Picking out gifts for ourselvesBy Sarah Kehrberg
Myra Gillis had 37 doilies when she was married, and I’m determined I shall have as many as she had. — Diana Barry in Anne of Avonlea
I am a poor gift giver. I don’t mind spending money, but I dislike shopping and avoid spending time searching for an appropriate symbol of my love, appreciation or obligation (whichever applies).
As a gift recipient I like to get what I like.
I am hardly unique on either count. Hence, the rise of the registry.
We all know how the gift registry works. There are certain events where gifts are expected: weddings, baby showers, graduation. In anticipation, the “to-bes” go to stores and make a list of the items they want. This register is made public and updated as items are purchased.
I registered when I got married and have used others’. The benefits are obvious. It is more convenient for the giver, and there is absolutely no disappointment for the receiver.
“Showering” those we love with gifts is not simply an obligatory tradition. We recognize that a young couple cannot afford to get all the material things necessary for making a home. We realize that preparing for a baby is expensive. There is a need, and many credit cards make light work.
Buying each other stuff is part of what makes us a faithful community. Sometimes I wonder what the act of dictating our own gifts does to our communities and ourselves.
Now that we control the gift list, we shield ourselves from the 12 toasters and the pig-shaped cookie jar. However, we create a new vulnerability: our inexperienced, acquisitive selves.
Young lovers zipping around the store with the little beep-beep gizmo are like children in a candy shop. They are at the mercy of both their whims (Hello Kitty rice cooker) and the “must haves” (various wine stemware).
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