When it comes to Christmas we all do it a bit differently. Some of us have Yorkshires with our Christmas dinner. There are some that leave Father Christmas a G&T. Some of us watch the Queen’s speech. And some of us write Christmas lists.

Christmas lists

It wasn’t until I somehow stumbled into an AIBU forum on Mumsnet (and by the way anyone who says Am I being unreasonable, usually is!) that I realised Christmas lists are a really divisive topic.

Some see them as entitled and grabby. Others see them as practical and organised.

Personally I fall into the latter category. I love a list and Christmas lists are no exception. I write Christmas lists for the kids and myself. Yes, that’s right, I am nearly 41 and I still write a Christmas list! Although only The husband and my Mum see it!

I’m not a particuarly hard person to buy for, but when it comes to perfume and make-up I have brands that I love. Having a birthday in January means I have to make things last a long time! So I do a list for my Mum and my husband of the things I need, and things that I would really love but wouldn’t by for myself.

In the same way with the kids, people don’t always know what they are into, or what they already have. It makes sense practically, and it stops people wasting their money.

Christmas lists

There are certain etiquette rules I apply to Christmas lists.

  1. Always have a mixed price range on a list.
  2. Never enforce the list on anyone unless they ask.
  3. If they do ask, don’t tell somebody what they should get from the list, let them choose.

I would much rather buy something somebody really wants, and maybe something little that I think they would like to go with it, than completely guess and get them something they don’t want, need, or already have.

I also happen to think gift vouchers are a bit of a cop out! Although I think that’s my own issue!

More than ever we are looking at the waste we produce and trying to reduce this, and a Christmas list helps stop all the unwanted gifts ending up in landfill.

One of the stories on Mumsnet was of a 13 year old girl sending a picture of her Christmas list to all her relatives, where she had assigned a gift for each relative to buy her! There was little thought given to the price of these gifts. Or the fact that she normally got a gift from Auntie Brenda and Uncle Steve, not a gift from Auntie Brenda and another gift from Uncle Steve. But I’m sure in her own way she thought she was being helpful. It’s just at 13 she hadn’t quite grasped list etiquette.

Christmas lists

I asked for some views on Christmas lists and his is what you said…

When asked if you thought Christmas lists were a good idea 88% said yes.

When asked if you ask what someone would like, or buy something you think they would like, all of you said you would ask someone.

Yet surprisingly only 33% of you write a Christmas list for yourself. Which I find really baffling if you thin they are a good idea, and you yourself ask people what they want, surely you would have a list of what you want?!

So it appears the entire concept of a Christmas list is utterly confused!

Here are some of your views…

I just buy people what I think they would like – go by their hobbies and interests as I think it’s a nice surprise / treat for them when they open it lifewithlianne.co.uk

If I’m really stuck I’ll ask, but I prefer picking things I think people will like and surprising them. To me that’s what gift giving is all about (otherwise why not just give them money to let them buy what they want)! http://www.thebearandthefox.com

We have a lot of family who live away from us, so we create Amazon wishlists for each of the children. This way they can select something the children have asked for, as well sending it directly to us so that they don’t have to worry about postage etc. http://www.boorooandtiggertoo.com

I’m really bad and ask my family members what they want. My husband was horrified when we first got together! We all do it, and generally get the person what they want. I totally agree it’s a bit miserable, but I’d much rather give somebody something that they’ll be happy with rather than a random gift that could be a waste of money. My brother even sends me his amazon wishlist! http://www.twinstantrumsandcoldcoffee.com

I think it’s super weird that adults do this. If you don’t know someone well enough to get them a present they want then don’t waste your money. Whinge Whinge Wine

I know it’s a cheeky opinion to some but I really wish people would ask me what to get my kids for gifts/ask for a list. The twin’s birthday is in October and they get a lot of toys then. So for Christmas I’d rather they don’t get loads more toys again! So I think general lists can be useful. Living With Peas

I have an Amazon list if people get stuck. However it doesn’t work when your OH’s family don’t realise they need to buy the item from Amazon to remove it from the list. One year I ended up with 3 of the same present. I only needed one. https://bubbablueandme.com


I think that is conclusive proof that we all do Christmas a bit differently, including our gift buying and list writing. Each to their own and all that, but I’ve just seen a really cute bag and I need to add it to my Christmas list…

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Claire Kirby

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