Buying non-registry gifts when there is a baby registry...can someone give me etiquette pointers? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-20-2014, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok. I will start off by saying that I am British, and this whole baby registry thing is completely alien to me. I'm not looking to be critical of another culture's traditions but to try to work my way around it. In Britain you would certainly expect to buy (or be passed on) all the basics for the baby yourself, and tbh I think most people give clothes and perhaps a very small toy or book if they don't know the family well. You just might have a baby shower-though in my circles it would probably actually be a blessingway-but you wouldn't give your guests a list. I mean, like, whoah, never. So that's the gulf I am negotiating.

 

I have a close relative in the US who a few weeks ago emailed me a baby registry list. Its actually their fourth baby, but they have moved a lot and to different countries in their parenting lives and I think they just get rid of stuff / sell it on.  The stuff on there is entirely practical. My problem is-there's nothing on there I want to buy. I know that's really selfish. But I don't do pacifiers, disposable diapers, baby monitors or bottles. We actually spend very little money on babies and what we spend doesn't go on this stuff.  I don't begrudge anyone else them in the slightest but it doesn't excite me to buy them for someone else. They are absolutely not short on money btw and I'm also mystified as they clearly have friends there-why would they then need clothes? I don't think I actually bought any clothes for mine when they were tiny, we were handed down them all.

 

What I would prefer to do is to pick out a couple of books for the siblings and one for the baby, and make something (I am reasonably good at making things, and have sold stuff in the past-anything I sent would certainly be good etsy standard). TBH, I would rather choose something a bit more individual, even if not made by me. I'd also always rather support small scale/WAHM enterprise. Not sure how much sense this makes. I think especially since we are not going to be there at the baby shower or actually see them before the birth, making it personal feels important to me. Its also important to me to remember the mother in all this, with something (not sure what I can get through customs-I'd usually send some nice toiletries, chocoaltes, etc). And there is nothing on the registry for her.

 

My ethos is very strongly handmade, craftavist, and I totally get that that isn't them (it really isn't. This is not intended to be snide, but the only book-type things in their house, apart from some kids books, are catalogues for stores) and I don't want to impose my beliefs on them. The baby registry seems big for them. They are really, really different to us, and I respect that, but I need to think how to make it work.

 

Or maybe in the US the deal is, you buy whats on the registry. That's fine, I just need to know that. Because in the UK you expect to get 17 handknit boleros from Great Auntie Maude and see it as good practice for your so-excited-to-add-something-to-the-attic face


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Old 01-20-2014, 03:23 PM
 
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The registry is just a guideline. Your gift sounds lovely.
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:06 PM
 
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Yep, no need to stick to the registry. Many of my most cherished baby treasures were given to me by people who strayed from the registry and did something handmade or thoughtfully selected. There are no "registry only" rules. smile.gif

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Old 01-20-2014, 06:25 PM
 
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Unless you requested the registry list be sent, she is behaving rudely. Registry lists are on request, only. And in the US, showers are traditionally for the mother, to celebrate/encourage/supply her transition to motherhood. Showers are traditionally held for the first birth only and multiple showers, especially for a fourth baby is not in the best taste. Even if none of this was true, you are not obligated to buy anything of any type from the registry. 

 

Personally I almost always buy recently published books for later babies. Neutral and always loved.

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Old 01-20-2014, 08:44 PM
 
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I also think your gift sounds lovely, and I agree with what the others have written.  I only had a registry for people who thought I should have one.  If people feel like they have to give a gift, and want the security of buying something that they think I will use.  Most of the gifts I got were not on my registry, and those were actually the most useful gifts. 

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Old 01-20-2014, 09:16 PM
 
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Books sound like a wonderful gift for baby!  I think the only faux pas when it comes to the registry would be if there was a particular item that she registered for, say a baby bouncer, and instead of purchasing the one from the registry, you sent a different one.  Registries can be really helpful and really weird at the same time!  I think books always make a great gift.  And something personalized for a fourth baby in a household is always lovely :)

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Old 01-21-2014, 02:45 AM
 
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Definitely nothing saying you have to stick to the registry! I do agree with mariee about the registry though if you buy a registry item buy that item not another (ie don't buy a different type of pacifier or bottle than suggested on the list). I think your gift ideas sound great and I would have loved to have something that thoughtful and personal given to me when I had any of my babies. 


