How To Craft The Perfect List

By Kristen Castillo

September 13, 2019 4 min read

When you were a child, your Christmas list was long and detailed. You didn't worry about asking for too much or looking greedy. After all, most kids had lengthy lists. But as you grow up, it gets harder to ask for gifts, and crafting a wish list seems a bit much.

Still, during the holidays, when everyone's asking what you want for Christmas, isn't it helpful to put it out there?

These days, it's becoming more and more common to have a wish list for every occasion, from graduation to a new baby to a new home. A Christmas list seems downright traditional.

*Set guidelines for yourself

Before you start creating your dream wish list, take the advice of Pratibha Vuppuluri, chief blogger at She Started It!, an online resource guide for working moms.

"Be realistic," she says. "Do not list down something that is too grand. Simple items that spark joy should be more than enough."

She also stresses being practical: "List down items that you can use a couple of times, and not just something that you can flaunt."

If your ideal gift is a gift card or cash, she urges you to make your case. "For instance, if you are saving up for a trip to one of your dream countries, or planning to enroll for a baking class, etc., it would be nice for the other party to know that you are going to use it for something worthwhile," she says.

*Create a registry

Register in store or online for some, not necessarily all, of your favorite things. Then share the list with the people with whom you'll be exchanging gifts. Here's the trick: Register for a variety of items in a variety of price points, ranging from under $15 up to $100+. That way, gift-givers can have choices. Your officemate can gift you a mug; your roommate will get you that sweater you love; and your brother can order you the latest electronics you've been eyeing.

Amazon wish lists put a modern twist on the tradition. Share your easy-to-shop list with your loved ones and browse their lists, too. Other retailers like Target and Walmart have free wish list registries that make it simple to click and purchase exactly what your loved ones want.

Keep in mind that your registry doesn't necessarily have to be all or nothing. It can inspire the gift-giver. For example, if you've registered for throw pillows for your couch, your loved ones could get you a blanket in a coordinating color. Or if they see you just bought a coffee machine, they may gift you mugs or flavored coffees.

*Write it down

Blogger Joanne Archer of Expert Home Tips recommends creating your Christmas list throughout the year.

"Start early," she says, explaining it's never ideal to think up a wish list at the last minute. If you do, you'll likely only be thinking of impulsive, nonessential items. "It might not be the season for it, but be sure to craft your list all year round."

She suggests keeping your running list in the notes app on your smartphone. You'll be able to update the list whenever an idea strikes. Next, every month, review and revise your list.

"Is there something there that you no longer need or want?" she asks. "This way, when Christmas rolls around, you'll know you really want each item."

Remember, Christmas is a season of giving, not necessarily getting. Be polite and respectful. Don't send your list unsolicited, since the gift-giver could interpret it as being rude.

"Only distribute your wish list if people ask for it," advises Archer. "Never assume that someone wants to give you a present, and don't assume their budget."

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