Everyone likes to receive gifts and all of us do during the Holiday Season. No matter what you celebrate - be it Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year's, etc. - most likely you give and receive gifts in December.
I do not know about you, but I am a bit uneasy about surprise gifts. When I give a surprise gift, I have to be absolutely sure that the person I give it to will be happy to get it. Otherwise, I keep agonizing before, during, and after the actual moment of gift giving. Thanks from the recipient of the gift do not stop me from agonizing, and neither does the Thank You card I receive a month later. The thought that I gave a present that went right into the "reject" bin will keep making me shiver years later.
You could call it a paranoia :) except it has deep roots in the fact that I myself am extremely picky about things that I surround myself with. Price and value have very little to do with it, however. The "Wow, I Like It!" factor has to be present, it has to be love at first sight for me.
To make it easier on my loved ones, I announce an item I want in advance - be it a piece of jewelry, a sofa for the living room, or a new band saw - and then I accept donations towards it.
One exception to the rule is the Secret Santa gift exchange in Etsy teams I belong to. There I am surrounded by wonderful artisans that create pieces that I would love to own, so the element of surprise and not knowing what will arrive in the mail is not scary but delicious.
This year I chose to participate in Secret Santa twice. My first gift came from Maria who lives in Philippines and creates articulated paper dolls. I have purchased dolls from her shop as gifts before and I was planning to get them as a treat for myself later. So, imagine my excitement when I got an envelope with her name on it and in that envelope there were not one, but five dolls!
The second gift came from Victoriya who lives in Greece and has two shops full of wonderful beaded jewelry and knit and crochet accessories. From her I got a pair of barefoot sandals and a pair of fingerless mittens. The mittens are very soft and warm and they came in very handy now, and as for the barefoot sandals - I will definitely try them out in the summer!