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Yes, this is a procrastination post.  Yes, this post is off topic.  No Photoshop.  No photography.  I needed a break tonight.

And at this time of year, my free time is spent clicking keys on the keyboard shopping.  Years ago, I would have had to be dressed, fight traffic, find a parking spot at the end of a crowded lot, and battle in lines.  Not anymore. now I just sit at my desk, click and type. I still like giving gifts.  I like being creative, for the most part anyway. But sometimes I am lazy.  I just want to buy something the person wants.

My twins made this very easy on me this year.  They made a registry on American Girl.  My husband, well for him, I may actually have to get dressed as I plan to get him a new TV. Ours is old and makes a weird low buzzing noise. I want to rip it out of the wall. I could order the TV online, but some things I still feel the need to see in person.

My parents and in-laws usually want canvases and framed pictures.  No problem. Click – Click.

But then there is me. No wish list this year. Not really sure what I want…  Maybe jewelry? But I just got earrings for my birthday.  Maybe camera stuff, as I have been thinking of a new point and shoot (Canon G11) – but I am still undecided.

screen-shot-2009-11-17-at-92810-pm Wish Lists? Gift Cards? MCP Thoughts

Maybe a new lens, but I really do not need another lens right now.  So it leads me to this – a gift card.  If I do not express what I want, relatives are baffled.  You might think they just met me (possibly including my parents and husband).  But a gift card spends well – I can buy what I want, when I want it.

So I started wondering do any of you like gift cards?ir Wish Lists? Gift Cards? MCP Thoughts Did you know you can get gift cards for almost any restaurant, department store, online store, etc?ir Wish Lists? Gift Cards? MCP Thoughts It is crazy!  It is easy but is it too impersonal?  I did Borders Books gift certificates for teacher gifts last year – they loved them. But for family and friends, is it a good gift or too “easy.”

screen-shot-2009-11-17-at-93245-pm Wish Lists? Gift Cards? MCP Thoughts

Do you like the idea of gift registries and wish lists? Do you like tangible or intangible gifts?  I am sitting here on Amazon right now trying to decide if I go the “wish list” route or just leave it up to old fashion shopping.  Back when I was younger, people bought gifts based on what they thought people would like. For some reason with all this technology gift giving is both easier and harder than ever. Maybe gift receiving is too. Of course my back hurts from sitting in this chair at the desk all day working and then shopping.  Maybe I should ask for some “massages.” Hint Hint. Wait, those are not available online…

I look forward to your thoughts about gifts, your likes and dislikes.

Tomorrow I will be back with more photography tips – in fact over 300 of them – so check back then.

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  1. Feuza Dos Reis on November 18, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I have a birthday coming up and I have hinted some stores around, I think if it is a gift card from a place you really like, why not? others like more personable gift, i would love to do a registry for me, lol, good idea for the kiddos later, mine are too little to do that and they want everything they see on infomercials and tv

  2. Stefanie Studenka DeShetler on November 18, 2009 at 11:47 am

    You actually can get massages gift certificates online… check out spafinder.com! 🙂 I love gift cards – both getting and giving. They save time for the giver and the receiver, and if you think about it, it's really not any more personal for someone to pick a gift from a registry…doesn't prove they know you, just that they can read and follow instructions! 🙂

  3. Patricia on November 18, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I always seem to want things that no one else can pick out for me, or would buy me. My parents/inlaws would die of a corenary if I aske for the $150 Kennith Cole purse that I have been drooling over. I ask for Visa Gift cards instead. That way Im not limited to a certain store (I recieved one for walmart once, I used it on groceries. The gesture was very nice, but I didn’t want Groceries for my birthday;-).

  4. Alisha Shaw on November 18, 2009 at 9:55 am

    I adore gift cards! And right now even the horribly practical ones (Costco, Wal-Mart, etc) are great gifts. I love pairing them up with something small and homemade-treats, scarfs, photobooks, etc so it wasn’t just an impersonal gift card. I remember those days of just KNOWING the person and choosing what you think they’d like best…kinda a fun way to go. Heavens-actually getting to know people and their needs is starting to sounds old school LOL

  5. Norine on November 18, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Gift cards are a great gift. Don’t know what they want or need? A gift card to a store the person shops at a lot is a great gift. Gone are the days when you just buy a gift to fill a box because you have no idea what to get a person and they won’t tell you; plus, if they do tell you, the gift is no longer a surprise. I like Alisha’s idea of pairing up the gift card with something not so impersonal. I would much rather give a gift card and know the person can buy something they really want than buy something they simply don’t like but won’t tell you so because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Plus, if they get cards from several people, they can bundle them to make a larger purchase, maybe get that $$$ gift instead of $ gift.

