get the gifts you want

How often do you receive gifts you don’t want? If it happens fairly often, let me offer you these simple tips on how to get gifts you want.

May is a month of celebrations in my house. My birthday and Mother’s Day are both in May and sometimes my birthday falls on mother’s day and I have a ‘twofer’. In other words, May is likely a challenging month for my husband.

It has to be a lot of pressure for any husband to have his wife’s birthday and Mother’s Day so close together. Not to mention that I have been striving to live simply for the past few years.

How does one buy something for someone who is trying to get rid of things and simplify her life?

Love Languages

I don’t envy my husband. On top of all that, I am both a very practical and very opinionated person. I know what I like and what I don’t and I’m not afraid to say so.

There isn’t a lot of grey area here. I am also the odd one who wouldn’t mind a vacuum as a gift (as long as I actually needed a vacuum of course). Not exactly romantic…

Some years I have made this challenge so difficult for my husband that I got the gift of nothing by my own request. It is all a bit of a catch 22.

I said don’t get me anything and even though I thought that was what I wanted, I somehow felt let down by getting the nothing I asked for. How is he supposed to get me the gifts I want on the times I’m not even sure what that is?

Gifts are really not my love language. I am an acts-of-service kind of girl. Want me to feel loved? Wash the dishes. In that way, I am fairly simple.

But when it comes to special occasions, I somehow want it all…less stuff and also something that shows me that he thought about me and that he knows me. There are gifts to get someone who doesn’t like gifts, but it does take some thought.

It means a lot to me when my husband takes the time and effort to look at the world through my lens and do some chores he knows I don’t enjoy or takes our girls shopping with him to buy something he knows I will enjoy. Effort and thoughtfulness go a long way with me.


This year I vowed to make his present-hunting job a little easier. I gave him two lists. Two very specific lists.

One included things I would like to do on or near my birthday. The other list included presents I would enjoy receiving. In order to get the gifts I want, I needed to be very clear in asking for them.

The list was also broken down by location to try and make his shopping as efficient as possible. Wow, that says a lot about me. I do love my lists and efficiency.

He took our girls on 3 separate shopping trips to get items for me. I got just what I wanted, and the time and effort he put into making that happen meant a lot to me.


In the past, I have been tempted to think that he should be able to read my mind, but really, is that realistic for anyone? On those occasions, I set both of us up for failure.

No one (not even my husband) can read my mind. When I made the lists, I also felt empowered by being able to communicate exactly what I did or did not want. Not everything needs to be a surprise, especially since I don’t enjoy surprises that much.

I have found simplicity in being direct and speaking up. I know this has also made life easier on my husband, as I no longer have any expectation that he could possibly know what I think or want without me saying it.

Do you ever feel let down on holidays when things don’t go the way you’d envisioned? Have you ever tried giving your husband a list? If so, how did that go for you? Do you get the gifts you want?

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