Resisting the Wish List

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I’ve buried my phone at the bottom of my purse so I can try to ignore the calls, emails and texts from well-meaning relatives, all of whom are asking: Where is the Christmas list?

They want suggestions for what to give the kids, the more specific the better. If I say, “Maybe a Lego set?” they’ll ask, “Which one?”

I don’t know which one. I still haven’t given much thought to holiday gift shopping. I despise the charmless Amazon wish list, it’s true, but my reluctance to create — on command — a catalog of child-appropriate gifts is more than just resistance to materialism.

I think it’s about longing: to be taken care of, to let someone else do at least part of the planning. I may be an adult, but some part of me still has a child’s desire to wake up, starry-eyed, and find that gifts have materialized under the tree — surprises chosen with love and obtained in secret, waiting to be opened in wonder. We don’t outgrow that . . .

(continue reading at The New York Times)


  1. Yes, GREAT essay! I loved that you were published in the NYT! This is a great piece, and very relatable. I hate when my Mom asks me (a 54 yo adult) what to get me…hell if I want it I usually buy it for myself nowadays. So suggesting things has become sort of a chore. I personally DO like the Amazon wish list idea…it takes some of the guess work out of the “chore” as it seems. Enjoyable read! ~MB

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