  6. Crissie McDowell on November 18, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I was always uncomfortable with making a wish list because I felt like I was like, yup, why don’t you go ahead and buy me all of this. But like you, without, my husbands family has NO CLUE. They REALLY appreciate them. And…gift cards are wonderful! I used to feel that they were impersonal but I think people have a lot of fun with them. Maybe tie in a small personal gift with it. I also LOVE magazine subscriptions. They’re the gift that keeps on giving Clark.

  7. Melissa on November 18, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I love gift cards. If I know a person’s favorite store I go that route. If not, I do a Visa or Amazon card. Honestly, I would rather give them something useful than give an item I guessed at that will sit in a closet or something! I usually do what Alisha does…pair it with a little something so it is more personal.And I LOVE receiving gift cards for the exact same reason.

  8. Judy on November 18, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I always feel kind of bad giving gift cards, I’m worried the recipient will think I didn’t want to take the time to get them something more personal. But mostly it’s like you said, I just don’t know what to give them. But then what if you get them a g.c. for the wrong store? Sometimes I just buy VISA gift cards, which are always nice. I do like receiving g.c. though, so I don’t know why I feel badly about giving them! Wish lists are okay but I would never give it to someone unless they asked me what I wanted.

  9. Gina on November 18, 2009 at 11:14 am

    i don’t necessarily “wish list” but I do get the calls every year asking what I want and what the girls want…and I break up all the ideas into families..its just easier. it feels ackward at times but i LOVE when I get specifics from my nieces and nephews…makes life and shopping much easier ! gift cards can be good and bad…you really have to go as far as specifing WHERE you want the card (unless its an Amex)…always a bummer when a store is having a GREAT sale and you have a gift card to a competitor.

  10. Kevin Halliburton on November 18, 2009 at 11:33 am

    You are not giving a gift card, you’re giving a shopping spree and who doesn’t want one of those. People know if you love them and are investing in their life. A gift rarely hides or reveals anything different than what they already know based on their interaction with you.I agree with everyone who said don’t limit the gift card to a single store. That takes away a whole lot of the “spree” in the shopping spree. Think up a fun and personal way to package the card that reveals your insight into who they are and shows them that you took a little extra time thinking of them while you prepared it. Of course, the best way to personalize a shopping spree is to hook up with them on sale day and spend your shopping sprees together after lunch.

  11. Fargo Wedding Photographer - Laura on November 18, 2009 at 11:38 am

    The older I get, the harder it is for people to shop for me… it’s too difficult to buy me the things I really like… clothes, shoes, camera gear. And in this economy, I feel like it’s more helpful to get people things they need rather than random baskets of smelly lotions and things… so I think gift cards are ok. I love the idea of a massage gift card… may have to put that on the list!

  12. Adrianne on November 18, 2009 at 11:44 am

    I ADORE wishlists. Amazon has an ‘Add to Wishlist’ button that let’s you add to your wishlist from any site on the web. We use it all the time. All the kids have their own and know how to use it. Let me tell you, I’m close with my kids but I still wouldn’t think of some of the things they would love and put on their list. Also, having family out of state, it makes it easier for them to either click and ship or to see a pix of what we are talking about. As for GC’s, I would rather get those than a ‘wrong’ gift. While every gift is appreciated, let’s be honest, some are just not right. Wrong color, style, size, decor, whatever. Give me a GC to pick out my own or to get my monthly fix of Starbucks and it’s all good. Don’t forget, many of the BF deals will be online the day before and there will be other great online deals on Cyber Monday!! Most of all have fun!!

  13. Catherine V on November 18, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I think gift cards can be great, and you can make them personal. In the same way that we previously tried to give a gift that we think someone will like (based on their likes and interests), you can do the same thing with a gift card. For example, at home we’re trying to do a lot of home cooking and keeping eating out at a minimum. Partly because eating at home is often healthier and because we are becoming food snobs and only want to eat out once in a great while … at a really good restaurant. So, if someone gave us a gift card to a really nice, locally-owned restaurant in our town, we’d honestly swoon with happiness! So, gift cards can be personal in a way. I also like Alisha’s idea of pairing a gift card with something smaller, too. Then you have both the tangible and the gift card.

  14. Brad on November 18, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    People should give MCP Actions gift certificates, then we could use them for training or new action sets. Perfect!

  15. Jill Franklin on November 18, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    When I got married I was told “We don’t give impersonal gifts” meaning gift certificates &/or cards. Times have changed and now are being accepted, thank goodness. Honestly, what do you get for people who seem to have everything? I would absolutely love to go shopping and pick out something for myself. It’s not impersonal if the one using it is genuinely happy! My kids always make a wish list of course, it’s like dreaming out loud. We always make it clear that it’s only a suggestion and we’re thankful for whatever we get.

