Natalie Romero: Putting it Out There


Is this the Crazy New Norm of Gift Giving?

How one mum's list of acceptable birthday gifts is rubbing some the wrong way


By now we’ve all read the email from one mom giving a detailed list of what she considers acceptable gifts for her child’s first birthday.

In all honesty, when I first read the email I thought to myself "this can’t be real." No one would actually send something like this. Then I started to think of all the celebrations I’ve been to in the past couple of years and how many invitations I receive that specifically state “monetary gifts only please” or ask for gift cards to specific stores and I realize that this isn’t in fact unrealistic. It just now extends to a child’s birthday party!

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When you attend a celebration of any sort, be it a birthday, a shower, a wedding or even a house warming, it’s customary to bring a gift. Most people don’t walk into these types of celebrations without bringing a gift but we should all understand that gift giving is not mandatory. Right? We do all understand that don’t we? When did it become an acceptable practice to dictate what someone else gives you as a present

I understand the concept of registering for showers; some people like to choose from a list of items they know you are going to use. I will even concede to asking for donations to a charity of choice in lieu of a gift or specifically stating no presents please. Sometimes all you want to do is celebrate with those close to you and you don’t want guests to feel obligated to bring anything. What I don’t understand is being so rigid in your expectation of what your guests are going to bring as a gift and to go as far as tell them that if it’s not on the list it will be returned! It's a gift, not an entry fee!

Every Christmas growing up, my great grandmother used to send me a box of cherry filled chocolates. They were terrible. Yet, I began to understand that she didn’t have to send me anything at all and I appreciated that she thought of me, picked something out and put it in the mail.

Shouldn’t we be teaching our kids how to be gracious and appreciative or should we just raise them to think that they will always get exactly what they want each and every time? Are we going to lose the excitement of going out, looking for that special gift for someone we love, wrapping it up and waiting to see their face when they open it? Often gifts aren’t even opened at parties anymore. It seems to have come down to just an exchange of money.

Maybe I’m the one who is being unrealistic. Maybe I don’t understand this new customary practice of gift giving. Perhaps, but I will happily accept a box of chocolate covered cherries if that is what you choose to bring me.