Why I can appreciate the one-year-old's birthday list email

Let me preface this post by expressing that I more than understand why this email seems rude and entitled. A gift is a gift is a gift, and the fact that someone put any thought, time, effort and money into giving a gift is more than enough in itself. That being said, I can appreciate this email and let me tell you why.

Birthday List

Anytime there’s a holiday, birthday or gift-giving event approaching, I find myself asking or being asked repeatedly, “What do you want … What do you need … What’s a good gift for [child]?” but rarely do I ever get–or give for that matter–a straightforward, helpful answer.

Because of this, I’m often left bouncing off the aisles at Target or entering search after search on Amazon trying to find something I hope the gift receiver can appreciate. However, if we’re all being honest with ourselves when we play the gift-guessing game, unless we’re with the person we’re shopping for on a daily basis, we probably haven’t picked up on all the little things they need or appreciate day in and day out.

Cut to the gift opening: I can honestly say the majority of holidays, events, parties, showers and birthdays I’ve been to have resulted in at least one duplicate gift and who knows how many other gifts that were never used or immediately returned. Personally, I don’t enjoy living in a false reality where I pretend like my gift was truly appreciated. When I go into a gift-giving situation blind, I leave hoping my gift wasn’t one of the duplicates, re-gifts or returns but I’ll never know to be honest. That sucks.

And that is exactly why I can appreciate this woman’s email. The majority of people who are going to get you, or someone close to you, a gift try to find out beforehand what they want, need or like. The woman hands you the golden ticket to the correct gifts in her email.

The next question that always pops into my mind–if I happen to actually find out or know what a person wants–is, “What if someone else already got it for them?” Guess what … the woman split up her gift list so there’s no second-guessing, and I think it’s convenient she let everyone know that. You’re welcome. Gift-buy in peace.

Finally, this woman confronted, admitted and put into words what we’ve ALL done–returned a gift [GASP IN HORROR]–and for some reason, everyone’s offended by that. Personally, I’m glad she said it. She just saved people from potentially wasting their time and money, because whether we like it or not, she’s right. If she or anyone else returns a gift and doesn’t have a receipt, the gift-giver potentially just wasted a chunk of their money.

What’s that? “Don’t return the gift and be grateful you got anything at all,” you say? You’re right–that’s a fair argument, in which case the gift never gets used and you’ve wasted all of your time and money.

So, is this letter slightly tacky, overboard, rude and/or entitled? Perhaps, especially in our society, it’s definitely not a social norm. Sometimes people get offended–myself included–and I can see how this email offends, easily.  From my perspective though, this woman is just being honest and to the point. I. Appreciate. That. It’s refreshing and rare.

I’m sure people asked her what to get her daughter for her birthday, so she made a list. She told people what they already had too much of, and she admitted that if it was a gift they couldn’t use, they would have to return it. We all know those things to be truths in our own households, whether we tell them to other people or not. I can’t be mad when someone has the gull to answer a question in the most straightforward manner possible and ask for exactly what they need/want.

And that’s why I can appreciate this one-year-old’s birthday list email. What are your thoughts? Do you agree or are you just absolutely appalled by the email?


10 thoughts on “Why I can appreciate the one-year-old's birthday list email

  1. I agree with your view of the email. I can see the positives as well as understand why so many see the negatives. My only additional thought is why on earth does a child turning one year old need so much stuff? I say let everyone just buy the child a bunch of formula since she points out that it’s costing a fortune. 😉

    1. Haha! Yes, that would’ve been a good solution to the formula cost. I definitely understand how it comes across rude. It’s very straightforward and no exclamation points, happy faces or pleasantries to cushion the requests. It’s one of those things that can easily go both ways!

  2. It sounds like she’s only asking for presents from relatives? If that’s the case, then this email seems understandable. My family always wants to know what to get our kids (as does my husband’s family). I think it is good to give a list that gives the gift buyer options – if that is how your family operates. I’ll be honest when I say I likely wouldn’t send an email quite like this as it’s very detailed with not much flexibility. I think people like to have ideas, but they also like to have the freedom to buy something different if they want. After all, sometimes you receive a gift you haven’t thought of that is wonderful and helpful. Also, often the best part about gifts is the surprise. 🙂

    1. I agree! My family always asks for a list. I always go with the list with a ton of options as well, but the url isn’t a bad idea if you know someone isn’t tech savvy or won’t take the time to find an item. I would hope it wouldn’t matter, however, if someone decided to find their own version of the item listed instead of going with her specific one–but to each their own I guess. I, personally, am a fan of surprise and personal, heart-felt gifts. If people know you or your family well enough to confidently go out on a limb without suggestions, that’s awesome in my opinion, but like I said, I get what she’s doing! I would welcome it. 🙂

  3. I like your positive take on this. I completely understand your point of view. However, I think the essence of life is to learn to appreciate whatever we are given especially if it is a gift. The amount of precision that went into the list shows a desire to control outside of what is reasonable, kind, or gracious. I appreciate your take, but I think the email is rude.

    1. Alana, I agree that gifts should be appreciated, and that’s why I thought it was important to preface the post the way I did. This email isn’t my personal style, but I do like it. I’m always appreciative of whatever a gift may be because someone thought of you and took time to express it. I can see how what she’s doing can be perceived as rude though, but I don’t take it that way. To me, she’s laying out ideas, giving access to them and being open about everything else that may go on. Once again, not my style, but I get it.

  4. I read the email first, and then your blog post.
    After reading the email, I was a little bit stunned at the thoroughness of it. But reading your synopsis did help me see the positive points in it.

    I am like you, what do you get for someone else’s child??! It’s tricky to know what they have or don’t already have. My husband and I normally go the coloring book/bubbles/sidewalk chalk route – things that they can DO verses toys. That makes it a tiny bit simpler. Those things don’t stick around forever, they get used and then they are gone. That would have been kind of hard to do for a 1 year old.

    And honestly, unless someone is a super good friend of our’s, we keep it under $10-$15. There is no need to spend $25 plus on a one year old, because they are going to get WAY more than they need.

    I always ask for the parents for ideas or things that their little ones like, and sometimes try to find something small that they like, and then make up the rest as I go. And if I were in this person’s family, this would have made my life SO much easier. That’s one reason we started an Amazon wishlist for each kid. It’s not a list of expectations, it’s easy enough to shop off of, and they’re more frivolous things that we aren’t as inclined to spend money on.

    Sorry, that was a rant! Haha! I really do appreciate your perspective on this!

    1. I like the Amazon wish list idea. Personally, I think gifts are from people’s hearts, so requiring specific gifts isn’t my thing, but giving the option to choose something we request is awesome. But yes, I can appreciate her email. I’d welcome it, for sure, but I agree with you–for a one-year-old, it’s not really worth it to give or pay WAY more than necessary. I appreciate the rant :). Thanks for commenting!

  5. I think you can choose to see this as positive or negative. I like to give a gift I know the recipient will love, so I love wish lists and a good idea of what they want. We do lists on Amazon and share them with the family so you know the person WANTS what you are giving.

    1. Exactly! If I’m close enough to someone that I’m comfortable going out on my own with a gift because I know what they like or have seen what they need, I’d much rather do that. However, if I have no clue, I like to ask or have a list to go off of, in which case I’d welcome this email. I completely agree with you though—the email can definitely come across negative. I more than understand why my opinion on this email is in the minority!

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