Further Reflections on Gift Registries, or In Which I Once Again Reveal Myself to be a Terrible PersonPosted: May 26, 2011
Another day, another opportunity to talk about gift registries. And you thought I was getting married to enjoy the benefits of lifelong companionship and health insurance with someone I love. No siree, I do it all for the All-Clad.
This is my third post about gift registries, but I’ve only written 18 posts total, which means my materialism can be quantified. Oddly enough, I have experienced a complete turnaround in my views on wedding registries. A couple years ago, when I figured any future wedding of mine would consist of a backyard commitment ceremony between me and my cats, I thought all unattached young adults should throw themselves huge parties and register for gifts in protest of the maritals. Seriously, just because you’re one of a pair, are you any more deserving of nice pots and pans or serving ware? Single people like to entertain, too, you know! (I sure did, back in the day. Now I just watch Antiques Roadshow.)
I still think unbetrotheds deserve to be able to register for gifts (and not face disdain), but I am no longer joining them in protest. Although at first I found registering for our wedding gifts an extremely awkward and bizarre prospect — in what other context can you say “I would really appreciate it if you bought those $200 candlesticks for me even though we see each other about once every five years”? — I have learned to relish it. I stalk our registries (Macy’s, Crate & Barrel, and Pottery Barn, FYI!!!) almost daily to see what has been purchased so far. Please don’t hate me, Wedding Guests. Just know that your presents, I mean presence at our wedding, will mean so much to us.
As long as this post has degraded into an unflattering confessional, I will reveal one of my most embarrassing secrets. Not only do I stalk my registries, I stalk yours too! Not daily, mind you. But if I know your first and last name, and you have gotten married in the past five years or will be getting married in the near future, you can bet I have spied on your gift registry once or twice. And I have judged it.
The Knot is good for one thing and one thing only, and that is looking up gift registries. On their home page is a little box on the right side where you can type a premarital’s first and last name and Voila! Links to all their registries (assuming they are registered at large chains) will magically appear. You can then while away a slow afternoon at work, amusing yourself with supercilious little thoughts such as, “$250 for a vase?? Who does that?!” or “Girl, no one is buying you that mango pitter. Because everyone knows it’s STUPID” or “Not even Le Creuset can save your sorry cooking.” I know it’s wrong, but we all have our vices and mine is judging your choice in place settings. (Enough with the plain white bone china, already!)
Just as fascinating to me as the registries themselves is observing what people actually buy. The items that always seem to go quickest are the entertaining pieces, such as serving platters and fancy stemware. I believe this has to do not only with price point, but also the fact that this type of gift tells the recipient, “I expect you to return the favor by inviting me over.” For this reason, I too like to give couples gifts they will only use when throwing parties. That way it’s a gift that keeps on giving [back to me]!
The registry items that the last minute gift-buyers usually get stuck with, or that never get bought at all, are the mundane kitchen gadgets. Really, as useful as a whisk may be, no one wants to buy it for you. That’s a gift that says, “You’re 33 years old. You really should have bought one of these for yourself ten years ago, but you didn’t so now I have to.” (Don’t even try the “weddings are an opportunity to upgrade your stuff” rationale – everyone knows you can buy a perfectly good whisk for under five bucks.) No one who gives you the whisk is going to say, “I can’t wait for you to open my gift!” Instead, they will probably say, or hopefully just think to themselves, “The whisk was the only thing left on your registry. Seeing as how it cost $9.95 and I didn’t want to come off as a cheapskate, I bought you six of them. You’re welcome.” Of course, the possibility of this happening didn’t stop me from registering for these same mundane kitchen gadgets. I am counting on getting those Oxo Good Grips ergonomically correct measuring cups. I mean, what if I have arthritis some day and find it painful to lift half a cup of sugar? Whatever would I do? Buy them for myself? You must be joking.
Above image of the All-Clad collection stolen from this link, which I assume stole it from All-Clad.