Thursday, May 20

Life Skills for Teens: Registries & Gift-Giving

High school graduation is the start of a decade of experiences!  Whether you're headed to college or entering a career, the next ten years will involve many major life events for both you and your friends...

For these rites of passage, it's typical to celebrate with a gift of some sort.  Up to this point, your parents have probably taken care of birthday gifts, holiday presents, and anything else that was required, but part of growing up means navigating on your own.  Fortunately, for weddings and births, most people use registries.

A registry is a list, either online or in a physical store, of things that are needed for the new home or the new baby.  Oftentimes, the wedding invitation or the baby shower invite will indicate where you can access the registry.  Online registries can be perfect -- after all, you can do everything on your phone without leaving your chair.  You can do it last-minute or a 2AM when you wake up remembering that tidbit on your to-do list.

When shopping through the registry, you'll want to:
  • Read over either the printed-out registry or the online version to see what the couple has requested.
  • Determine your budget.  For example, you may want to spend no more than $50 on a gift.  Look for items on the list that match your budget. 
  • Check the registry to make sure that no one else has already purchase the item.  Most should clearly indicate this.
  • If you're shopping online, make sure you are on the registry page, then click on the item you'd like to buy, and place it in the cart.  Shopping directly from the page will update the registry to show that the item has been you!
    • Be sure to have the item shipped directly to the recipient, unless you have been instructed otherwise.
  • If you're shopping in-store, print out the registry number and take it to the cashier when you check out.  This way it will update.  You may need assistance from a store employee, as some can be confusing.
    • Make sure that you have a gift receipt.
    • Wrap it nicely, and take it with you to the party!
But what happens if the couple or mom-to-be isn't registered?  
Help!  What should you get?  Here are some fail-safe ideas for each scenario.

Bridal Shower

  • InstaPot
    • One of the trendiest gifts today is the InstaPot.  This is the kitchen gadget that everyone wants, and the bride will probably be ecstatic to get one!
  • Cutting Board Set
    • Let them cozy up to togetherness in the kitchen with this cutting board set.  They'll be able to spend time together each evening making dinner...
  • Egg Timer Set
    • For the gift-giver who is on a tight budget, these adorable egg timers will bring a smile to your recipient and brighten up their mornings!
  • Food Storage Set
    • Household organization is important, but it's not something every couple thinks about.  This stylish food storage set will bring both class and order to their new kitchen.
  • Emergency Radio
    • Not the most glamorous of gifts, but one that every household should have.  The groom will be excited to receive this one....and when the power goes out, they'll both be thankful!

Baby Shower

  • Thermometer
    • A must-have for every new parent's medical kit, the digital thermometer is so much faster and easier to use than their predecessors!
  • Baby Walker & Bouncer
    • This is one of those gifts that won't be used for a little while, but the new parents will be happy to have it on-hand when the day arrives that their little one starts becoming mobile...and you never know just quite when that will be.
  • High Chair
    • Everyone has their own idea of what the high chair should look like -- some prefer to focus on use, while others want a style that will match their kitchen.  Just make sure you choose one that is safe and washable.
  • Diapers
    • For the budget-conscious gift-giver, you can spend as little or as much as you want purchasing pack, or ten!  While it may not seem like the most exciting gift, when she runs out of diapers early one morning, she will reach for your gift and think of you fondly...

When all else fails, a gift card is a pinch-hit gift.  Traditionally, this has been a gift for the last resort, as it is a very impersonal gift.  However, younger people seem to appreciate gift cards more.  Call me old-fashioned...I prefer to put some effort into choosing just the right gift for the recipient!

The Case for the College Shower

Think about what you got for high school graduation?  Money, probably.  That's good and nice, but did you save it?  Or did you blow through it the summer after senior year?  You'd be surprised to know just how many people are in that second category!

Perhaps it's time to celebrate this rite of passage with a registry of its own -- the college prep registry.  Here you would include things like dorm decor, a mini-fridge, microwave, new sheets and towels, and all of the things you'll be taking with you as you venture out into the world!

What's the first thing you would put on a College Registry?

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