An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Why I Won't Read Your Holiday Gift Guide Post

Monday, December 5, 2016

Why I Won't Read Your Holiday Gift Guide Post

Bloggers love to put together gift guides, full of affiliate links for the items featured. Here's why I won't read them

Oh man, I can feel your evil stares through the screen as I write this! I mean no offense to bloggers who make these posts. I really don't. I use affiliate links too. I wrote this post about the current state of blogging and admitted my own faults with it. But that doesn't change my mind on gift guides. I absolutely, positively hate them. I stopped reading all gift guide posts, even in my small group of blogger friends where we read and comment on each other's posts no matter what. Why? I won't read your holiday gift guide post because they bum me out.

Gift guides have become the norm in blogging. Here's why that's annoying!

Look, there's absolutely no shame in trying to make a buck blogging. None. I buy through other's affiliate links as much as possible! But gift guides are absolutely atrocious.

The blogger talks about the item like they own it. Odds are, they don't. They'll describe a cashmere sweater by saying "I'm absolutely crushing on this super soft sweater! Perfect for your wives/girlfriends for date night, fellas!" But they're a 20-something single blogger. How in the heck do they know what's perfect for your wife or girlfriend? Yeah, they don't. Odds are, they've never even felt the sweater to know how "super soft" it is. Here's what that blogger did: She found it through her affiliate network, it was at the price point she was targeting for her post, it was available in lots of sizes and/or colors for mass appeal, and it was generic enough for her to describe it to you in relatively appealing terms. 

Not all bloggers pull that move, but most do. They might have one or two items in the gift guide, but the rest is simply there to tell you what you should buy that they don't own themselves and that you don't need. 

Besides the fact that most bloggers don't have the actual items they're telling you about and trying to get you to buy, another reason I won't read these dumb posts anymore is because I can't understand why someone would read that instead of simply asking the person they're buying for what they want. Seriously. Wanna know what to get your husband this year? ASK HIM. 

I was just texting with my brother in law last night about what he might want for Christmas, since he and my sister are kind enough to be flying to us for the holiday. Freaking ASK your loved one what they want for Christmas, or Mother's/Father's Day, or their birthday, or whatever reason or occasion you may be buying them a gift. Guess what asking them does?! It reduces wasted money because you're getting them what they really want instead of what you THINK they want. Or worse yet, what some blogger thinks your loved one might want.

That's all true about gift guides. But my largest issue with them, and the main reason I won't read my blogging friend's posts, is that they promote this sense of excessive materialism that I just cannot stand. There's gift guides for one year old's and there's gift guides for sister-in-law's and there's gift guides for new boyfriends and there's hostess-gift gift guides. Good grief! Here's what: Not everyone needs a gift! My mom absolutely never needs to buy me anything ever again in her lifetime. Her best gift to me is coming to visit me in Dallas and loving on her grand kids. (And taking over my kitchen and cooking for me, heehee!) She can keep her money for retirement. I don't want physical things from her, I want her time. I bet if people asked their loved ones what they wanted instead of blindly buying crap off the internet, they'd get similar responses.

That same thing goes for my husband. He doesn't have to buy me anything, just plan a few fewer business trips a year and be home more. (We do still gift each other things, but guess what? We ask the other person what they want!) I don't need stuff from my kids, either. Just let me sleep in. Just sleep through the night and sleep until 6:30am kids! You won't be finding that recommendation in any bogus gift guide, but I promise you just about every mom truly wants sleeping kids. They'd take it over any bathrobe or shiny new gold watch.

"But Paige! I don't want to ask my wife because I want to surprise her with something! I'm going to the internet to get ideas." Look, that's great. But if you want to "surprise" your loved one but don't have any ideas going into that surprise, it likely wont end as you'd hoped. Say you get her a fuzzy pair of slippers because a blogger listed them as amazing (even though she's likely never put them on, she just wanted to sell them to you). But your wife already has a pair that she loves. She thanks you for the gift, but they go on a shelf in her closet because she prefers the pair she already has, no matter how worn out they might be. Gift guides can result in more unused crap lying around the house that the person didn't really want to begin with. More excess. More stuff.

I know gift guide posts are time consuming for the blogger. I hope it drives up their affiliate sales enough to make them worth it! But I won't be reading those posts. The materialism and the desperate way bloggers try to describe products they don't own just to sell you on it makes me sad. And that's why I won't read your holiday gift guide post.


  1. Word.
    Plus, they're boring. There. I said it.

  2. Amen. I agree with Jaelan, they are boring. When I've needed to get a gift for a toddler or some age I dont know that much about in terms of gifts, I ask the parents or friends who have toddlers what good gifts are. Asking is key.

  3. Yep. You know I'm totally in agreement with you on the materialism part; kids don't need all those damn toys! The only reason I did my 1 gift guide this year (that was all fitness related because you know that's how I roll) is because Kellen always asks what I want for Christmas, I tell him, then he says send me a list. So much easier to put it in a post than to send him like 10 links to things and let him choose. And everything in my post I either have or want. Fitness gear is life!

  4. Here ye! Amen. I scan over them as well as quick as I see them. You're absolutely right. I've got my list and ideas I've compiled for people, but I've also reached out and asked people if we're stumped and guess what?! They provide me with ideas and options to go with. Shocking, I know! Matter of fact, today I'm going to lululemon and Sephora for the nieces and getting an ereader case for my moms birthday in a couple of days.

    Take care Paige. ;) xo!

  5. And this is why I only write about products I've actually tried! Any time I read a gift guide post, I feel like if it doesn't have details about why a person loves it, it's just a way to make money - and therefore, I won't buy it. I do agree with what Tiffany said - if I were to write a post, I'd frame it around things I want this year and why!

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  7. Preach. I decided I wouldn't even do one this year. Last year I did a makeup one (all with makeup I HAD owned and used) because I felt like that was the one thing that actually might be helpful to anyone! But there are much more valuable holiday posts I can put out there this year!

    Xo, Chelsie @ HTC

  8. i don't mind when people do them but i generally skip them.. although sometimes i do a google search to help me with people i don't know or like very well but have to buy a gift for. but all the gifts for husbands are never things i'd buy for KC, and same with the mothers or fathers (don't have one of those) or girlfriends. i did a gift guide post.... 2 years ago? and all of it was shit i actually buy for people because everyone in my life gets a mug/book/socks from me at one point because i love mugs/books/socks AND YOU SHOULD TOO.

  9. And...they are typically expensive things....who has that kind of money to buy all that for everyone?!?!

  10. YES to all of this. Literally hate reading blogs this time of the year. I will admit I once did gift guides, but when I realized how much I hated putting them together I just got rid of them completely. I absolutely hate the gift guides that are like "Fashionista!" and then it's just Gucci, Chanel, that Alexa Chung book... *rolling eyes emoticon*

  11. When I made my first gift guides this year, it's just things I either have and love or things that fit my taste, but if I didn't own something, I would never speak towards the actual product because, well, how can you? I'm like you though and honestly want and need nothing- Justin and I haven't really exchanged gifts for years. If I see something I want to buy him, I'll get it for him, and if I need something for myself, I'll get it, but there doesn't need to be a big spectacle about gift giving, especially as an adult.

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