As the title denotes this information is really for kids so if you are over 13 please do not read.
Now that I have the right audience I first need to apologize that this is so late in the season. Effective gift development should have started months ago. But I will go ahead and provide this now as a reference for next year’s Christmas or with a few minor adjustments you can easily use this guide for birthday gift getting as well.
As with many things in life this plan takes a little effort and a lot of discipline. You will also note that I have left Santa out of the equation. It is my experience that although he delivers, your parents have a huge impact on what he brings.
The following step by step actions have been compiled from my experience as a gift getter and also from other gift getting experts I have studied:
1. Target Definition – The first you need to decide what you want. This task has been made much easier by the internet, the only tools I had as a kid was a year old Sears catalog and the Saturday morning cartoon commercials. You might want to start your search up to six months before Christmas, depending on how long it takes you to make a decision. You must be cautious of two things. The first is the possibility of rogue late year toy releases. Often toy companies time the must have toy deliveries close to the holidays. If you stay with more established items such as BB guns, bikes or dolls you’ll be protected but if you prefer the latest and greatest remember this trap. Secondly you need to make sure your parents don’t realize you are narrowing your selection this early. They might see it as greedy or think that the true meaning of the holiday has been lost. Either of which could lead to budgetary reductions.
2. Lay the Foundation – Just like with anything you build, proper gift structure begins with the foundation. The dirt work in this case is well crafted hinting that needs to begin 3-4 months out. The key is not to ask for the specific item. If you want a new bike maybe you could start pointing out the shortcomings of your current one. “No one has banana seats anymore Mom, the other kids are making fun of me.” Or possibly your doll begins to lose its hair at an alarming rate. Just make it subtle, you don’t want them to become wise to our plan.
3. Decoy – Depending on the cost of your intended gift you might need aim for something a little more expensive to knock them off balance. Let’s say you really want an At-At after seeing The Empire Strikes Back. This toy is a little over budget, especially with all the action figures you need, so initially you might ask for the Millennium Falcon, which is more than twice its price. Then early in November I… err, you, retreat to the At-At because “you understand money is tight”. Be careful to use this ploy sparingly because if they figure out what you’re doing they might call your bluff with a response like, “If you really want the Millennium Falcon we could just save your Christmas gift money and combine it with your birthday gift money, it’s only 6 months away.” If you are presented this option all you can do is implement scorched earth protocol and jump to an entirely different gift request.
4. Golden Child – Whether you’re an only child or there are many it is imperative that you establish yourself as the model of childhood perfection. You need to be up and dressed with your bed made before you’re mom even comes in to wake you. Whatever diabolical chore list they have created for you make sure you’re checking every box. Now is not the time to question fairness, save that for January when they are exhausted and you have your bounty.
5. Reciprocation Principal – This is where you really set the hook. 2-3 months out you have to start killing them with kindness but keep it subtle as not to draw attention. Help your mom put away the groceries. Take the trash out before your dad gets it. Then a month out start asking them what they want. “What do you want for Christmas? I saved all my allowances for two months.” Even if you don’t get them anything you have planted the seed that you are and that will influence what they give you, trust me my data doesn’t lie.
6. Holding Pattern – A couple weeks out you need to pull back. They have either gotten the gift or they have it in mind so you can’t do much more to influence them. The key is to remain calm, think positive thoughts. Please note that you never complain about a sibling’s ambitious request no matter how late it comes to the table. You are all in the same game, if he gets lucky and ups the normal big gift expenditure he just made it easier for you next time.
7. Pay it Forward – Even if you don’t get what you want never let them see the tears. This is a game of years and you have a birthday coming up soon. The more gracious you are, the better your odds are next time. This takes incredible focus and it wouldn’t hurt to practice because when you get a coat instead of the laser tag set you wanted your instinct is to fall apart but I know your better than that.
By following these 7 steps not only can you get the gifts you want, you can also improve your parents year over year spend. Never lose sight of the fact that you only have so many years of getting really epic gifts. Soon you will be a teenager and it will be nothing but clothes and toiletries so you need to make the most of every single gift getting opportunity.
I will also produce an audio file of these instructions soon since I am pretty sure no one under 20 actually reads anymore. Happy gift getting.