How to Drop Gift Hints

couple on date
Photo: iStock
Follow these tips to get exactly what you want this year.

Sure, it's the thought that counts and any gift is awesome, but we also live in the real world, where it's kinda nice to get something you actually want or at least like too. But because some gift givers (ahem, husbands and mothers-in-law) can be just plain clueless when it comes to gift-giving, here are a few ways to help them out -- without sounding ungrateful. Try 'em and we guarantee you won't be faking any smiles when you unwrap your gifts this year.

Tell It Through the Grapevine
Have a trusted friend or family member drop a (semi-subtle) hint for you: “I don't know if you have Jen's gift yet, but she was talking to me about wanting a new phone…" The giver will think your pal just did him or her a huge favor when in fact they did you a favor. Sneaky, huh?

Take Advantage of Commercials
We finally found a benefit to all of those holiday commercials: They're a great way to show your partner exactly what you want. So next time you see something you actually want being advertised, simply say, “Hey, have you seen those? They're so cool. I'd really like one." Sorry, but there's no room for subtlety here unless you want the cookie-cutter diamond necklace that screams “cheesy Zales commercial" for Christmas this year.

Do Your Holiday Shopping Together
Insist on doing all of the holiday shopping together this year. Then when you're perusing the mall or the web, make sure to stop by your favorite stores and if you see something you like, point it out. Now, don't be so obvious as to say, “Hey get me this," but you could say “Hold on. I just wanted to look at these _________. What do you think about them? I was thinking about buying one for myself, but I don't want to spend the money right now. Oh, but I really like them. [Sigh.] Okay, let's go." [Sigh.] And if you want to seal the deal, you could end with “Maybe if I'm really lucky, they'll end up under the tree." Wink, wink.

Plant a List
Make a list of the things you'd like, highlighting the one you really, really want with a star or circle. Don't forget to title it, “[Insert your name]'s Holiday Wish List." Then leave it out somewhere where the gift giver will see it, but be clever: You don't want it to be obvious that you wanted the giver to find it, and never admit to doing it on purpose. So “accidentally" leave it in the car or on your nightstand or sticking out of your wallet when you ask your partner to grab your credit card.

Just Say It
If you're confident it won't hurt the giver's feelings and that he or she would appreciate the help, just spill the beans. Just make it cute: “I hope Santa will bring me _____ this year."

One last tip: Drop tons of hints and still get something you didn't really want? Love it anyway (or at least pretend to). Hints can help, but ultimately the gift giver gets to choose. Deal with it. You can always take advantage of the after-Christmas sales to buy what you really wanted.