I remember as a child, that starting in early November my brother and I would get started on making out our Christmas lists. This, of course, was before we knew the truth about Santa Claus. But even after that time, we continued the tradition of putting our wants and wishes down on paper. And Mom tried very hard to get most if not all items on that list.
Now I am vexed when it comes to the concept of these types of "lists." It seems the concept of letting others know what you want has found its way into wedding preparations and even children's birthday parties (I kid you not - there are now registries for kids on Toys R Us and other sites). While the original concept of a "registry" was used only in the world of weddings so that the happy couple would not receive 15 toasters and no china, current use of the concept seems to turn an invitation into an invoice. Basically the invite says: come to my party and you better bring something.
So I stopped composing lists. As a I grew older and lived 3,000 miles away from Mom, she knew that either a gift certificate or cash would work best. But she always had a little something that she picked out herself - and it represented what she knew about me. I think that is the best part about gift-giving: it forces us to really think about what we know about the recipient and why they are important to us.
So, will I get from Santa what I want this year? I already did and I received something I knew I wanted, but didn't know was actually available.
The gift? Being able to exchange ideas, holiday customs, and comments with a new-found group of people interested in the same aspects of genealogy and family history as me.