Gift giving can be simultaneously beautiful and stressful. I think this is why gift cards have become so popular. It seems easier to just give someone the card, and let them buy what they want.
When I was a kid, my dad had a firm no gift card rule. He would say, "Gift cards are so impersonal. Go to the store, and choose something specific." Protestations of, "But what if she doesn't like it? I want to give her something she really wants, and this way she can pick it out," were met with, "She will be happy to get a gift, and will like that you took the time to choose it. That makes it special."
While he was probably right, and it is fun to pick out something specific, I know we have all been the recipient of at least one gift that wasn't exactly something we wanted. Like the time my husband tried to buy me a shirt - it was a nice thought, but there was no way I could actually wear that shirt out in public.
If only someone would invent a way for us to buy gifts without frustration, firm in the knowledge that the gift receiver will love our choice. Frustrated gift giver, your wish has been answered. Meet pickURgift.com, a free service that allows you to make a reverse wishlist.
What is a reverse wishlist, and how does it work? You create a list full of gifts you think your friend would love. Once the list is complete, you send it to said friend. She will look at the list, give feedback and mark the things she likes, and send it back to you. Now you know which gifts would be a hit, and you can choose one of them to buy. It takes all the stress out of gift giving.
Registering with pickURgift
The registration process is easy. They only require your name, email address, and birthday. Since you don't purchase any products through pickURgift, you will not be asked for credit card information.
The UR Button
After your account is set up, you are ready to start creating reverse wishlists. The first step is adding the bookmarklet, called a UR Button, to your bookmarks bar. It is a simple, onetime drag and drop process, but they do have instructions for every browser type if you have any difficulties. This is great for when you invite your parents, who might not be as tech-savvy as you are, to join. You won't have to spend a long time on the phone talking them through it.
Now that you have the UR Button in your bookmarks bar, you are ready to window shop and create wishlists. (Window shopping in your pajamas is bliss.) When you find something your friend would like, click the UR Button. A pickURgift box will pop up on the right side of the screen. You choose the gift recipient and wish list from drop down menus, click on the image you want displayed, and also have the option of adding a note or description.
You can add to your wishlists easily anytime you come across something that you think might be a great fit. When you have completed your list, you tell pickURgift to email it to your friend. A notification will pop up on your dashboard when your recipient picks gifts from your list that she would like, or leaves comments on the gifts you picked.
I started this wishlist for my mom (shhhh - don't tell her, I'm not ready to send it yet), and you can see that I can easily edit or delete items from the wishlist page.
Even if you don't choose to send your reverse wishlist to your friend for feedback, you will have all of your gift ideas organized and saved to make your shopping easy.
Contacts and Profiles
Within the pickURgift website, you have the ability to build a contact list. For each contact you add, you can record their personal gift dates like birthdays and anniversaries. This is great for people like me who can barely remember my own anniversary, much less anyone else's.
More wonderful than remembering the dates, pickURgift gives each contact a preferences profile that includes clothing sizes, color choices, and other important information. No more guessing if those kicky shoes will fit, or that great sweater will be too big.
You aren't limited on contacts or wishlists, so you can get started on your list building whenever you come across something you think might be perfect for a friend or family member (I'm looking at you early Christmas shoppers). I've already started reverse wishlists for several people.
This is where I really see the brilliance of pickURgift.com. My mom lives on the other side of the country, and when she wants to send gifts to Katarina, it involves a LOT of phone calls, emails, and messages asking me questions about sizes, preferences, and opinions. My mom likes to pick out gifts herself, but not being here everyday can make it hard to know exactly what to buy. I hate sending her a gift list, because I don't know how much money she is planning on spending, and it always feels a little bit awkward to ask for specific presents.
It will be fabulous for my mom to be able to build a list of items she would be able to buy, and send it to me to look over. I can pick the things that will work best, and then she can order them when she is ready. I can even show something to Katarina to get her reaction without Katarina knowing it has anything to do with a gift possibility.
If the gift is clothes (grandmas love sending cute outfits) my mom will be able to look at the preferences profile, and have all the size information right there waiting for her. That will stop those midnight phone calls to ask, "Should I get a medium or large in this shirt, and what shoe size is Katarina wearing now?" Everyone will be happy.
I love websites that make my life easier, and pickURgift is definitely one of the good ones. You can find them at pickURgift.com, on facebook, and twitter.
What is the best gift you have ever given or received?