  16. Ange Payton Caspar on November 18, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    i usually prefer a gift to a gift card, but i never look a gift horse in the mouth! the only gift card i truly get excited about is itunes, for some reason! i love loading the card and buying songs here and there thinking of the gift-giver each time! as far as wish lists go, we have one on amazon for each family member (the 4 of us), only because when grandma asks what the boys want, it's so easy to send her their wish lists, especially since she lives out of town. it may seem a little impersonal, but i prefer to think of it as efficient!

  17. Lena on November 18, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I love wish lists! I always have a hard time thinking of what to give people (especially my dad!) so I really like it when people have made a wish list. I started making one of my own to return the favor, but then I found that it’s kind of fun! Now when I am aimlessly window shopping online, I can actually add things I like to my list so maybe I will see them again! I’m not a fan of gift cars, however after a bad experience with being told one was expired before I had a chance to use it. Instead, I make “funds” on myregistry.com (the place I made my wish list) and label them with the stores I would normally want gift cards for. This means more money for me to spend and less hassle for the people giving me the money!:)

  18. Morgan on November 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I love the idea of gift cards! I ask for them every year but, like yours, my family thinks they are too impersonal…. They go buy me things and the week following Christmas I’m left to go to every store on the planet and return it… Yes, I usually return/exchange just about everything I get (90% at least). This year I made an idiot proof spreadsheet with the item, the size/color where to find it (numerous locations) the price at each location, where to find coupons (if available) for said item, and a picture.At the very end of my list I put gift cards… Hopefully they will stick to my list but if not, hopefully they will become overwhelmed and just give the giftcard so I can buy the stuff I want!

  19. Pam on November 18, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I do not like to receive gift cards, and only give them if it’s what the person asks for. Even then I usually include something extra that I know they will like. Gift giving should be thoughtful. You should think about the person you are giving to and pay attention to things they say to find the perfect gift.My husband is an expert at this. For years I would spend hours and more $ than I had to give my kids a “good” Christmas. My husband would buy one item for each of us. It was always the most anticipated and most well received of any other item under the tree. The amount he spent was not important. Some gifts cost way more than others, but it didn’t matter. It was the perfect gift for that person. To me, that is what gift giving is all about.As for my list this year…..I’m like you, Jodi. Don’t really know of anything I want or need so I will be happy with the surprises that my family has in store for me. As long as it comes from my favorite camera store!

  20. Wendy on November 18, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Personally, I tend to make presents for people (last year all the younger cousins got library book bags with their names and a special little pocket for their library card along with a bookplate stamp and all the adults got hand-dipped wax luminarias). When I’m actually shopping, though, I like wishlists because even if I don’t decide to get what is on it, I can at least see what their tastes are. And I like creating a wishlist for my daughter because it helps guide some relatives who happen to think she’s still into princesses and Barbies. There is a lot of cool stuff out there (Etsy, The Science Company, Imagine Childhood, etc) and if you have an Amazon wishlist, you can download the Universal Wishlist Button that lets you add items that aren’t sold by Amazon to your Amazon wishlist. As for what I want, I’m holding off on birthday, mother’s day and Christmas presents for as long as it takes to save up for a decent DSLR. I saw a video made with a Canon 5D that was incredible.

  21. Caryl Bevan Young on November 18, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    How about a gift card from the Mall? A gift card that is good for any store in the Mall….

  22. Linda on November 18, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I don’t like gift cards. I feel like I am having to buy my own gift. No time or effort on the other persons part & I don’t want to have to buy my own.

  23. Tanya T. on November 18, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    I love gift cards–giving them and receiving them!!! I never know what to get my in laws so the last few years I have gotten them gift certificates at giftcertificates.com I get them the super certificate and then they can go and choose what store they want the gc to!!! My mother-in-law loves it!!! One year she got a gc to Dillards and then bought herself an outfit to wear to her class reunion. She was so excited to use it for something special that she wanted and probably wouldn’t have been able to get if she didn’t have the gc!!!!!

  24. Nancy on November 18, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    If I had to choose between something someone buy me or a gift card? I choose the gift card. I don’t take anything back to the store so chances are if I don’t like the gift, it will be “donated” and not used. A gift card? I’m not really much better, I got a Staples card two years ago and I still haven’t used it or I re-gift them ( I know!) . Above the rest, I agree with Wendy and love getting homemade gifts. Thanks for the question…I think I’ll pose it to my own family.

  25. Kerry on November 21, 2009 at 12:19 am

    I love gift cards. I think Amazon.com gift certificates are my all time favorite gifts!

  26. Philip Greenspun on December 12, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Living several states away from my son, it’s always difficult to know what to give him for a gift. I KNOW he LOVES Amazon, and purchases computer/phone accessories regularily from Amazon. This year I gave him a gift card and it was the #1 favoriteitem I sent.Santa may be a little old elf, but he’s an AMAZON to me!

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