I never ask for anything for Christmas. So sue me.
As far as I know, it's been very frustrating for my family. Most parents get kids who socialize with other kids, eat every single scrap of candy that they can get, and know exactly what they want when the fat man in the red suit comes a-calling. My parents got a kid who preferred to read books alone in his room, chose vegetables over chocolate, and generally refused to answer any subtle questions posed before the Christmas shopping season.
I slogged through a lot of socks, underwear, and new-age Christian books in my time, yes. The more sensible people usually just slip me a little red envelope of money and tell me to buy something nice for myself, but even then their gift ends up as a bookmark in a forgotten volume somewhere.
I just find it difficult to feel want for physical objects, that's all. If I walk around and find that I want something, then I usually just get it myself. And even if I don't pick it up for one reason or another, then I usually don't dwell on it for much longer than a couple of minutes.
I still collect things, of course... lots of people collect things. I scour the stores and look around the bazaar stalls for playable board games, good reading material and rare childhood mementos, and I do it along with the best of them. The difference is that I like the sensation of doing it myself, as opposed to asking somebody for such a thing. If you were to ever discover my covetousness for one particular object (a rare occasion), you're far more likely to find me hunting for it than requesting for it.
This is not to say that I look down on people who ask for specific presents. We're all human, after all, and if you want something bad enough that you'd ask someone to grant you the favor, then that's okay. If anything, it does make it easier for me to pick out a gift for you.
Normally the things I want -- and I mean want want -- aren't very tangible. In fact, they're even more frustrating whenever I use them as well-meaning answers to well-meaning questions. No, I don't want the oft-overused concept of "world peace". But I do want good health and wisdom for the people I know, I want a life that's long enough for me to experience whatever a human could possibly experience, and I want that bold rush of accomplishment that normally motivates my academic actions. I want love, life, and a single good night's sleep. I want a whole bunch of things that you usually can't find wrapped in a little green box with a frilly pink ribbon.
I haven't been told I'm an idiot yet, but you should see the looks people give me.
I don't think that what I'm doing is wrong, and I don't think that people think it's wrong. I'm just saying that I don't elicit a lot of positive reactions.
On the other hand, I'm not looking for positive reactions in the first place. I'm looking for other things right now: A sense of contentment. A good plot idea. A full recovery for Andre Medina. There are plenty of things out there that you can't buy with bills and coins. All that you can do is look to the skies and pray really really hard.
I suppose that, in the absence of any gift, the effort counts for a lot. It's much like the hunt for something to add to your collection, really.