Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wading Through the Murky Waters of Gift Giving Etiquette...and Possibly Drowning

Updated to add a disclaimer: I wrote this post some time ago, before my daughter was engaged. She is getting married soon and she and her finance will be registering at a few places. It's a very practical thing to do, especially in this day and age when a young couple staring out has some genuine needs and often large financial roadblocks in the early days. It also relieves the person who genuinely wants to give a gift but doesn't know what to give. I get that, I don't have any problem with people who use registries, and I do use them on occasion for gift giving. Also, I'm sure there is a valid and legitimate counter point to everything you are about to read. My opinion doesn't change though. 

I have a little pet peeve.

I don't like gift registries.

You know...when someone is getting married or having a baby and the shower invitation comes with a note that the the bride or baby's mother is registered at XYZ stores...and then you go to the websites and there are a million and one things the person has chosen that they want. It makes me feel that gift giving is an obligation. Sort of like if I don't give a gift from the list then my gift won't be appreciated or something. I'm sure that's not the case with most people, and most folks consider it a convenience to pre-choose what they want, but I just don't like the message it sends.

Side note: I'm not so sure that all this "convenience" we live by is such a good thing anyway, but that's something for another post.

I'd much rather put some thought and consideration into the gift and choose something I think the recipient would like. I'm all for gift receipts...though I suppose that does cause the recipient the possible inconvenience of having to make an exchange. I can't help but think that's better though. Most places offer a 90 day return window. 90 days! That's three whole months! Certainly one could find time within 90 days to make an exchange or at least ask a friend to go the store to get a gift card for later use. If I were receiving the gift I'd rather that my guests have the luxury of giving me what they want to, if they want to! It's so much more personal. The whole registry thing is almost like saying, "You and I both know you are obligated to give me a gift at this momentous occasion in my life. Here's a list of what I want because I'm not willing to run the risk that you might pick something I don't like. Make your choice." What's that all about? Since when is gift giving an obligation anyway?

I had a look a the registry for the baby shower I will be attending and noticed that the new mother picked out some cute stuff...much of it with a monkey/ jungle theme. I made a baby quilt with monkey themed fabrics in lieu of purchasing a gift from the registry. I did wonder, as I was making it, if she'll like it, but I can tell you, if it were me, I'd MUCH rather receive a quilt that someone took time and hand made rather than some store bought cr@p. I'd appreciate the love and effort and time spent because I'd know they were thinking of me, and that's worth so much more than any gift anyway.

That, however, is a little quirk of mine. I'm totally not into "stuff." I don't even buy souvenirs when I travel. I take pictures instead. "Stuff" isn't my thing, but the thought is very important to me.

The quilt is pretty cute, though, if I do say so myself. ;-) ...and practically speaking, one does need a certain amount of "stuff" when one is having a baby. Though not as much as one might think...but again, another post.

The family to whom this gift if going are dear friends, and I don't mean any offense by complaining about the registry thing. I realize it's convenient for many, and it's the way things are generally done, but seriously? I was blessed beyond measure with some of the cutest and most imaginative gifts I've ever seen when my kids were born. That wouldn't have happened had I registered somewhere.

Ok. Enough whining. I guess I'm just old school when it comes to this.

Image credit


Anne of Alamo said...

I am with you on used to be (back in the day) that only your china and silver was registered so people could have a complete set-people would buy 2 or 3 or the cups etc.
We did recieve 4 or 5 crock pots at our wedding...ha ha..that made me smile.
I bet that baby carries that blanket til it is shredded! :)
See you in couple weeks!!

Binnikins said...

haha!! so true! i never thought it like that! i just saw that it was nice that i could be lazy and not think about what to give :p so i guess registries overall, also the recipient and the giver to be lazy LOL! sure i will use one, one day. mainly so i can use the beeper to scan stuff like we used to when we played 'shop' as kids :)