105 Ways to Give a Book

Surprisers and Getters

There are two basic kinds of gift-givers: Surprisers and Getters. Surprisers want to search out that perfect gift for you. Getters want to know exactly what you want. Both kinds of gifters have their benefits and downfalls. It’s a lovely thought to shop with the person in mind, but sometimes the surprises are way off. Getters certainly will buy the right gift, but a little of the magic is gone.

In my experience, it seems that Surprisers and Getters often marry each other — and therein begin the problems. A Surpriser can’t understand why her in-laws want to know not just what video game system they own, but precisely what games to buy for the kids. Where’s the fun in that? A Getter is baffled as to why his wife would purchase a Zen garden desk set when all he wanted was the latest Batman movie on Blu-Ray. He circled it on the Best Buy flyer.

I have found and used the perfect solution, and its name is Amazon Wish Lists. During the year — but especially during the holiday season — I put in some specific books, movies, and games that the kids and I would enjoy. When I am approached by a Getter for gift suggestions, I point them toward the list. They love it because it lists the exact things and as they are purchased, they are taken off the list so there is no duplication. One can even buy the item from another source, and still have it taken off the list. I’m happy, because nothing throws a Surpriser more than hearing, “But what exactly do you want?”

I’ve been happy with Amazon Wish Lists for years, but now they’ve taken it to a new level that is un-freaking-believable. Now you can put anything — ANYTHING — on your wish list. From any online store. Anywhere. You can put Abercrombie clothes on your list. You can put Borders gift cards on your list. You can even put Etsy items on your list.

And it’s so easy. You drag the Amazon wish list button to your browser (instructions here) and then when you’re shopping at Etsy or Borders or Abercrombie, and see something you like — click the button and it’s added to your Amazon gift list. It shows up with a “shop this store” button that clicks through to the page you marked, and the transaction takes place outside of Amazon.com.

I can’t express how helpful this new feature is, both for Getters and Surprisers. There is plenty of opportunity to mark specific items, but it’s also useful for people who like to shop to know which stores the gift-receiver frequents. On my wish list, I marked gift cards from some of the girls’ favorite stores. Maybe they’ll get a gift card — which is fine — or maybe the giver will feel like shopping around that store for something — which is also fine.

This is the point where I should mention again that I am an Amazon Associate and do get a small referral fee from Amazon should you go there and purchase items and the money I earn helps support the things I do with this blog. However, I would talk about this wish list thing anyway, because it is such a helpful solution in the war between Surprisers and Getters.

How about you? Are you a Surpriser or a Getter? How about your family? How have you worked it out?

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.


Anonymous said...

I'm a combo of both.. I like to be given a list of several items and then I pick one of them. That way, there's still a small amount of surprise in it but people get what they actually want.

I also keep a little folder in my closet all year. It's filled with little napkins and scrap pieces of paper. When someone mentions something, I jot it down and put it in the folder to remind me later on.

Abby said...

I'm a Surpriser! My mom's a Surpriser, too. I think my dad's more of a Getter.

T said...

This is so true! My husband is a surpriser, and I am a getter. I have made a wish list since I was old enough to make wish lists (and I do love the amazon wish list), but the hubs thinks the idea of the a wish list is insulting. So, if I ever want him to get me something, I have to mention it very vaguely, yet repeatedly, until he thinks it's his idea ;-)

Marjorie said...

Your post has made me smile - I'm a surpriser and my husband is a getter - and he will tell me straight out what he wants me to get... My brother has been sending me emails about getting my Amazon wishlist up-to-date - it's a while since I used it and I didn't realise it did so much... so maybe in time for next year I'll try and be a bit more tolerant/understanding of and helpful towards the getters!

teacherninja said...

I surprise (for the most part, successfully) and my spouse gets (and gets grumpy if I'm not specific). Thanks for the heads up on this wish list thing. Sounds awesome...

Melissa said...

I'm a surpriser, my husband (and parents) a getter. He keeps a list, but it's on some file on some flash drive somewhere. I need to point him in the direction of the Amazon wish list button. It would be SO much more helpful when my parents come asking.

I just deal... I'm not especially happy knowing what all the presents under the tree are, but I figure it's better than getting crap I don't want. :-D

bioluminescence said...

Interesting! Have you read The Five Love Languages? If you haven't, do. I think I more just don't value gift-giving, period. I value acts of service.It's all about taking care of people I love. I prefer to buy either things my relatives need, or healthy food gifts. I love them too much to give people with weight/health issues unhealthy stuff. Though everyone gets 1 tiny kind of candy on Christmas. :)Honestly I'm more interested in what would make someone's lives better in some way than what they want. If your house is cluttered or tiny you're generally only getting clothes or consumables.

Me, I despise being burdened with things I didn't want. I hate the idea of broke people spending money on things I don't like. It so overpowers the joy of the occasional surprise that I just don't want anything. I used to like gifts but after inheriting several households of stuff it's just a timesuck to me. If I have to clean it, if I have to exchange it, if I need to organize it, if my husband doesn't spend time with me because he's shopping for me, I would rather do without.

My mom and MIL were/are SHOPPERS so I give yes please/no thank you lists with some specific items and some categories. Lots of $1-$5 items so the shoppers can buy a lot and the broke people can feel like they are not neglecting me/us. This year I'm just begging everyone to save various kinds of wrap/recyclables for our preschool art group.