30 Nov
Happy Holidays! Now Get Me What I Want

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My sister-in-law insists on telling our family exactly what she wants for Christmas for herself and her kids. She even provides links. Then she gets upset if we don’t buy off her list.

This makes me crazy! Whatever happened to the spirit of the holidays? Should I say something?


Wish List Wench


Dear Wish List Wench,

I’ve been sitting here thinking about your question for some time, trying very hard to see both sides of the issue. However, after ten minutes of objective reasoning and Spider Solitaire playing, all I’m left with is this:

Your sister-in-law’s a jerk.

At the risk of sounding like an animated North Pole monkey on a crappy holiday special starring Delta Burke as Santa, I have to say that it seems like your SIL has forgotten the true meaning of the season. I’m sure her thinking is, “Well, they’re going to buy me gifts, anyway. I should make sure it’s something that I want!” Not necessarily bad thinking. But since her list making is completely unsolicited by you, it actually smacks of greed and outright entitlement. Plus, it’s just sort of icky.

You could continue to just grit your teeth and stick with her list to keep the family peace. Or try the passive-aggressive route and give her things from the list, only in the wrong color or size. (“Oh, did you want a Small, blue sweater? I thought it said “XXL, plaid! My bad!”) Or, and I think this is the clear winner here, you could instead make a nice donation in her name to a worthy charity.

Maybe then she’ll finally realize that it’s the thought that counts.


Wendi, TMH

15 Responses to “Happy Holidays! Now Get Me What I Want”


Comment by terri.

WOW, incredibly tacky!
Give her $10-$20 gift cards to Walmart!, maybe that will fix her wagon!LOL


Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

I like the charity donation idea. 🙂
Together with a Christmas card explaining that you are against the consumer society and this is your answer to it. 🙂

Better still, do the same with all of your Christmas presents, this year!


Comment by calliope.

I think this sort of depends on the context.
For instance, every year my mother and sister in law ask me what I want for Christmas.
They ask, without prompting.
So I tell them.
And every year I tell them the same thing:gift card to the book store or to a bath and body type store. Those are two things I’ll inevitably like.

And they have never, not once, gotten me either one of those things.

So why do they even ask me what I want in the first place??

However, I also don’t have the sack to make my own wishlist and then send it to people, expecting them to buy from it. That type of behavior deserves one of those school holiday shop gifts of a bookmark with a unicorn and a thoughtful message about giving on it.


Comment by Jennifer.

Ummm – are you by any chance a horrible gift giver? I have to give my husband a detailed list every birthday and Christmas, with sizes, colors, prices, websites and stores, or I wind up with things like computer keyboards and hair dryers.

Ask yourself: Is there any chance my SIL is just really, really sick of getting strange and inappropriate gifts from me? Do I give dollar store bath salts to 2 year olds? Do I give exercise equipment and diet cookbooks to new mothers? Do I make donations to the Republican party in the name of Democrat relatives and vice versa?

Search your heart, Wish List Wench!

Rojopaul Reply:

“Do I make donations to the Republican party in the name of Democrat relatives and vice versa?”

What a fabulous idea! And this gift donation is deserving of someone who is so totally class-less to provide a list with links and then get irritated when she doesn’t get what she wanted. How old are we anyway? 2????


Comment by Finn.

As the recipient of crap I never asked for and never wanted (that inevitably gets donated), I would love to just send out a list. BUT. Unless someone asks, it’s just obnoxious.

Love the charity idea. I would so prefer someone do that for me instead of buying me a shirt I’ll never wear.


Comment by hokgardner.

This year I’m making donations to Oxfam on behalf of certain family members who are notoriously hard to please. I dare my grandmother-in-law to look me in the eye and complain about buying school uniforms for girls in Africa. And I’ll be resisting the temptation to give my mother-in-law a bag of poop or worms.


Comment by skchord.

I can think of a non-greedy reason she does this. Our family, every year, draws names at Thanksgiving among all the grandchildren (there are just too many of us to attempt to buy everyone a gift). Then, we all make a list of items, $20 or less, and email them to my aunt who combines them and publishes a master list to all. Perhaps your SIL’s family does this or somehting similar so she just assumes that makes things easier. I would just be honest and tell her you don’t like using lists and prefer to buy something heartfelt and meaningful to you, as is the true spirit of giving. I also like the charity idea!


Comment by WCA.

Seriously? I only make lists if people ask. Children are allowed to make wish lists, but I think that goes out with Santa.

I’d go with a charitable contribution. That way, someone who really needs something wins.


Comment by Old Lady In a Shoe.

I have several detailed Amazon wishlists – one for each of the kids and a few for me. I don’t keep them to be obnoxious, but if anyone ever asks me what I want or what the kids want for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I simply refer them to the list. It makes things much easier and we are guaranteed to get something that we want. That being said, I would never ever offer the list unsolicited to someone.


Comment by Plano Mom.

Wish lists are for Santa.

I’d give her a twenty and tell her since she took all the fun out of shopping for her gift, she should just go get it herself.


Comment by K-Line.

You know, I realize I’m in the vast minority here, but I can see this woman’s point. She’s obvs a control-freak (takes one to know one) and she knows what she needs. She just sees Xmas as a good opp to get it without going to the effort or expense. What I cannot get with is her tacky behaviour when she doesn’t get what she wants. That’s pretty inexcusable. I’d call her on it.


Comment by Leigh Ann.

I struggle with this too, although I wouldn’t complain (aloud) if we didn’t get what we asked for. And I mean for my 2 year olds. But I do wish that family members would ask what the kids want (aka what we want for them). When you have small kids, yes, they are fun to shop for, but sometimes parents have things in mind that they want. Like a playscape. Or a wagon. Or maybe some Princess Tiana dolls. I’m just saying. But while I wish upon a star that they would ask, I can’t bring myself to send out a list at the risk of sounding tacky and greedy. Maybe then we would get a few precious items instead of the load of stuff we got last year that was way too overwhelming, and they barely played with half of it.


Comment by I'm a big ol' b with a captial B!.

My cousin sends out a list of what her kids and her family want to her sisters, her mother and my mother EVERY year. Unsolicited.

Should it be noted that she never sends a birthday card, EVER? (Not even an ecard.) And the presents she buys for other people are literally really, really crappy (broken or clearance items with sticker still attached..no really!). For instance, my family exchanges names and the monetary amount is normally $20 the person you receive. She’ll go out and buy a $20 item from last year (say an ornament that says 2009 on it) and has the clearance tag of 5.99 and give it to the person. But because it was originally $20, it counts?

Anyway, greedy and stingy. Gotta love it.

This year, when she gives you the list or emails it to you, I’d simply say, I don’t want it. I will choose what I want to buy for you, if anything.


Comment by Mom again.

This year I got tired of not having an answer when asked what I want or what my husband or daughters or son in law want. For mysel and my youngest I created amazon wish lists. Some stuff on mine is stuff my husband wants. If people ask what we three want isend the link. As for the oldest and her husband? I’m still using their wedding gift registry as a resource.

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