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Gift Registries For Children? Practical or Inappropriate?

Flickr user Aranami

The other day my niece was at Target with her mom when she witnessed a magical thing; at least it seemed magical in the eyes of this little three year old, soon to be four. She saw someone pointing an enchanted device at all the things they ever wanted, which would later be transformed into a list that could be sent out to all those being invited to their party. Brilliant she thought!

Now I don’t know whether this unassuming Target shopper was registering for wedding or a baby shower but I have a feeling she may have just sparked the newest trend in kid’s birthday parties.

I might be behind the times, but before my niece mentioned it, I had never considered using those handy registries for anything other than a wedding or a new baby.  My initial reaction was, why on earth would a 4 year old need to register?  Is that sending the wrong message to your child?  Shouldn’t they be grateful for whatever  they receive, and not carry an expectation?  I think when you send a list out of items a child wants you are putting all the focus on presents and “what am I going to get” rather than celebration with friends and loved ones.  I think it’s more socially acceptable to make a registry for a wedding or a baby because it’s not a yearly event.  After all, starting a new life together with possibly a new home or bringing a whole new person into the world,  requires some extra stuff.  Registries in these cases are very helpful in figuring out what the new couple or new parents are lacking in their preparation.

Now, just to be fair, I had to look at it from the other angle as well.  I actually asked several people what they thought about the idea of gift registries for children and surprisingly I received more positive feedback than I was expecting.  One reason people liked the idea was for relatives that lived far a way and did not interact with the child on a regular basis.  Others thought it would be convenient even for people who live in the same town. Sometimes your children have friends at school or daycare that you know but not well enough to know just exactly what they might want.  Having a list would be beneficial;  this way you know you are buying something the child will actually use rather than wasting your money on something that will get tossed aside.

I want to know what you think.  Have you ever registered your child for a birthday party? Have you ever received a registry for a child’s birthday party?  What did you think?  What were your reasons?

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