While it’s hard to count how many exist, registries for not just weddings and showers but birthdays and other events such as housewarmings, holidays and even divorces seem increasingly common, perhaps because of the expansion in digital registry services like wish lists, smartphone scanners and universal gift aggregators.
Registries might decrease stress and save time for both giver and recipient, but they are also etiquette minefields.
Part of my wants to love this idea. It’s economical. It’s logical. It’s sensible. Best of all, it’s almost certain to offend traditionalist, who seem to garner a sense of self-worth through their understanding and practicing of etiquette as well as the criticizing and judging of others.
Miss Manners, who continues to find readers despite her condescending, highly predictable, completely conformist column, expressed distaste for expanding gift registries last holiday season.
I love it.
I so enjoy offending these narrow-minded, sheep-like people who are incapable of cultural subversion or free thought.
But alas, I don’t think I can support the expansion of gift registries. As logical and sensible as they are, I fear that they perpetuate the fetishization of gift giving in our culture.
While I am not opposed to the giving or receiving of gifts, the amount of time and energy spent in the process of choosing and giving the gift, as well as the subsequent process of returning gifts that weren’t just right, and the inevitable and horrific gossiping about family and friends who failed to give a gift or failed to meet some predetermined, arbitrary monetary threshold often makes the act of gift giving distasteful and awful.
The expansion of gift registries, while uncouth to many, would only serve to support this system of misplaced priorities, greed, intolerance, and gossip-mongering.
Also, for the record, anyone who creates a gift registry in celebration of their divorce has to be one of the most vile people on the planet and worthy of being alone for the rest of their lives.