Of Wishlists and A Trip Down Memory Lane

By Sarah Aterrado - December 15, 2022

I grew up in an era where the concept of Wishlist did not exist. In those days, whenever there was an "exchange gifts" during Christmas parties, the giver carried the burden of gift-giving—one that I carried ever since I started high school.

I remember during Freshmen year, I gave my manito a pack of Magic: The Gathering cards. I even went out of my way to secretly ask his friend what color of deck he plays.

Sophomore year. I gave my manito, who was addicted to Star Craft, an expansion pack CD (and I thought it was legit because I bought it at the mall, only to find out years later that a legit game costs ten times more. Haha).

In my Junior year, my manita loved doing art. Obviously, I gave her art materials that I carefully handpicked and would have loved to use myself.

You see, in every gift-giving, we try to get to know the person we are giving our gifts to. Back then there was no social media, so prying was a bit of a challenge. You have to pay attention to what they always talk about, what they do during break time, their habits, and even involve some friends just so you can fish out whatever information to have an idea what to give them.

Of course, it's not a guarantee that they would actually like or use what they were given. But you could say I always gave a careful thought to it. And I assume my classmates did the same. Because every single year for three years in high school, I got an effin alarm clock. I guess, that's what you get for being a notorious latecomer. 😂

So in my Senior year, after drawing the names of our manito/a, I announced flatly out loud in class that I would kill anyone who would give me an alarm clock, knowing that I still hold the record for the most number of lates.

I did not exactly liked what I got (it was a Pooh pillow but Eeyore was my favorite haha), I was grateful nonetheless. And at least, no one went out of the party unalived

This is what my 8th grader son will be giving to his manita who wished for stationeries. Why didn't we have wishlists before? 13-year-old me would be the happiest to receive this.

Fast forward to this over-sensitive era—where almost everyone is easily offended because, I swear, if you give an alarm clock to someone who's chronically late these days, you'll end up on social media for insensitivity, derision, and possibly humiliation. 😅 These Wishlists actually made gift-giving easy for both giver and receiver.

Not in my case though. 

Every time I had to write something on my wishlist, my brain lags and blocks all cognitive processes that I end up putting things I do not actually use, need, or want. Or worse, I do not write anything—deeming the wishlist useless and leaving the giver the burden of gift-giving that usually ends up with a poorly chosen gift like mugs, photo albums, figurines, and ugh alarm clocks.

What I'm trying to say is, the things I need are way out of the agreed budget. And the things that I want are things that I probably already have or if I don't, it is something exorbitant for a simple holiday gift exchange. Or maybe I just do not know what I really want now. But I was raised a gracious receiver, so whatever I receive will truly be appreciated. 

Unless, of course, it's another goddamn alarm clock. Then...

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