So you think you want to buy me something….

If you know me well—and I certainly hope you do, what with your browsing my wish list and all—you know that I’m on an admittedly Quixotic personal campaign to abolish calendar-based gift-giving. Spending money just because it’s a particular day is silly—and this seemingly scandalous idea, which has feminist roots at least a century old, has been championed by columnists George Monbiot, Joe Pinsker, and Jake Flanagin, and is at the heart of the burgeoning AdBusters movement.  Even Adam Conover has “ruined” gift-giving:

Once you take off the rose-tinted Glasses of Tradition, it’s easy to see that there are so many more meaningful ways to express affection and gratitude! If you’re thinking of getting me a gift for a birthday, holiday, or special occasion, please know that my first choice is always spending some quality introvert time together. Suggest a date (or three) and let’s set something up!

Of course, getting together in person isn’t always convenient.  And even I have been known to buy gifts for friends “just because,” on days that had no special meaning except that my friend came to mind.  So for such occasions, I offer the following.

Best: support a cause I believe in
First, I hope you’ll consider giving in my name to one of the causes listed below. All of these organizations do good work in the world, and I would be honored to have my name associated with them. They’re listed below in alphabetical order; please choose one that you’d feel good about supporting.

A Close Second: support a friend of mine
I know lots of talented people who make a living (or part of a living) putting good stuff out into the world.  Buying their stuff instead of the stuff you can get at a chain retailer is a good thing.

Good: gift cards
If giving to someone else on my behalf doesn’t feel right (though heaven help me, I can’t figure out why it wouldn’t), consider a gift card to one of our favorite vendors. Know that both Mark and I generally prefer these to “actual” gift items. (No, really!)

If you must: stuff
Amazon Wish List Filter & Sort Finally, as a last resort, if you simply must buy an “actual gift,” please choose something from my Amazon wish list. That way I’ve already done the shopping to identify exactly the right item, and Amazon will keep track of what’s already been purchased so I don’t end up receiving two of the same item and having to return one because somebody thought they’d save a buck by purchasing from another retailer and then forgot to tell the spouse to remove it from the wish list. Not that that ever happens. (You know who you are….)

For best results please remember to filter the wishlist to show only “Unpurchased” items, and sort by “Priority (high to low).”

And whenever you spend money…

hrcshopPlease—when buying gifts for us (and making any purchases at all, actually)—consider the information found in the Human Rights Campaign Buyer’s Guide. This document rates major retailers and other companies based upon their workplace policies toward LGBT employees. Every person deserves a chance to earn a living in a supportive environment, and it’s important to Mark and me that we support companies who believe LGBT persons are valuable employees too. Click here to find out the many ways you can consult the HRC Buyer’s Guide before spending your money.