Kids’ birthday gift registries: The new trend in gifting

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Posted On May 01, 2015 / Posted In Believe it or not , Little People / Tagged gift registry, kids birthdays

Text and images by Sarita Rajiv

There’s a new trend in gifting town. It’s called birthday registries for kids. Yes, you read that right – gift registries for k.i.d.s. When I read about the gift registry for kids trend, my instant dismayed reaction was: there goes the surprise and magic in gifting.

The way it works is that parents sign up their child for a gift registry at a particular store and they ask the invitees to check at that store what’s on the birthday kid’s wish list. While it's mainly birthdays so far, parents have also begun to set up gift registries for Christmas, high school graduation, bar mitzvahs and other events. Some parents even go so far as to ask parents of the kids invited to the birthday party to contribute money to buy a gift that their 7-year old wants – like a Kindle! Oh oh; the magic of gifting in a kid’s life just got killed by the sharp sword of convenience and materialism. 

Our lives are so hectic right now, and anything that can save us a little bit of time, we’re all in for,” says a mom in this article on what parents think of birthday registries for kids.  True enough, we all lead busy, over scheduled lives. Anything that makes life easier is good, right?  Sure, if we view kids birthdays as hassles. If we think spontaneity, surprise and being thoughtful are not important in our kids lives. I wouldn’t want to swap the excited look on my 5-year old daughter’s face, as she unwraps each gift, for anything. She has often received things that she didn’t wish or we (her parents) never bought. But discovering what they were and using them, playing with them and loving the thought behind the gift has been like opening the doors to a new world of fun. 

The thing about gifts is that they’re a lot like life. There’s the element of anticipation, surprise, joy and disappointment too. Often you get exactly what you want, while sometimes you get something you never wished for or thought of, but surprisingly you enjoy it a lot. And every once in a while you get rubbish, but you learn to deal with it…with grace. That’s just the way things are.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong in sharing a general idea about what kids like, what their current interests are. But to me, a kids’ gift registry seems wrong on so many levels. It puts people in a spot when they may have a limited budget but are forced to buy certain gifts or buy it from a certain store. It gives kids a sense of entitlement early on. And it tells them making the effort to find what your friends’ or family members’ like and finding a special gift for them is a waste of time.

Maybe I’m in a minority on this one. Maybe the joke’s on me. Toys R Us and Amazon have an increasing number of parents opting for kids’ gift registries and smaller stores have started offering this service as well. But it’s reassuring to know that there are others who think there’s something not quite right with gift registries for kids. 

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Sarita Rajiv is a writer, gifting specialist and founder of The Orange Gift Bag. She’s on a mission to uncover the ‘best gifts after love’. When she isn’t dreaming up unique gift ideas, she writes for The Copenhagen Post and The National Geographic Traveller India among others.

You can follow Sarita Rajiv on Twitter, Google, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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