At first I thought what I’m writing about is a generational thing. But the more I thought about it, the more I knew I was only second guessing myself. Full disclosure; I’m a grandparent several times over, but I’ve always believed that manners, a degree of etiquette and common sense are timeless qualities that should always be in fashion. But that’s just me.
So I was more than a little surprised, annoyed and disappointed to find that gift registries have become a common practice in today’s hectic society. Now, I’m not speaking about bridal or baby registries, which have been around for some time and are pretty common place. No, I”m talking about birthday gift registries for children as young a 4-5 years old.
It seems some parents can’t be bothered these days returning a duplicat gift. So these very young, clueless children, on the distorted direction of their equally clueless parents, visit a web site or store and select exactly what they want for their birthday.
At. Five. Years. Old.
The parents position is simple. My child gets what they want and I don’t have to waste time exchanging duplicate gifts at the store.
Seriously? Your only argument here is playing the time card? Oh, and there is the little matter of your child getting what they want.
Forget about the fact that, at best, this is presumptuous. Forget about the fact that the items on the list may cost more than the family buying the gift can afford and if they show up at the party with something not from the registry….well, kids can sometimes be insensitive. Forget about the fact that it smacks of entitlement and an erosion of social etiquette.
This should be a voluntary act of gift giving, something the child buying the gift feels good about with a genuine show of appreciation on the part of the child receiving the gift. So what if your child receives two of the same thing! Do I have to spell out how arrogant and self centered this all sounds?
Whatever happened to, “it’s the thought that counts”? I guess that’s a thing of the past also?
Whatever happened to, “be grateful for what you have.” Gone?
I don’t mean to be harsh because it’s really not the fault of the child, but the words materialistic brat, come to mind, even though it really is a reflection on the parents lack of social grace and basic common sense.
When I first thought it was just me, I called quite a few people who were parents of young children and described what I’ve written here. The word they continued to use to describe this practice was, “obnoxious.” I think that’s a pretty accurate assessment.
So if you want to instill in your child the convenience of pushing a button so that the material comforts of your life can be obtained at the expense of another person’s obligation and financial cost, this obnoxious and tacky registry is for you.
Let’s hope, however, that manners and common sense prevail. Because if they don’t, the person that ultimately loses is your child.
And there seems to be too much of that going around these days.