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Is this pretentious??? Your opinion please!

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
We are faced by many people who keep asking where we will register for gifts and talking about things to get us.
I hate the idea of a gift registry, I can`t help but feel that I am asking for things and imposing gifts on people. Plus, the only stores that offer gift registrys are the big box style stores that I really, really dislike.

So I thought of the following note to pass on to my immediate family, with the hope that they could pass it on (I feel pretentious sending it out myself!) to extended family.

But now that it`s written, I still feel weird about it, like I`m being snobbish or difficult!!! But we feel strongly about NOT having more crap in our house (it`s not a big house!) and being invaded by baby stuff we`ll never use or would want. As you can also see, I cut short our "what we wish to avoid" list, for fear of insulting anyone.

So, I`m asking here for your opinion...do you think my message is ok? Anything else I could add?? How did you make people understand that gifts were greatly appreciated, but you didn`t want certain things???

Thanks for you imput!!!

It is our belief that the arrival of a new child should be a joyous and hopeful occasion that does not make our ecological footprint larger and does not create more stress on our already fragile planet. For this reason, we wish to share with you the following list and hope you will understand and respect our wishes for this new child and our planet.

What we would like (in no particular order!!!):
-simple toys made of natural materials such as wood or materials, that stimulate imagination and encourage creativity.
-items to make breastfeeding or cloth diapering simpler (we have already selected cloth diapering system by Mother-ease, a locally owned, environmentally friendly business)
-items purchased at small local shops (as opposed to big-box multinationals)
-books and music to stimulate imagination and curiosity
-clothes to keep a small human being warm and comfortable throughout the year
-handmade items

What we wish to avoid:

-plastic toys that make noise or need batteries

post #2 of 67
I get the values behind what you're doing but honestly it's a little preachy and likely to be confusing to people who don't 'get' your lifestyle. Every mainstream toy out there advertises itself as creativity and imagination stimulating so I don't know if you'll get things you like either.

Registries are very accepted these days and since you are very particular, your family might find it easier to just buy something off a list than to try to discern your taste. Picture yourself on the opposite side - having to buy something for a super-mainstream mom, perhaps not knowing what she already has.

I would suggest doing two registries - a selective one at a mainstream store and maybe an online registry at a crunchier store if you don't have a local store that does registries. If you are local to Motherease maybe you are in Canada? There's a company called Parenting by Nature that does online registries and I've had a great experience with their products. For the mainstream store, even Toys R Us has things like books, toys (even wooden), clothes, and diaper bags.

If you cannot bring yourself to register at all, I would suggest a detailed list, including addresses, of local or online stores where you suggest that people shop. People who typically shop in big box stores might have absolutely no idea where to find natural products.
post #3 of 67
No thoughts on the note you wrote, but wanted to mention that you can go to www.myregistry.com and make up your own registry from any store(s).
Also, there are some cloth diapers stores (online) that you can register at. I know that Nicki's Diapers and Tiny Tush are two that have registries.
post #4 of 67
I sympathise with you completely. There's never going to be a polite way to tell people what to buy for you, but you don't want your home filled with things you can't use, but can't get rid of because it was a gift.

In your shoes, I would not bring up the environmental stuff (unless everyone you know is super crunchy/green, but if that were the case you probably wouldn't be worried) and focus instead on your lack of space.

Maybe you can tell your family, if people ask where you're registered, that you aren't registered anywhere because store x and store y (whatever places you feel comfortable with) don't have registeries. If they have a website, maybe ask if they want the address.

Maybe a happy medium would be to register at the least offensive big box store, for things you will use and meet your criteria? I see what you mean about having a list of "wants" at a store being uncomfortable, but as a clueless shopper myself, I *love* when other people have registeries. I think most people buying gifts for you want to get you something you want and will love, and it's often a relief to have it spelled out through a registry.

Good luck, and congratulations!
post #5 of 67
I hated registering at the big box stores. I also did an online registry for items that we really wanted. We got things that either were not on our registry at all or just from the big box stores. No one seemed to want to shop online.

So, we took everything back that wasn't from our registry to the box stores and got gift cards. We used the funds on the gift cards for items we could use. We love the fragrance free wipes and keep packages in the car when we need them. We used them at home and I save and wash them to re-use once or twice. A stash of these washed wipes (they get really soft) was invaluable when our son had diarrhea. These were the only wipes dipped in warm water we could use to wash his bottom - it was so raw and sore.

We also used the cards to buy things like diaper rash creme, saline nose drops, thermometer, etc. Stuff that we could use.

If worse comes to worse and you don't find anything you can use save the cards to buy stuff for other showers you get invited to.
post #6 of 67
I TOTALLY agree with what you have on that note, but if I sent it out to my family, there would definitely be a contingent who took umbrage. I was able to tell my mom and dad/step-mom flat out that we don't want branded, plastic, loud crap, but DH's family, that's just not how they roll. Some of the plastic gomi just got 'disappeared' to the local thrift store after DH's mom was gone.

