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How Can I Keep Track of Gifts I’d Like? [Ask Lifehacker]

30 Lug/09

Dear Lifehacker: My family and friends are big on giving gifts. Even if you say you don’t need anything, and mean it, you’ll still end up with gifts. What can I do to guide their good-natured giving? Photo by Muffet.

I really don’t want to sound like I’m not thankful for having great friends that like giving gifts, that isn’t the issue at all. Your holiday planning post got me thinking about the holidays however and how I always tell people, sincerely, that I don’t want gifts and they always buy random stuff to give me. Is there any good way to keep a “wish list” online so that little things I see throughout the year could find there way onto the list for friends and family to potentially see?

Yours,
Santa’s Little Helper

Dear Santa’s Little Helper,

We understand your dilemma and definitely don’t consider you thankless or greedy. Gift giving is a big thing in many cultures and people, economic hardships or not, would feel weird not exchanging even little gifts at celebrations like birthdays and Christmas.

If you’re only going to look at one tool we’ll definitely have to give a strong stamp of approval to the Universal Wish List from Amazon. Last year they rolled out a bookmarklet which lets you add anything, not just Amazon products, to your wish list. Once you’ve captured things onto the main wish list you can easily use it like an organizer to make sub-lists for your friends and family and other lists for things you’d like to purchase yourself. The upside of using Amazon is that there is a high chance a potential gift giver can purchase the item right there from the list and enjoy some hassle free shopping.

While the majority of your friends and relatives are probably familiar with Amazon, there is no reason to avoid websites devoted specifically to gift “registry”. We’ve reviewed several sites over the years like Wishlistr, BoxedUp, MyGiftster. They’re all convenient to use, but you’ll definitely want to review them on a point by point basis to decide what the deal breaking features are for your needs. MyGiftster for example has two really handy features for potential gift givers, givers can flag a present that they want to purchase for you to indicate that someone is actively in the process of purchasing it and they can mark off when they’ve bought it so nobody else purchases it (both setting are invisible to you, the list holder.)

We hope that helps stem the tide of random but well intended gifts that the holidays bring to your door! We’d suggest telling a couple key people about your list, moms are good for that kind of thing, so that relatives who ask will know where to go.

Happy List Making,
Lifehacker

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