Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat. Have you created your kids' holiday gift registry yet? What? You think a list of gift requests from your kids online is greedy and materialistic?
I suppose you don't let the kiddos write a letter to Santa either? Ahhhh, gotcha, didn't I?
Technology has changed the way parents share their kids' gift lists with the family, and as with all things parenting, that has opened up room for a big ol' judgy debate.
On the one side are the parents who are just horrified -- with a capital H -- that some of us dare go online and pick and choose what it is we'd like to see under the tree for our kids this Christmas. What gluttony! What tasteless commercialism!
Er, that's what they think.
Here's what I think: holiday gift registries aren't for everyone. I'm not sending one to everyone we know.
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BUT, and this is a big ol' BUT, when someone asks me what my daughter wants for Christmas, I have no problem sending them to one online registry with the exact names of books she wants to read or LEGO sets she's been salivating over, even a list of clothes she needs, complete with color and sizing information.
They asked, didn't they? They wanted to know?
Sure, I could be one of those parents who avoids the question because they don't want to seem greedy. I've never been good at asking for things (just talk to my poor husband ... I only started making lists for myself a few years ago when he practically DEMANDED them), and I DO answer every friend's request with, "You don't really have to get her anything."
But I've found that not answering at all, not giving them any options, isn't good for anyone. It makes it hard on people who really do enjoy giving my child gifts -- because then they have no starting place, and they may or may not end up buying something my child likes. It's not good for my child because, hello, these people WANT to make her happy ... and she may get some crappy gifts where she could have gotten some really great ones. Oh yeah, and it's not exactly good for me, the mom, who has to contend with the double gifts to return after the holiday or the stuff that really shouldn't have been bought in the first place ... which now has to be trashed or donated to the local charity (or ignored with gritted teeth if she's fallen in love).
Online gift registries may be new, but if you really think about it, the idea behind them isn't. It's merely better organized than what our parents did -- which was answer the grandparents' questions of "what does Johnny want for Christmas" with a handwritten list or maybe just reciting some items over the phone.
What these registries have done is take the old methods and made them easier ... on the gift giver.
My in-laws don't have to try to run to five stores to try to find the LEGO Friends pool or try to puzzle over which book in the Whatever After series it is that my daughter wants this holiday. They simply follow a few links, and poof, their shopping is done.
Happy kid. Happy grandparents. And happy mom who has successfully answered the questions that come every Christmas season.
Is that greed? I don't think so. I think it's using technology to make a mom's life easier.
What about you? What do you think of holiday gift registries?
Image by Jeanne Sager