Can you find out about registering at some of the local shops and point people to those locations? Can you do a registry on etsy, always a good source for non-locals to shop for unique, handmade toys and clothing?

One thing you could do that might be a little more palatable is to have a themed baby shower, asking specifically for "a copy of a favorite book from the gift-giver's childhood for our child to enjoy," or see if the hosting person can do some kind of organizing to get people to buy you a variety of clothes sizes (nobody needs more than 7 onesies for a newborn, and the teeny stuff only fits for a few months - better to get things in the 9-12 or 12-18 or 18-24 month range because you can use them a lot longer).

What I really wanted the MOST was for people to bring no gifts, but to sign up for a time after the baby is born to bring us food and come by to visit. That first couple of months after the initial dust has settled after the birth but before you get through that first 12 weeks can be lonely, and parents are tired, sleep-deprived, and don't feel like cooking. Of course, my friend who hosted the baby shower totally ignored this very specific request, but my friends are cool enough that we did get lots of books, handmade toys, and locally produced baby blankets, so it worked out okay.
post #7 of 67
Hi! The sad reality of having a baby is that people WILL BUY YOU THINGS...people you've never even met or would never ever expect...friends of the grandparents, neighbors, coworkers. People just love buying stuff for babies. Your best bet is to be specific about what you do want/need or else people will buy you whatever they want.

Your note doesn't sound pretentious to me, but hey, I contemplated writing a similar note myself! BUT...to people who don't share your lifestyle or values, it may come off as confusing (huh? what kind of toys don't have flashing lights or batteries? ). Myregistry.com is a great idea, as you can pick the specific items you want from any online store you want. Unfortunately, many people are reluctant to shop online, so maybe check out a Babies R Us too (if you have one locally). I was just in there for the first time in a long time and I was actually pleasantly shocked and surprised by how many eco-friendly things they have now.

PS--if you do wind up with a bunch of stuff you know you will never use in a million years, return, return, return! I took back half the stuff people got for DS and used the credit to buy a gorgeous changing table.
post #8 of 67
If I had sent something out like that with my family (both sides), the s-storm would have made The Weather Channel.

Why not only register at a couple of on-line stores that support your philosophies rather than writing a letter? I love the idea of myregistry.com; I hadn't heard of them before. It would be easier than having to deal with the potential fallout and hurt feelings your letter might cause.

B/C folks will ask your mother and MIL, let them know these particular preferences - wooden toys, cloth diapers and the like - that you have listed. They can also let it be known to those that would take the time and trouble that you particularly treasure handmade items.
post #9 of 67
I like the idea of strongly suggesting help/food/visits instead. That way you aren't 'stuck' with stuff and people can still feel like they are giving you something or helping you out.
post #10 of 67
No matter what you say, people will buy you gifts. People love buying new baby stuff! I'm not sure how I would feel getting a letter that says no plastic/ battery toys, while I agree with it, it might set some people off. I say do an online gift registry that allows you to register for cloth diapers, natural toys etc but I would also register at a local store too. People often buy gifts last minute and may not have time to order something online. I have a friend who did her whole registry on Amazon and got few of her desired items at her baby shower because of this. I get I get your dislike of the big box stores but that is where lots of people shop. Perhaps you could register for items at those stores like diaper cream, baby shampoo etc. Target and Babies R Us are both starting to get more "green" items. If you plan on nursing, you could register for nursing bras, nursing pads, etc-both stores carry them. What about baby tylenol, motrin, hylands teething tablets, etc? Those can also be found at big box stores. Do you need a carseat? Those can get pretty expensive. My husband and I wished we had registered for my daughters Britax Marathon. It would have been nice to have been given it, rather than shelling out $265 when she outgrew her infant seat.
post #11 of 67
Honestly I would be annoyed if I got a letter like that-oh wait I did get a letter similar to that in one of my friends baby shower announcements and DH and I made fun of it...just telling the truth.

I don't like being told what I supposed to buy for someone, it makes me not want to get them anything because nothing will be good enough anyway. I get having an opinion, but it seems to come across as a bit preachy to me.

I also feel the same way when I get e-mails from people asking for food when the baby is born, then going into specific details of all organic, no sugar, bla, bla bla...trust me I get it, but when you are asking for a gift or help don't set out every little rule for people who do want to help-give them a little leeway, JMO. FWIW-I make all my own food before the baby comes, so I don't ask for things, but we are pretty self-sufficient.
post #12 of 67
Your note doesn't sound pretentious, but this is from someone who doesn't want a baby shower at all due to your same reasons.

The note is somewaht vague because it still doesn't address your needs. Chances are, you will still end up with stuff you don't need or want.

Myregistry.com sounds like a neat idea. I will venture there myself.
post #13 of 67
I'd not do it. Hopefully, some of the people wishing to be kind and helpful, will know you well enough to already have an idea. Perhaps just conversationally, they can pass on that you guys are weirdo hippies who ooh and ahh over blocks of wood. That happened to us some. I remember one person saying, 'I saw this, and remembered that you like that 'natural' stuff, and thought this was just for you!"

