Every year, I run up against the same problem: Christmas.  It’s the gift-giving season, and that means it’s time to come up with gift ideas.

Of course, there’s the Geek Squad Holiday Dos and Don’ts to help make the right decisions when buying tech for your loved ones — and also to avoid making the wrong decisions.  That’s important.  Because it’s December, it’s perfectly acceptable, even expected, to ask people what they want for Christmas, so figuring out what to give people isn’t always a big problem, even if it might seem like it at first.  As I learned long ago, the best way to find out something about someone is usually to ask him or her.

The real problem for me, though, is something else entirely.  What do I say when other people ask me what I want for Christmas?  It’s especially difficult to come up with answers to questions like that when I have to answer questions for people that aren’t related to me.  This year, for instance, my “significant other” keeps asking me what I want that her family might buy for me, since we’re visiting them.  Sure, I can come up with a list, but we all know that you just don’t ask someone else’s family to give you a laptop for Christmas that costs upwards of fifteen hundred dollars, and asking for someone to pay the next year’s insurance on your car is just tacky.

So what’s left?  I wonder if it would be too much, or too much technical know-how, to ask for a four port switch for use at home.  I wonder how difficult asking for a specific technical book would make things.

We in the information technology industry know an awful lot about how to buy things that we want — which means that we know a fair bit about how to buy things for each other, when we’re inclined to do so.  It’s easy to forget that the rest of the world isn’t so “gifted”.  Even when we know exactly what we want, it can be difficult to get that across sufficiently to someone else that isn’t in the business.

So, the question as always is:

What do I want for Christmas?