’ around” (Get it? If your nylons get a run, just put on a new pair!)
    It’s difficult to come up with a hint for a sleeveless vest, so the giver simply wrote, “Vich vay is vest?” (as if someone with a strong European accent was trying to pronounce ‘west’).
    The hints have been a lovely tradition in our family for many years now… It’s a nice way to stretch the family Christmas, creates cheer & good memories, and makes the gift-giving all that much more fun!

    • Kristina

      LiaLinda, that is hilarious, what a great idea! Thanks for sharing.