December is the busiest month in our family. There are all the awesome Christmas traditions and activities but also my daughter’s birthday. Having both gift heavy events within two weeks of each other is daunting. It never dawned on me until D’s first birthday how many gifts she would receive so close together. I also learned that family and friends that do not have kids (or kids of different ages) would always ask what she wanted or needed. I was completely overwhelmed when I had to come up ideas because I did not have a centralized list but instead sent three ideas to each person who asked. Since I did not know what or if anybody had decided to purchase the items I sent, I had to come up with way more ideas then if I had put together a centralized list. Once D’s birthday was over, I had to do it all over again for Christmas! After that year I decided to create an Amazon List where people could have plenty of options for both her birthday and Christmas.
I choose Amazon because they have a great selection of books and we are obsessed with books at our house. They also have the option to add “ideas” for gifts that aren’t even on sale on Amazon. This is a great option to add things such as passes to the local kids indoor play center, Museum memberships, movie tickets and more. Amazon is very easy to shop and many people have Prime these days, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
Selfish? Forward? Nah.
The first year I made the list I was hesitant to share the link because I felt like it could be seen as selfish. I only sent the link directly to the people who asked for gift ideas. After talking to my friends and family about my hesitations to share the list, many of them told me it make shopping for D much easier, quicker and that they were less worried if she would like what they picked out for her. It also make it worlds easier for me because I only had to set up the ideas ONCE and not worry if I sent the same idea to multiple people. I always make sure to add a range of price options, so there’s something for everyone. I have now been making the list for four years and still feel a little awkward sharing the link but have received so much positive feedback that I now realize it is such a nice tool for everybody that I shouldn’t feel awkward about it at all! There are a few things I do to make it feel more personal and not just a list of things that she wants…
I still send out paper invites because I love the idea of receiving “fun” mail. Since I wanted to add a personal note about the Amazon gift list I choose to handwrite a sticky note for each invite. This year Amazon has changed how they allow people to view lists. It has made it impossible to view a persons list unless you are “friends” or you have a direct link to the list. I try to quickly explain that we have a list if people want to view it, but I try not make it sound like we expect people to only buy from the list. This year my handwritten note read, “Hi! I always find it stressful to shop for kids’ gifts so a few years ago I started creating Amazon Gift Lists to make it easier for people like me. If you would like to view our list I can text you a link. Hope you can join us!” Most of the family shop off the list and we typically get quite a few friends that also shop from the list.
When creating the list I also add notes explaining why D would enjoy the item. Some of the notes are as simple as “We are big fans of Mo Williams books!” However some have more detailed like “D loves science and I found a really neat reference book that has beautiful close-up pictures of plants and bugs. She is OBSESSED with the details and I know she would love to explore details of rocks and other items with this microscope.” It is very easy to add descriptions and change the priority of the item. When looking at your list, under “add to cart” there is a link that reads “Add comment, quantity & priority” where you can add your preferences. I try to add a few items as a higher priority in various price points. These items are typically the first ones that get purchased from the list.
The last step to creating an Amazon list is to organize it. Since we love books I ask family members to inscribe a book instead of a card. This has been a great tradition that our family has wholeheartedly embraced! I probably overthink the organization of the list but I group items together that would make a good gift. I tend to add a few books that fit with each toy to give options of a book to inscribe.
What Do You Think?
Despite my hesitation to originally create a gift list, I have heard from MANY parents and friends that they think it is a great tool and that it has made shopping for D easier. This year I have had about 75% of the parents of D’s friends ask for the link and thank me for creating a list. I will definitely be creating one every year! What do you think? Would you shop an Amazon list for a gift? Would it make it easier for you, or have you done it before? I’d love to hear your thoughts!