Just take back or donate the things you really don't want.
post #14 of 67
I don't think you should send out that note. It doesn't sound gracious. At all. I would be horrified if I received that note. It's great to feel that way, but don't preach like this, it just sounds awful.

People are happy for you and want to share in the joy. Most want to buy something you like - so I think you should set up an online registry with the things you do like. And/Or register for just the few things you actually do like at BRU.

People who "get it" will notice the theme and honor your wishes. People who don't "get it" just never will, and you can't change that fact with an offensive note.

Another thought: if you register for it, it is easier to return it. If you don't register for stuff someplace like BRU, they will buy things any place and that makes it harder to return.

Keep the gross stuff unopened and return it or sell it on Craigslist. Then you can use the money to buy more stuff you need.
post #15 of 67
I too would highly recommend a universal registry that lets you register for anything online (amazon.com does one too) to at least give people an idea of what you want and you can likely register for your cloth diapers too which would save you some money.

I too would emphasize space issues and downplay environmental issues if you do a note, it will sound less preachy then. Many registries have a comment section, that might be a good place to explain your note and explain that your registry is sort of an example of what you are looking for maybe? And I am another that loves registries since I can make sure I buy the person something they really need/want.
post #16 of 67
I sympathize and I've been there. But I think you need to re-write that letter substantially.

If I were you, I would focus - gratefully, humbly! - on the outpouring of support and generosity you have experienced from these folks before getting into what you want. Like so:

Dear Friends and Family,

Mr. Bena and I have been overwhelmed by the love and support you have offered us over the past months. We are thrilled that Baby Bena has so many people waiting to welcome her/him. As you can imagine, we are pretty excited, ourselves. Getting ready for a baby is, as some of you already know, a major step in life. Thank you so much for your thoughts and good wishes along the way.

Many of you have asked what you can give us for the baby and where we are registered. You are such a generous bunch - thank you! We have opted not to register for gifts (and to be honest, we can't fit much more into our little apartment!) But since many of you have been so kind as to ask specifically what you can get us, we wanted to let everyone know that we would be grateful for the following type of items:

simple baby toys made of natural materials
-items to make breastfeeding or cloth diapering simpler [here I think you need to be more specific - what items exactly?]
-books and music
-handmade items [such as?]

While we would be delighted to receive any of these things for Baby Bena, we are also certain that the most important thing he/she will receive from you is your love and support over the years.

Bena and Mr. Bena

As you see, I did edit out a lot of the "editorializing" in your list. You're right, it did come across as snobby and pretentious.

I think that a letter like this is ok to send, given that people have asked you what to get. But after you've had your say, as politely and tactfully as you can, you'll need to smile and be gracious no matter what gifts come your way.
post #17 of 67
Originally Posted by Norasmomma View Post
I don't like being told what I supposed to buy for someone, it makes me not want to get them anything because nothing will be good enough anyway. I get having an opinion, but it seems to come across as a bit preachy to me.
Unfortunately, I think that's part of the point. I think the OP would rather people not buy her anything than buy her the stuff she doesn't want. That's part of what makes it so awkward, because if she says "don't buy anything", nobody will take her seriously...
post #18 of 67
Myregistry might be a good solution, and Amazon.com has a registry too (which connects to lots of shops that sell wooden/organic toys, etc.). The note might put some people off, and confuse others who aren't familiar with the things you are requesting. For those who aren't tech-savy, I might make a note that you would like organic, natural baby supplies like wooden toys and organic clothing (short and sweet). No matter what you do, some people will buy you what they want from where they want. My BIL took one look at my registry and bought me big things we didn't ask for even though I told him we already had those second hand. Other people will buy without looking at your note or registries. If that happens a lot at my shower, I'm planning to return what I can and/or donate/sell what I don't need.
post #19 of 67
I would not send out that note. If someone is going to throw you a shower I would have them include a small list of the things that you do want/need without any sort of value statements or commentary.

Something like:
Bena and Mr. Bena are so happy that you want to help them welcome their little one to the world! They don't have a registry, but here are some of the things that baby (and mommy)would love to have:
  • Unpainted wooden or other hand made toys or items
  • Cloth diaper covers, wetbags, etc
  • Clothes for a growing baby
  • Fun, Funky, and one of a kind items
  • Your love and visits!
post #20 of 67
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Unfortunately, I think that's part of the point. I think the OP would rather people not buy her anything than buy her the stuff she doesn't want. That's part of what makes it so awkward, because if she says "don't buy anything", nobody will take her seriously...
I get what you are saying, but I think it how someone says "Please buy _____". Not we don't want you to buy_____. If I was to get this letter I would just feel like no matter what I bought it wouldn't be appreciated anyway because it would be the "wrong" thing no matter what-it all in how things are phrased. With new moms I always make a mommy's sanity gift basket anyway with Hyland's teething tabs, Tylenol, breast cream, milk storage bags and something simple like washcloths, then no one can really complain-they all are things that are needed at some point.

Trust me I have gotten this letter before and I was offended by it.
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