One of the questions I most dread at this time of year is "What do you want for Christmas?"
My answer is always "I don't know" or "nothing really". What I should say is "I'd like a surprise". I don't want to know what I'm getting, and anyway the things on my want list at any one time are normally £100+ ie. out of the budget of presents. (If you are the sort of person who spends £100 on people's Christmas presents, unless they are your Significant Other, then you are out of my league).
The second worst question is "What does Mr H. want for Christmas?". For goodness sake I have enough trouble thinking of something to get him myself; you think I'm going to let you pinch my one idea?
The truth is, there is very rarely anything either of us wants. Or to rephrase that, there isn't anything we want that we haven't chosen ourselves, if that makes sense. When one is a teenager it's easy - just get some CDs or something. 20s - something for the house/flat. Mid-40s? I'd like someone to strip off all the anaglypta paper in the bedroom, replaster and paint it. OK?
My best friend tends to get us treats. Edible treats. Which is perfect - we get to indulge ourselves on nice stuff we wouldn't buy, and there is nothing left to clutter up the house afterwards or have to keep on display.
Sometimes I wish people would just stop the whole present thing. A couple of years ago we didn't buy any for the family and donated to a charity each instead.
As it is really only my parents who ask me, I'm sure it stems from them worrying about getting us something we don't want, and I can appreciate the sentiment.
But I still hate that question.