Make a /wish page!
Browse my /wish page for inspiration.
- Wishlists are Good for Your Soul
- Wishlists are Good for the Environment
- Wishlists are Good for Your Wallet
- How to Publish Your Wishlist
- How to Fill Your Wishlist
- How to Gracefully Reject Junk
- How to Give without Guesswork
Wishlists are Good for Your Soul
To decide what you want is to decide who you want to become.
An honest wishlist lays bare your values, motivations, and desires.
Sharing your wishlist gives people opportunities to connect with you. From your list, they can infer passions and goals and sometimes even insecurities. They can quickly find common ground with you. They can offer suggestions and support.
Wishlists are Good for the Environment
Obligatory gifts perpetuate waste.
If somebody gives me a $61 spatula that I wouldn’t have purchased for $4 with my own money, then $57 vanishes when I accept it.
But that $57 doesn’t really vanish. Its plastic packaging might sit in the Great Pacific garbage patch for the foreseeable future.
Public wishlists rescue friends/family from wasting their savings on deadweight loss – better gifts, less waste, everybody wins.
People also give away possessions that gather dust. If your wishlist includes an expensive toaster, a friend may offer it to you after they switch to a strict gluten-free diet. Again, everybody wins.
Wishlists are Good for Your Wallet
Maintaining a wishlist promotes intentional spending. It’s much easier to plan realistic budgets when all your future purchases are listed together.
Queued purchases reduce impulse buys! Consider observing a bi-weekly buyday.
For birthdays and holidays, friends/family can pool funds for one expensive gift. I’d rather replace a broken dishwasher than receive assorted socks/candles/books.
How to Publish Your Wishlist
Email me if you’d like to help me build a tiny wishlist app!
How to Fill Your Wishlist
Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt famously said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want a quarter-inch hole.”
The lesson is that the drill bit is merely a feature, a means to an end, but what people truly want is the hole it makes.
But that doesn’t go nearly far enough. No one wants a hole.
What people want is the shelf that will go on the wall once they drill the hole.
Actually, what they want is how they’ll feel once they see how uncluttered everything is, when they put their stuff on the shelf that went on the wall now that there’s a quarter-inch hole.
– Seth Godin, via This is Marketing
Distill what you want from what you want to do.
List your commitments and pastimes and aspirations, then add related purchases for each. A bucket list is a great seed for a wishlist.
For example, my /wish page is mostly motivated by creative pursuits and dreams of sustainable/independent living. You could probably infer that from my bucket list.
Here are some categories to tickle your imagination: projects, home, friendships, cooking, investments, crafts, novelty, collections, charities, education, travel, etc.
Giving feels good, but many people don’t have a gift budget. Be sure to include plenty of free items on your wishlist.
How to Gracefully Reject Junk
“Please accept this turtle I purchased for ten thousand dollars. Sorry, no gift receipt. She’s anemic, so remember to feed her every thirty minutes. Let’s start the soulbonding ceremony, okay?”
“Wow, what a beautiful turtle! Thank you so so much, but I don’t have space for a turtle in my life right now; I can barely take care of myself. I’m sure it took a lot of energy to find such a unique creature. If you can’t return her, I’m certain I can find her a new home. How does that sound?”
Rejecting gifts is impolite.
But it’s also rude to impose semi-permanent surprises on others.
Dishonesty shouldn’t be the default. If you aren’t going to keep something, communicate your feelings quickly and kindly. Praise good taste where applicable and thank people for their efforts.
To avoid awkward situations:
- Keep your home clean. Cluttered homes are public invitations for junk.
- Publish your collection catalogs, e.g. “I collect mint/near-mint baseball cards of Lastings Milledge. Here’s a picture of my current collection…”
- Sometimes people really do find “that perfect thing” that you couldn’t have imagined really existed. For those cases, put a surprise policy on your /wish page, e.g. “no surprises over $15”.
Consumerism is cringe, but a “no gifts ever” policy puts people in uncomfortable positions. At the very least, provide an uncontroversial charity.
How to Give without Guesswork
For special handmade gifts, January is a great month to start planning/crafting things for the year.
But always confirm before you make/purchase things for people.
Guessless giving is sustainable. Humanity needn’t expend resources producing things for people who will fling them directly into a landfill.
Ask friends what they want 4-6 weeks before birthdays and holidays.
If friends evade sharing clear wants, offer to donate $25 to a charity unless they send you a wishlist. Do not squander your time and money on opaque people.