A woman in overalls holding a Christmas Wish List gift box.

Christmas is Coming: Have You Got Your Wish List Ready?

…in order to get only what you wish for, and not what you don’t.

Christmas always means two things to me: a lot of excitement, but also a lot of frustration. It’s that time of the year the general common sense awkwardly says “buy a little crappy plastic something” instead of not buying anything at all because a) that person genuinely doesn’t need anything or b) you never took the time to mindfully listen to what that person likes and is interested in.

I hope I did not spoil the fun, as I love that period of the year where it’s cold outside (at least where I live) and we all gather around food with family and friends. So here’s what I’ve been doing those last years to minimise the frustration due to unwanted gifts and wasteful wrapping of things.

Speak your mind

I do my best to let people know how I feel about the environment and keeping it minimal (that’s for me personally — you might as well be eco-friendly but have an apartment as cluttered as a flea market). By doing so, my relatives know that they will ruin my mood by offering me some random thing. I also specify that second-hand things make me way happier and that an old newspaper is a wrapping option I particularly enjoy. 

Share your wish list

This might sound a bit pretentious but hey don’t worry, you’ll actually help make Christmas more stress-free as people won’t have to go shopping for a day in order to find something for you. They’ll simply have everything at hand.

So how to write this list?

I usually sort it by priority. Also make sure you’re stating the price on it — your grandma might not know what the heck you’re talking about when you write “keepcup” (and if she does, you’ve got a super cool grandma). I also like to write different lists, to avoid any uncomfortable situation: my boyfriend or sister would be happy to find some lingerie in my wish list, but my colleagues wouldn’t. 

I used to send a plain Word page to my relatives but guess what, it’s 2017 so we now got some better tools to help us with this task.

  • Bookworms, have your Amazon wish list ready. You know the really cool thing about it? For most books, you have second-hand offers. (Do not forget to let people know you’d be over the moon to get it second-hand instead of new, as some people may think it’s rude to offer second-hand stuff).
  • Use a Google Sheet or a Google Doc. Add links to online stores or images for each item to make things easier for your loved ones as well as to avoid any confusion.
  • Listfully is also a handy tool to easily share your wish lists!

During the holidays, more trash is produced than during any other time of the year, with the average American producing 43.75 pounds of trash per week, up from 35 pounds per week during the rest of the year [1]Surprising Statistics on Wasteful Holiday Spending

More Than Just Wants, a Path to Mindful Gifting

Gift Experiences Over Material Items

Imagine the glow in someone’s eyes not because they unwrapped another gadget, but because they discovered an adventure waiting for them. Gifting experiences—concert tickets, cooking classes, or a membership to a botanical garden—can create unforgettable memories. These gifts don’t clutter shelves; they fill hearts and minds with joy and stories to tell. It’s about saying, “I want to add to your life’s richness, not just your possessions.”

DIY Gift Ideas: The Personal Touch

There’s something inherently special about a gift made by hand. It carries the warmth of the giver’s time and effort, a tangible representation of their affection. DIY gifts, from homemade cookies to knitted scarves or personalized artwork, offer a sustainable and heartfelt alternative to store-bought items. They invite us to slow down, to craft not just objects but moments of connection.

Charitable Donations as Gifts: Generosity that Gives Twice

In a season often marked by excess, choosing to donate to a charity in someone’s name can be a profound statement of love and values. It’s a gift that extends beyond the immediate circle, touching lives and making a difference. Whether it’s supporting environmental causes, aiding those in need, or funding medical research, these gifts resonate with a deeper sense of purpose and community spirit.

Sustainable Brand Recommendations: Mindful Shopping

For those moments when a physical gift is the right choice, turning to eco-friendly brands can be a way to align our festive generosity with our ecological conscience. From fashion to gadgets, numerous companies now prioritize ethical sourcing, fair labor practices, and sustainable materials. By selecting these brands, our Christmas wish lists become a force for good, championing responsible production and consumption.

Just for Christmas?

I like to keep this list at hand basically all year-long so that I can add new wishes as they come up. I’ve found that it is a very good strategy to know if I actually really want something and to prioritise my material desires. Some items have been sitting on my wish list for months until I realise I don’t really need that thing and take it out. Annndd that’s one useless purchase, avoided! This list is as useful for relatives as it is for myself: it helps avoid impulse buying and to a greater extent, keep control of my consumption.

Image source: Kira auf der Heide — thank you.