Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gratituesday: Gift Registries

This is not on my Amazon wish-list.
Once upon a time, I hated bridal showers.  I thought they were a greedy ploy for presents, a retro-sexist party for furthering the gender divide, and, to top it all off, just really stupid, with their stupid hats made out of bows and paper plates.  Oh my goodness.  The dislike I felt for them was very strong.  I don't feel this way anymore, and now, actually, I think they're pretty much the most wonderful thing ever: a group of women getting together to celebrate another woman and prepare her for a new part of her life. (Funny how my opinions change constantly, isn't it?)  But, even back when I hated bridal showers, I still really loved gift registries.

For one thing, they're infinitely practical.  When I moved to Brooklyn, I started one for my housewarming party.  Did anyone buy anything off it?  Of course not, because what 22-year-old brings a gift to a housewarming party? (To be fair, most of my friends actually did, which was very sweet and surprising! But they're all creative and got me lots of other wonderful things.)  But, I still use it as a little bit of a shopping list for myself of things I think are awesome, and at holidays and birthdays, my Amazon wish-list is where my family goes to ensure they'll find something I'll like.  (They say I'm picky. I say I know what I like.)  If anyone asks, "Kristin, what would you like for Christmas?" it's remarkably easy for me to say, "Why, anything on my amazon list that fits your price point.  Thank you for asking, Roger/mom/Roger'smom/friend/strangerontheinternet."  I love it.

Secondly, it makes shopping so easy, and I seriously wish people would start using registries and wish-lists for more than just major life changes, because they come in big-handy at less major life changes like birthdays and Tuesdays.  My best friend has has one for ages, and I use it all the time.  I don't think of it as impersonal, because I'm still deciding which item I want her to have, and because when I happen to see something not on the list that screams Shelby!, I still get it for her.  For people you don't know so well, it makes it even easier, knowing that you don't have to resort to cash or risk forcing your nine-months-pregnant cousin to go return a ton of boppy pillows that weren't the right color.  (Also - registries teach me things.  For example, I had no idea what a boppy pillow even was, until I looked on my cousin's registry and bought her one.  Turns out, they are one of the many, many things a new mother needs to ensure proper breastfeeding.  Yes, sometimes I learn things I wasn't quite ready for, also.)

Don't do a google image search for "Tiffany Holiday," folks.
And finally, it's sort of creepy, and I'm almost afraid to admit it, but I really enjoy looking at what other people want.  And not just people for whom I am buying presents - everyone.  Friends from elementary school, acquaintances I've met at a handful of parties, even friends-of-friends.  (Eeek!  I know!  I'm sorry I'm so creepy!)   I don't really believe it gives deep insight into their souls, and I don't really draw any personal inspiration from it (except for the time I saw these awesome glasses on a former roommate's wedding registry - they are just too gorgeous).  But, since putting together my own home, it's been fascinating to me to see what other people feel they need to build theirs.  And while I don't think material objects can tell the entire story of who you are a person or a couple or a family, I do think they offer a certain insight into a personality.  Sure, most of the things on a registry are the same across the board, but it's the differences - a specialty item here, a unique take on a usual item there - that I find so appealing.

I've even been tempted, really and truly tempted, to buy gifts for people off their registries when I barely know them.  There's just something about giving gifts that I've always loved,* and somehow, this really plays into that.  So, this whole entry is in part to tell you that registries are the greatest thing known to mankind,** but really also to ask: How creeped out would you be if I bought you something on your registry or wish-list?  More importantly, what item are you wishing for that really sums up who you are as a person?

*I'm too embarrassed to post it here, but while cleaning out some papers, I discovered a gift list I created when I was in 6th grade, listing all my friends, the gifts I wanted to get them for the holidays, and their price point.  Now, I literally have the same thing set up in Amazon with suggestions from friends' lists.
** Okay, I know there are plenty of things that can go wrong with registries - selfishness, lack of creativity, being rude, etc. - but overall, I just think they're really nice.


  1. Oh my goodness, we are so kindred spirits. When I was in the 8th grade, I made a list of all the people invited to my birthday party and wrote a gift next to each name. Then when they asked what I wanted, I whipped out my list and told them the item they had been assigned. Okay, not quite the same as a registry since I denied them the freedom to choose, but I still thought it was incredibly practical and completely helpful. Alas, it did not go over nearly as well as planned.

  2. Not weird at all, I love to know what others want and what they'd ask for if they could ask for anything :)

    And the practicality of registries is the best. I hate thinking that what I bought someone isn't truly what they want in their heart of hearts. Much better to buy them something they'll use.

  3. "And finally, it's sort of creepy, and I'm almost afraid to admit it, but I really enjoy looking at what other people want."

    Dude, I was going to say that I thought it was really fun to look through your registry and see what the things are that you want. I love looking at other people's registries too. It gives you a little glimpse into there life you wouldn't otherwise have. If you want to creep on me, my registry is here - http://bit.ly/kGXaNH

  4. I love gift registries as well! I too love to give gifts (I almost just typed FIGS haha) and it is so nice to feel that you are giving someone something they wanted. Something I've been wishing for is a VitaMix but that doesn't really sum me up as a person, so I'd have to go with a kitten!
    Also- I just received the book you sent! Thank you soooo much :) I cannot wait to read it!

  5. I agree! After seeing how fabulous they are this summer with my wedding as well as my friends weddings, I think it should be acceptable to create gift registries for Christmas, birthdays, and other gift-giving holidays as to avoid the awkward unwanted gifts from grandma. I totally go on my own to see what people have gotten me, because I'm like a little kid peeking at my presents. :)