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Old 01-21-2014, 05:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

Unless you requested the registry list be sent, she is behaving rudely. Registry lists are on request, only. And in the US, showers are traditionally for the mother, to celebrate/encourage/supply her transition to motherhood. Showers are traditionally held for the first birth only and multiple showers, especially for a fourth baby is not in the best taste. Even if none of this was true, you are not obligated to buy anything of any type from the registry. 

Personally I almost always buy recently published books for later babies. Neutral and always loved.
I think that varies WIDELY by community. I've lived in four states, my experience is that showers are give for all babies (not just the first,) and registry information is sent out with the invitation by the shower giver (who is not the expectant mother.)
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Old 01-21-2014, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much all of you, this all makes a lot more sense now!

 

What I'd say re the fourth baby/ shower is that although they've lived in a lot of different countries, this will be their first birth in the US. Her husband's job is one which means a lot of regular moving but does also mean there tends to be a fairly ready made community of families and spouse support wherever they are and one that's used to welcoming newcomers (and saying a lot of goodbyes too!) so I wonder if perhaps her new friends are throwing her a baby shower as a way to cement their family as part of the community :)  ? She's never done one before really, they tend to throw a big party after the birth.  

 

Seeing as how we are 2000 miles away we won't be attending the baby shower. We haven't actually been invited-there hasn't been any "I would love to see you all at the baby shower" or anything, but I accept that that might be poor phrasing, and of course it would be just a formality as there is no way for us to get there. She is lovely and if her ettiquette is off, it will be lack of knowledge, not rudeness. I think the only thing is that we have a family connection, not a friendship one so much, so its really important to me to include the existing kids in this as they are also my relatives. If we do send gifts as part of a registry, do they end up being given at the shower ? And would kids tend to be at the shower? 


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Old 01-21-2014, 08:55 AM
 
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That is going to vary widely by the person having and/or giving the shower if not possibly even by area traditions. Where I am showers are often women only affairs and most mothers use this as a great "mom's day out" sort of thing going to another woman's shower and don't bring kids. That doesn't mean they can't attend though as I've been to showers with kids as well! I definitely agree with Polliwog also that traditions can vary by area. Showers are usually thrown by a third party who sends out the invite often with the registry included. I did have a shower for each of my kids (except third as I was currently out of state). I think tradition says it's for first baby but I see the shower as a celebration of the life of the baby so why not one for each child? When I had one for my son I included just a few items on the registry that I didn't have/would like to have from my first. People did also include gifts for my DD then and think that was great! If you send gifts for the other children and they don't attend the shower I see no problem with mom taking them home to the kids or maybe even saving them for a gift when baby arrives.


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Old 01-24-2014, 06:43 PM
 
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I think your gift sounds lovely.  Of course that opinion is coming from a mother who politely refused a baby shower and thinks they have turned into gift grabs.

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Old 01-24-2014, 10:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post

Or maybe in the US the deal is, you buy whats on the registry. That's fine, I just need to know that. Because in the UK you expect to get 17 handknit boleros from Great Auntie Maude and see it as good practice for your so-excited-to-add-something-to-the-attic face
This cracked me up! I'm STILL practicing that face, mostly at my inlaws for holidays.
What you have planned is fine, and very kind of you to think of Mom and siblings! Registries are just meant to be a way to avoid tons of people asking "what do you need for baby?". Definately not a shopping list but suggestions.

That said, I personally wish there wasn't so much emphasis placed on them. With dd1 we were kinda pushed into one..everyone insisted it must be done. So we wasted time wandering around the store thinking "never had a baby before, how the hell should we know if we need this crap?" Registered for random clothes that ended up donated because she was born too big for newborn sizes. With dd2 we knew we wouldn't need any of it so we put out that we wanted diaper service contributions; saved everyone some time. smile.gif
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Old 01-26-2014, 04:00 PM
 
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~~Unless you requested the registry list be sent, she is behaving rudely. Registry lists are on request, only. And in the US, showers are traditionally for the mother, to celebrate/encourage/supply her transition to motherhood. Showers are traditionally held for the first birth only and multiple showers, especially for a fourth baby is not in the best taste. Even if none of this was true, you are not obligated to buy anything of any type from the registry.

