Friday, December 3, 2010

Meditations On A Wish List

I’ve been thinking a bit about wish lists, it being the time of year when wish lists take center stage. And even after mulling it over I can’t say I’ve really come to any conclusion. But I think maybe I don’t like them…

Oh, they certainly have their reason for existence. My family was undoubtedly getting tired of getting me books only to have me try to hide my little wince and say “Oh, I already have this….would you like to keep it?” (though that, or something similar, can happen with wish lists, too, as I was gifted with something for my birthday that I threw on my wish list so that I’d remember to get it for someone else) And my brother has very specific wants that he does well to put on a wish list because I can’t say it would occur to me to buy anyone Maserati Tipo 60 and 61: The Magnificent Front-Engined Birdcages by Oosthoek and Bollee. (And, sorry bro, but when the cheapest one on AddAll is $147.90 it won’t be coming from me… I only wish I were that wealthy.)

And shopping for someone requires more thought if they don't have a wish list and there is always the chance that your gift to them will fall short. But doesn't gift-giving need to have some thought behind it? Otherwise, we could all just gather in a circle and shove cash at each other and where's the fun in that?!

But really…the wish lists take away a lot of the spontaneity. Yes, my Amazon wish list is 10 or 11 or 12 pages long, so it’s not like I remember everything on it. But there’s always a little sense of “Oh, yeah…this” that comes with opening a book or movie or game that’s been sitting on your wish list for three years. (I do sound like an ungrateful wretch, don’t I?) But there’s no chance for the experience of opening a present and realizing that, even if it never occurred to you to ask for one (or, even more excitingly, never knew such a thing existed), what is staring up at you is exactly what you wanted…the perfect, unasked-for, oh-my-god-that’s-so-me, I-love-it present. Of course, I suppose that there’s also less chance of opening an oh-my-god-what-were-they-thinking, where-on-earth-did-you-find-this, who-in-their-right-mind, sort of present, too.

I told you I had no answer. Just my gut feeling that Christmas is more fun without ‘em. And here’s a public announcement: I am not wed to my wish list! Feel free to stray. (Heh, for one thing, there’s no yarn on my wish list. Guess I could remedy that…)

No comments: