My wife and I did a poor job sharing Christmas wishlists with each other this year. It dawned on us how our hobbies (hers tennis, mine gunpla) are so specialized we either A) have the stuff we need or B) our needs are so specific or subjective that even gifting a ballpark guess of what the person wants doesn’t actually help and would probably create more work.

SungWon Cho (aka, ProZD) sums the situation up perfectly in his short bit “before and after you discover the subreddit for a hobby”…

The Reddit-ification of hobbies is real. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are waiting to rapture you and radicalize your innocent hobbies. And the more niche your needs become, the more expensive as well. The internet has obliterated the $20 casual gift. It’s $400+ or GTFO.

So we text each other links of an exact item, the stock counts of rare item across 20 sites, the exact time window the of the group buy, but ugchk, you’d need my login so that it’s tied to my account, so how about you just Venmo me $400 instead from our shared bank account?

We’ve cut the sails of gift giving. Online wishlists try to meet this need, but are always out of date, so you need to nudge the person to update their wishlist, spoiling the surprise, so that you can buy the first item at the top that meets your budget.

And the immediacy of Amazon Prime has ruined the suspense of gift giving. Why wait a month for something when I could have it in two days with free returns? The idea of a gift giving holiday reeks of an old world activity like reeling film through a projector to watch a movie with no sound. The immense effort for a demonstrative show of attention on a pre-planned day.

So that’s my take, the internet has ruined gift giving. The only safe gift going forward is homemade bread from your pandemic bread hobby. But be sure the yeast is single-sourced and stored at precisely 45ºF like its hometown in the mountains of Bavaria.