After all, nothing ruins the magic of Christmas like asking for the receipt.
4 Minute ReadFeature
by Jess Lacey
We have some work to do. First off, let’s eradicate the shame of asking for a Christmas gift you genuinely want this year. This is not a selfish act, nor is it a lesson in how best to be greedy, a successful present is a great outcome for both giver and recipient.
Gift giving takes equal parts time, attention and thought - factors that most of us are short on at the best of times, let alone the impending holidays. This is why the cliche of ‘man dashing around designer department store on Christmas Eve’ exists and subsequently, how extended January returns vouchers came about. Let us also not forget that retail staff earn their best commissions this time of year because Christmas gifts are scarcely borne from magic, but the timely amalgamation of blind panic meeting a savvy salesperson.
You see now? It’s almost selfish not to intervene and split the gifting responsibility. But how best to communicate your festive wants to someone who’s not a mystic mind reader? Here’s how to harness the power and opportunity available to you.
1. Go ahead and ask for it
As children we have no qualms about scribbling a highly prescriptive list of gifting wants that border expectations. Adults actually encourage these lists of demands, offering a knowing smile and reassuring that Santa will do his best. But maintain this habit into adulthood and it becomes far less charming. Admittedly a full list is perhaps a Tiffany Bone Cuff too far but addressing the situation sometime in late November, to communicate the one thing you really would love to open, is more than acceptable behavior. Choose your moment, adopt an affable tone, perhaps throwing in a ‘darling’ for good measure. Should your assertion pay off and you indeed, get what you asked for on Christmas morning, make sure you show your gratitude and excitement to prove that the brilliance of presents lies in receiving something you truly adore, not in the fleeting surprise. Again, much like with small humans, the joy of watching someone you love squeal with delight as they open the gift they've been longing for and is theirs to keep, is a joy for everyone in the room.
2. The subtle art of manipulation
Less direct but carrying an increased risk of open interpretation, is hint dropping. Choosing an opportune, relaxed moment to mention that the nights are drawing in and you really would love a new cashmere wrap this winter is a good start, as is mentioning that you so admired the butter soft handbag (insert friend’s name) was sporting at lunch yesterday. The caveat to this working is that hints can be lost in translation, therefore said recipient must be listening, not idly scrolling or watching sport at the time. Doubling down by repeating your clandestine wishes to older children or surrounding family is also a smart way to cement the point. As surely Monty will tell you, seeds are far more likely to germinate if you’ve planted them in a few beds.
3. Register your interests
Polite society is accepting gift registries for impending weddings and baby showers, so why aren’t we bringing it into the festive lexicon? Spend a day with a personal shopper at any luxury department store and you’ll accrue an ample list of sartorial desires. A swift email from that personal shopper to your loved one’s inbox will give them a bounty of gifts to select from, allowing them a small amount of choice within the confines of a curated framework. This can of course be emailed to any amount of loved ones or their dedicated PAs. Less direct than asking outright, yet every bit as effective.
4. The gift of established boundaries
It might be that your ideal gift this year might not be of the material variety. Perhaps it’s the shaking off bad traditions or unwanted expectations? If what you really want this Christmas is to enjoy it a little more, it’s time you achieve that. ‘I don’t want any gifts, I just don’t want to go to your mother’s’ is still a gift of sorts. As is asking teenage children not to spend their limited cash but instead, their time. Or your extended family to bring decent wine, rather than wrapped gifts. Changing your micro-societal landscape can be daunting but it likely opens up opportunities for others seeking the same. No need to get blamey; prefix it with “let’s switch it up this year” and give it a fresh twist whilst staying true to getting what you want.
And just so you know what to ask for…
Still not sure what you want this Christmas? How about a sharper mind or the best skin of your life?
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