You've made a list, checked it twice...then people ignore it anyway. But where once you were stuck with your tasteful crystal platypus paperweight from Auntie Jean, or the clearly snaffled from a boot sale blender from Uncle Steve, now there are ways in which you can engineer the gifts you really want. Follow our step by step guide and help your friends and family buy you exactly what you want for Christmas this year. Surely they'll thank you for it...!
Spell it out
Telling your partner, "I'd like a new bag for Christmas," when you really mean, "I'd like the new Chloe Hayley Hobo in Smooth Calfskin - and it has to be Tan!" is not going to end well for anyone. You might think he knows you well enough to read your mind, but, unless he works for Net-A-Porter, he doesn't. If you've got your eye on something specific then be upfront about it. Write a list of things you'd like and include links to the exact products you've got in mind. Companies such as Amazon.com and Wishlist.com.au allow you to create lists that you can email directly to the person who's buying for you. Romantic? Maybe not. Relationship saving? Definitely.
Ask for cash
Think it's rude to ask for cash instead of presents? Get over it. People do it for weddings, so why not for Christmas? If you're planning a trip over the holidays or at any point during the year, tell people that instead of buying you a present, it would really help if they could contribute to your holiday fund so you can enjoy some cocktails, upgrade to business class on your flight or splash out on a special meal while you're away. Websites such as Ourwishingwell.com.au mean people can deposit money directly to you without having to hide a wad of twenty dollar notes in your Christmas card.
Make a "no present" rule
Fed up with receiving obviously re-gifted presents from your friends? Suggest that this year you skip swapping presents and spend the money on going out for dinner together instead. The result? Someone else has to plaster on a fake smile when they unwrap a cook book that's been gathering dust at the back of your mate's wardrobe for the past year, and you get to go out for a great night with your besties.
Start dropping hints
Remember when you used to collect stamps/mugs/royal family memorabilia, way back when you were like, six years old? No? Well Gran does, and that's all she buys you. Every. Single. Christmas. It's time to drop some not-so-subtle hints so you don't end up yet another hand-knitted, Princess Di toilet seat cover. "Oh, I've got so many mugs with Wills and Kate on. What would be really useful is a new camera so I can keep a photographic record of all the mugs you've given me over the years." Hopefully she'll get the message, and you'll get something you really want.
Create some Ts and Cs
Set some rules around the presents you receive and give. A price point is a good start, but what about insisting on gift receipts, or suggesting you all only gift things you've made, like an addition to Christmas Dinner or homemade Christmas biscuits or lollies? As well as taking steps to ensuring a better pressie for you, you might even give better presents to the ones you love too.
Avoid the Christmas awkies this year. Add some Instant Scratch-Its to your gift!