I agree 100%. Yet I see more often now people include the name and location of the registry in an invitation. Personally I think it is tacky. Registries are supposed to be given out discreetly, if someone asks, or the host may let you know if you ask. Also odd to have a shower for a second+ baby, unless it is an unusual circumstance, like now you have twins/house burnt down/ many years between babies.

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Old 01-26-2014, 06:04 PM
 
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Answering w/o reading for now... YES, the registry is just a guide. I didn't do one for my first because didn't want anything and wasn't having a shower. With my second I did because I wanted a few things and was having a shower. I think registries are totally tacky (for me) - and I'm American. But, it's the way we do things and if someone knows they are having a party where a lot of gifts will be given it just makes sense.  Def. not required that you even give a gift and CERTAINLY not from the registry. I'd wager a guess that most people who do registries feel a little awkward about it but know that some of their guests appreciate it and just go along with the norm. 


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Old 01-26-2014, 06:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post
 

I think the only thing is that we have a family connection, not a friendship one so much, so its really important to me to include the existing kids in this as they are also my relatives. If we do send gifts as part of a registry, do they end up being given at the shower ? And would kids tend to be at the shower? 

 

My friends and family did all sorts of things for us when we had our second. One of the things I appreciated most (and this came from some of the most unexpected people) was the people who chose to focus on my first DC. I absolutely LOVED that.  

 

I also agree with a PP how said that the only "don't" for registries would be to get something "like" the item on the registry without checking first. 


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Old 01-27-2014, 02:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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ICM said "I also agree with a PP how said that the only "don't" for registries would be to get something "like" the item on the registry without checking first." (sorry quoting not working!)

 

question there. If I were to make something that's on the registry list, is that a faux pas? So there are a lot of clothes, hats, etc. Should I avoid making, say a pair of reversible trousers and a hat (I'd make them more like 6-12 months, because that's the season this kid would probably wear warm stuff anyway). Its not a problem not to , its more just so I know. 

 

Thanks all, I really appreciate your insight into this. I cannot tell you how alien this is to me! The British way is to be quietly miserable in the name of politeness (so I can honestly see how your way is better!)


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Old 01-27-2014, 02:59 AM
 
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Making clothing would be fine. I think the PP meant very specific things where only one kind fit their preference. If the family registered for, say, the only carseat that would fit their small car but someone decided to wing it and choose another one it would be impolite.
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:48 AM
 
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ICM said "I also agree with a PP how said that the only "don't" for registries would be to get something "like" the item on the registry without checking first." (sorry quoting not working!)

 

question there. If I were to make something that's on the registry list, is that a faux pas? So there are a lot of clothes, hats, etc. Should I avoid making, say a pair of reversible trousers and a hat (I'd make them more like 6-12 months, because that's the season this kid would probably wear warm stuff anyway). Its not a problem not to , its more just so I know. 

 

Thanks all, I really appreciate your insight into this. I cannot tell you how alien this is to me! The British way is to be quietly miserable in the name of politeness (so I can honestly see how your way is better!)

 

Oh, no!  Just because some clothing items are on the registry doesn't mean that you can't make or buy something that you think the family will like. That's not what I meant. I meant like a carseat, some sort of appliance or the like.  Other things I can think if that may be best not to buy like items of are things like swaddles (the parents may have selected the exact ones they want), certainly anything personal for the mother like breast pads. Of course there is always the gesture of, "I saw you registered for x and I happened to LOVE x-like item so I got it for you to try".  I think that's fine too. 

 

Anyone who is putting this much thought into a gift is going to be just fine. :love 

 

And, yea, the American way does have its advantages. We are just a big gift-giving culture and I think registries are a response to mothers (and brides) receiving gifts. It is just so much more practical to give some guidance. Tacky as that may be.  :p


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