Close your eyes.
Are they closed? No peeking.
Just another second.
OK. Open them.
How ya feeling about that? Some people love surprises.
"Want to know what I'm getting you for your birthday?"
"No, surprise me."
Is that you? Some people like situations like this. Someone has thought enough of them to take some initiative behind their backs and do something that they think you would like. How nice is that?
What's the downside? I guess if you really hate what they got you, you have to flash a happy face, tell them you love it, and figure out whether it's something you need to really keep (because they'll look for it when they're at your house next time or ask you about in the future) or whether you can toss it in a dumpster in the parking lot outside. Them surprising you puts you in the situation of now having to tip toe around them to avoid hurting their feelings.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have those folks who hate surprises. I know people like that. When their birthdays or holidays roll around, they give you a page ripped from a catalog of the thing they'd like you to get them. You get them a gift that you know they truly want and they get the gift. Win-win situation, right? For some, maybe yes. For others, it takes away some of the joy of giving a gift. My grandparents always wrote us checks for our birthdays. Were they around when we bought something with it? Nope. Did they see the look on our faces when we opened it? Nope. They simply sent a check. Worked for them but I can't say those checks made me warm and fuzzy inside.
Of course, there are many people who fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, both on the giving and receiving end. I've had people ask what I think Monkey Boy or Peanut might like for their birthdays. I've had people say "don't get me any clothes for my birthday, I'm planning to lose weight this year".
Different strokes for different folks, as far as I'm concerned. Whatever works for you. I'm just thankful that I've got people in my life for whom I want to remember special occasions with a gift, and visa versa.