in the past I felt bad about asking for nothing for Christmas from friends and family. It never seemed to work out. They would buy something anyway. When I asked for donations to a charity or part of a cow for Africa, I would get strange looks and inevitably end up with a sweater from Old Navy. When I tell people at work what I want, they think I am some kind of weird ascetic that thinks I am better than them, so I ask for a gift card to iTunes, so they do not feel bad.
However, now that we have entered a world in which giving people a choice for their own gift (the gift card) has become kosher, I found what I will now ask my friends and family to buy for me in the future (sure it is not perfect. However, unlike those that point out the problems with Make Something Day and every other attempt to counter mass consumption, I am not a purist). They can order a gift and I can get nothing... perfect.