Let’s face it: If you haven’t already completed your “Christmas shopping,” you’re probably dreading the weeks ahead. Regardless of what holiday you personally celebrate, just getting near local shopping centers and malls any time after Thanksgiving is a nightmare worthy of Elm Street. And while online shopping seems like a sanity-saving alternative, it’s tougher to browse for the perfect gift when you don’t have a shop-front or a shelf to peruse.
But nearly every online retailer has a handy tool that can help you through the difficult holiday season: the wish list. It’s similar to a gift registry in that you can add the things you want and other people can look up what you want. But it’s not tied to a special event in any way—just to your email address or other identifying information, such as your name and city.
Wish lists take the guesswork out of gift-giving while still allowing the recipient to enjoy the surprise and delight of getting the perfect gift. But even if you don’t want to share your wish list, it’s a great way to organize and prioritize purchases you’d like to make for yourself in coming months.
How it works
Wish lists work best on retail sites that have a wide range of products. Amazon.com’s wish list is probably the best known, and since it partners with other retailers such as Target and Borders, you can save a lot of driving time and aggravation by tracking down your friends’ and family members’ wish lists there.
In addition to wish lists at online retail stores, there are independent wish list services. Google, for instance, offers “Froogle” (http://froogle.google.com), which not only allows you to add items you want but also displays a range of sources, allowing the shopper to compare prices. And through Wishlist.com, you can save items from any website. This site also allows you to set security options so that only people who know your password can access your wish list, if you want, and provides an easy-to-remember URL for your wish list.
What to buy?
Once you decide where you’d like to have your wish list, the next thing you’ll want to do is put items in it. We found a few new books you might want to add to your collection or give to a colleague this holiday season. Check these out:
• Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Black Book of Connections (Bard Press, www.bardpress.com): You remember Gitomer’s other titles—The Little Red Book of Selling and The Little Red Book of Sales Answers. Well, he has put a new spin on the little black book—packaging his wit and wisdom on networking into this compact cloth-bound volume. Cleverly illustrated, the book contains tips you can use to develop your strategic alliances, improve your referral ratio and increase your visibility. Also, be sure to check out the excerpt, Go Slow—Become Friends.
• Becoming a Rainmaker (Wealth Management Press, www.oechsli.com): If you have the basics of networking down and are looking to develop your “rainmaking” abilities—that is, creating relationships with affluent people—Matt Oechsli’s latest book will help you discover and fine-tune the mindset, skills and activities you need to do so.
• Our Iceberg Is Melting
(St. Martin’s Press, www.ouricebergismelting.com):Two documentaries that made headlines during the past year were March of the Penguins and Al Gore’s environmental manifesto, An Inconvenient Truth. Harvard University’s John Kotter and and coauthor Holger Rathgeber drew on these two images to provide a delightful parable about organizational change. Briefcase-toting penguins, threatened with the loss of their habitat, use principles from Kotter’s bestselling book, Leading Change, to adapt and thrive amid challenging circumstances. The book provides a fun perspective on a challenging topic and can be read on a variety of levels.
• The Power of Nice (Currency, www.thepowerofnice.com): In this book, Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval explain how to integrate kindness and positivity into every aspect of your business. It’s not just a feel-good advice book, either; it also provides concrete examples and exercises that will help you put your best foot forward with clients and create marketing campaigns that connect with prospects.