Gift registries have been a part of baby showers and wedding showers for years — newlyweds and first-time parents would probably shudder at the thought of not having one — but the concept has recently taken off in a whole new field: kids' birthday parties. It's already being fiercely debated among parents, with some slamming it as greedy and others defending it as helpful. One thing is for sure: the idea is catching on. At the children's store Stoopher and Boots in Manhattan, owner Stephanie Goldstein says at least a hundred kids have index cards on file.
"It helps the child get a variety of different gifts,” Goldstein explained on an ABC news special, pointing out that keeping track also prevents party-goers from accidentally buying multiples of the same gift. Cheryl Kaplan, whose 10-year-old daughter Einav has a registry at Stoopher and Boots, told ABC that she knew her family and friends appreciated the help. "Especially if the older aunts and uncles are maybe not so in touch with the clothing or the toys, they want to know what to get,” Kaplan said. Another mom who uses online registries for her kids, Darline MacEwan of Hillside, New Jersey, added that "anything that can save us a little bit of time, we’re all in for."
But other parents spurn this type of practicality, maintaining that half the fun of birthday parties is being surprised, and that treating the day like a business deal is grounds for trouble. Ericka Souter of Mom.me warned that when kids make their own gift lists, "they feel that they should get everything on it, and that can create a problem if you are not setting the right limitations." And when both child and guest know what to expect, the day might seem less exciting. Parenting expert Denis Albert told the New York Post that "it’s extremely presumptuous and loses the magic."
What do you think of gift registries for children's birthday parties? Bumpies weigh in:
"A little tacky? Yes. Makes my life 0.1% easier? Yes."
"I don't see a huge thing wrong with it, if used as a wish list. How is this any more rude than a wedding registry or baby? Isn't that essentially telling your guests what to buy as well?"
"I think it all depends on how it's presented — you can tactfully direct people towards a wish list or 'registry' or you can also completely butcher it and come across as a gift grabber."
"I think that we (myself included) sometimes get caught up in our lives and forget that our children's birthday parties aren't momentous occasions like a wedding. Every person you know doesn't need to be at your child's birthday party. If you only invite people who you are close to, they will know you and your kid well enough to get a gift."
"Yeah, no. Super tacky. If I want to know what the kid likes, I'll ask."
"If I didn't have a kid, I wouldn't have a clue. I remember having no idea what to get kids for their birthdays before I had one. So I actually wouldn't be bothered by it, and take it more like, 'phew! I have a cheat sheet! So helpful!'"