‘Tis better to gift than to receive

My sister always asks what she can get as a present for her niece and nephew, come birthday or Christmas time – and I always have to think about it for a minute. I want to tell her the standard “books” because I don’t think they can ever have too many of those. But sometimes I simply ask them.

Just like I do with my godchildren or their parents – because it makes sense to buy something that the person will actually use and not something that will gather dust. Or worse yet, make the person feel really embarrassed when you ask him what happened to the tie-dyed dress shirt you bought him last year.

Apparently though, some parents are thinking that the best way to avoid receiving a present that the child neither wants needs nor will play with, is to attach a gift registry note to a party invitation. I don’t know if that practice has arrived on our shores yet – you know how we really follow-fashion. But I hope that it doesn’t.

I’ve been invited to a few parties in my time. It was always expected that I would take a gift for the person celebrating because it was just good form. And if I didn’t have a gift, I just didn’t go. Today, I see some kids come to parties with their two long hands, who don’t even look for the birthday girl or boy, but proceed to partake in the festivities and the food.

Now I’m not saying that a parent should deprive her child of a chance to run around with wild abandon, and herself of some free baby-sitting. But maybe values change. I know that the purpose of a party is not to receive gifts, but rather to have an enjoyable time with friends. But which parent do you know who says it’s okay not to bring a gift?

Image credit: homelifeweekly.com
Image credit: homelifeweekly.com

The things we used to do, we do no more – apparently. And expectations are not the same. But if you think that giving a gift (however small), is a nice thing to do when your child is invited to a party, then maybe we should go ahead and include a list of items with the invitation when it’s our turn.

That way, they can’t say they didn’t know.


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