Wishlists for presents (Christmas or otherwise)

It’s that time of year again, and I wanted to share this fine idea for keeping a wish list. I can’t be the only person to think of it, but I’m pleased with the way it works, so here goes.

A wish list works best when it’s:

  • always accessible, for adding stuff and for present buying; it’s not just something you do in the fortnight before Christmas
  • visible to people who might be interested in buying you a present, but not necessarily public to the whole world
  • not tied to any particular retailer

To this end, I’ve come up with the following steps, which ticks all of those boxes:

  • create a Google Form* called “Tim’s wishlist” with questions like “What item would you like?” / “Roughly how much is it?” / “Got a URL?” / “Any other details needed?”
  • make the submissions from the form to do a Google Spreadsheet, and share that spreadsheet with your family members, then remove yourself from the share, so you can’t consult your own wish list, you can only add to it via the form
  • repeat from the top for your other family members — create a form for them, then share the submissions spreadsheet, excluding the concerned party from the viewing rights.
  • bookmark the submission forms on the relevant people’s browsers

Now, at any point during the year, you can think, “Ooh, I fancy one of them!” and add it to your wish list. And come your birthday, Christmas, or whatever occasion, people have a list to go at, and you get pleasantly surprised with things that you’d forgotten all about**.

*Search for “google docs” if you’re not sure what Google Forms are. They’re dead easy to set up from your Google account.

**If your memory is as atrocious as mine.

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