Childrearing

Let’s Not Make Registries For Children’s Birthday Parties A Thing

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kid-birthday-partyRegistries can be a useful tool. In the case of a baby shower, for example, sticking to the registry means you care that the person having the baby is getting what she really wants and needs. Great. But what about for other occasions? Should registries actually be an acceptable thing for children’s birthday parties?

The NY Post had a story about one family that thinks they should. Denise Wei-Vital is planning a birthday party her soon to be 9-year-old, Andre, and she plans on including a link to his Amazon registry on the Evite she’s prepping to send out next week. She successfully did the same thing last year, and is hoping the 60 or so guests she’s inviting to his party will consult the registry and get him a gift he wants.

Let’s get the obvious discussion out of the way first: this woman is inviting 60 guests to her 9-year-old son’s birthday party. What the…? Also, she is actually okay with 60 new toys coming into her home. The only directive she’s given the boy is not to put anything on the registry over $50. The Post writes, “With a few determined clicks of the mouse, he places five items on his Amazon wish list, including his favorite Rob Van Dam and Stone Cold Steve Austin wrestling figures, respectively priced at $27.95 and $44.95.”

The last party I attended with my son, we brought the birthday boy a $10 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles puzzle and called it a day. Registering for a laundry list of items up to $50 for a child’s birthday party is presumptuous and obnoxious. Wei-Vital, writer of the blog BoyzRuleOurWorld, told The NY Post, “Andre is very particular and is looking for specific action figures to add to his collection. It’s a great way of managing the presents he receives so he doesn’t get duplicates.” The difference between a baby registry and a birthday registry? Kids don’t need specific action figures. 

I know what some of you are thinking: it’s practical, it saves a trip to the mall if your kid already has the toy or doesn’t like his gift, and why not? Because it’s tacky and rude, that’s why. What about the person coming to your party who doesn’t have a whole lot of money and wants to put something together for you on their own budget and terms? Yes, they could buy one of the “cheap” items on your list – but that might be a little embarrassing for a struggling family.

Birthdays are meant to celebrate a person, not make sure they accumulate as much stuff as humanly possible. A birthday gift is a gesture — nothing more. If you are a parent who feels their kid needs to get precisely everything they want and wants to teach your child to treat their birthday like a lotto win — go for it.

(photo: Getty Images)