Luke

Funding Your Next Holiday

Written on Wednesday 18th November, 2020

As hard as Things to Get Me tries, sometimes gifting isn't easy. It's hard to tell what others want. Sometimes, it's hard to tell what you want! And sometimes, people don't want a gift at all.

I know this because I come from a family of independent thinkers and doers. If you want something, buy it for yourself. Why wait for a birthday what you can buy today? This axiom has guided the lifestyles of my family for decades now. When a celebration rolls around, be it Christmas, a birthday, or a graduation, and I'm asked what gifts I want, I look around at all my things I say, frankly, "I don't really want anything."

But that's not totally true, of course. I'd love a few extra dollars to experience an evening out with friends. Or maybe some money to splurge on a new fall wardrobe I haven't decided upon yet. Or maybe just some bucks to help with bills, because few things bring more joy than releasing oneself from the cold grip of debt. 

My point: money is always welcome. It's versatile and always pleases, especially when paired with a hand-written card.

These days, it's becoming more and more appropriate to ask for and expect money as a gift. Gift cards can be seen as a transitional step in this process. In China and other Southeast Asia societies, it's estimated that the tradition of giving a Red Envelope filled with money has been around for a thousand years. The practice is linked to folklore and an adjoining practice of threading coins with red thread.

My family has never been so ritualistic with our deliveries, nor does our practice have any attachment to a rich family tradition, but our gifts never lack emotional attachment. The notion that money on its own lacks emotional attachment should be shelved. Monetary gifts and physical gifts, I believe, share the same value. While a handmade gift sits at the top of the gifting order, purchased gifts and envelopes of money reside in the same class.

So instead of asking for a ukulele you'll never really attempt to learn, or a dress you'll never wear,  or some other rubbish that will end up in the bin, you can now create a gift fund that your friends and family can contribute to!

Gift funds can be added to any wish list on Things To Get Me, and any number of people can contribute any amount of money to each fund. Via card payment, friends and family can send money, and when you're ready you can request a payout and have the funds transferred directly to your bank account. Things to Get Me is partnering with Stripe to securely handle all transactions, ensuring your money is handled reliably and safely.

You can add funds alongside your lists, along with a title, description, and target for your fund. As always, Things to Get Me strives to be as simple, ergonomic, and worry free as possible, so the funds feature has been incorporated with minimal extra steps. That said, for logistical purposes, you will have to create an account and add your bank account in order to receive funds.

Now what to fund… 

Asking $50 for a sweater you saw somewhere is a bit unnecessary. In that case, why not just add the sweater itself to your wish list? No, gift funds are meant for bigger things.

I think travel experiences are a great place to start. You can't put a "trip to Ibiza" on your wish list now can you? If you did your wish list would look like a joke: plane ticket, hotel room, bathing suit, brunch at Maxine's Cafe, two mimosas, lunch on the beach, four mojitos, steak dinner, six margaritas, eight tequila shots, ibuprofen… and that would only be for the first day.

Even if you're not as industrious with your consumption as others, auditing a travel experience is neither fun nor productive. Instead, estimate the funds you need, and let others contribute towards the whole.

But these days travel isn't advised, so maybe you're interested in adopting a dog or cat. COVID's made you realize how empty your home can be, so you want to fill it and your time with a new furry friend.

Maybe you could put "dog" into a standard wish list, but like when friends try to set you up on a blind date, letting others guide your relationships rarely go well. With Things To Get Me's funds feature, you can let your friends and family handle the material burden, while you keep the freedom to select the best pet for you. I recommend not going in with expectations: "I want a husky" or "I want a siamese." Instead, look for the one that connects with you. You'll be happier in the long run.

Perhaps COVID has made you realize your house is drab. It needs remodelling or a new color. Putting "repaint the house" on your wish list would make your list look more like a list of chores. And while I'd hope your friends are gracious and kind enough to help with your chores, I don't think you should expect them to. Instead, ask them for the money for paints (specifying, of course, that this is your only Christmas wish; otherwise they'll ask why they're funding your maintenance project). 

An odd request? Probably. But as I mentioned earlier, I think it may be time we rethink gifting, and what qualifies as a gift. If material value is all that matters, I will urge all my friends to buy me Versace belts and diamond rings. But if it's about versatility, I see no problem asking for money for a new trip, experience, or project.

Gift funds just make sense.

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