For #babyT’s second birthday we knew we wanted a big, fat birthday party. Planning began months in advance for all the small details. However, there was one scary monster lurking under the covers – birthday gifting. I was unprepared for the nightmares I got about all the gifts we would receive which we did not want.
My biggest fears were mass market toys – yes the ones with flashy lights, migraine-inducing music & suspect paint quality. I wish people knew that we love open-ended, eco-friendly & safe, wooden toys. To be honest, we already owned most of the age-appropriate toys, so doubling up of toys was also a concern. And then don’t even get me started on clothes – I have clothes which babyT will get to wear to his 10th birthday already. Get the drift? I can’t wait for when my kids are a whole lot older and I could just buy league accounts for them (I’m assuming that they’ll be big gamers in the future though!)
Basically, we dreaded the birthday gifting which was going to hit us in the face. I know what you’re thinking! That we could probably just have said “No presents please” or if we wanted cheesy “Presents in blessings only.” No, wait! That’s more wedding card appropriate.
But who has not felt the joy of opening up a gift?
Wrapped in all the shimmery, colourful wrapping paper. Tied together with fluffy ribbons and string. Holding a pristine and perfectly packed gift, nay, a box of wonder and mystery. Unraveling or even tearing away at all the wrapping and then marvelling at the glory of the present inside. Oh, what I would give to be on the receiving end of such wonders.
It was exactly this that we did not want to deny to our lil baby who was turning 2. Birthday gifting and receiving is pure joy and we wanted him to have it. The pictures here where he is surrounded by gifts and the joy of opening one and playing with it say it all.
So what is the solution?
It is quite simple really! Just ask for what you want.
But reality, as I experienced, was not so simple at all. Why?
We were apprehensive about asking for what we wanted from people other than our very close family & friends.
People got offended if we told them we don’t do plastic, battery operated toys.
We did not know how to ask people what their budget was without making them feel awkward.
We were not sure that people would understand and get us the same model/ colour/ brand that we wanted for a particular item.
There seemed to be no formal way of communicating our “list”
Now only if there was a method which would encompass & take care of all these issues. Birthday gifting why are you so complicated? I mean the child is only turning 2.
But there is a solution…
It is called a Gift Registry.
Gift registries have been fairly common in the West. They are most usually used for weddings and big events like baby showers, milestone birthdays like sweet 16s.
Basically, it involves the focal persons of the aforementioned events making a list of items that they would like to receive as a gift. Usually, it would have items available at a particular (brick and mortar) store. The store would then facilitate sending this list to the invitees and then keep a tally on who bought what and what items were ticked off or pending from the list.
This happened even more beautifully with the e-retail revolution. Businesses which offered online gift registries were born. Big marketplace e-tailers had the facility too. The transition must have been almost seamless, methinks.
Online gift registries are awesome because:
The busy bride or mom-to-be or birthday girl or mom of birthday child can make her shopping list from the comfort and convenience of her home or bed or spa.
Editing an online list – adding, removing, changing your mind, comparing features, reading reviews and then deciding, is so much easier.
It is easy to share an online list with the invite list. Heck, most invites these days are E. So just add a wish-list along with.
People know exactly what you want. It is easy for them to shop – all it takes is a click of a button.
Some people may still prefer shopping at a traditional store – all they need to do is flash the list to the sales support team who would pack up the right item for them.
Online lists at major marketplace stores give the choice of adding items of a wide variety and budgets. This ensures people can choose their gifts at the rates that suit their pockets.
How dreamy right? Makes me want to get married or have a baby again. Ok, maybe not!
Read my post on 10 things I miss about being pregnant too.
And also a small problem, we live in India. India is not the West, where gift registries are commonplace, and in fact, guests there would get offended if you don’t have a registry setup.
How I wished that a service like this existed here. Half cursed our culture that such concepts would be seen as “Oh my God, how rude” rather than “Oh wow, that’s splendid.” I had a fleeting thought of pulling this off on my own – make a list, send it to people. But I did not see this list going beyond 5 to 7 people and they too were the close family circle. I could not even think of sending something so revolutionary to the 50 other households we sent the invites to. I did not want to be the buri ladki.
That’s when Scift came my way
Scift is an online site which is a one-stop shop for baby gifts and registries. Yes, registries. I had found exactly what I was looking for.
On the Scift website, you will find curated products from various brands for all things baby and some for mommy too. The focus is purely gifting so it is a great idea to shop from Scift. All the products are exquisite and gift-worthy. They also suit various budgets – from baby photo shoot experiences worth Rs. 30, 000 to formative assessment tools for teachers grading systems, they have it all!
But most of all I think what is unique about Scift is their facility to make a gift registry. I made one for babyT’s 2nd birthday and it was the best thing I did.
Scift curates products from some of the best toy and gifting brands. You can simply view, add to cart and then add the selected products to your gift registry.
I was delighted to know that a brand like Brainsmith which makes wooden and educational toys for kids was a listed vendor on Scift. I added these two products to our wish list.
As you can see, both have been a great hit with T. He has learnt to clean up messes promptly. Such a happy and relaxed mommy I am.
I also added these memory books. Now when babyT was born I got a first-year memory book like most people do. But I never found the time or drive to fill it up. 🙁 But memories are not just relegated to the first year. They happen every day and I wanted to make some customised, keepsakes for us. I have also heard great things about MeMeMe Press, they create personalised children’s books and they’re adorable!
These books by Pigtales are so thoughtful. We are just about learning ABC and it’ll be fun to fill this up with our own A for … and B for…
Read my post on Keepsakes too.
Scift also allows you to add items from other popular shopping marketplaces like Amazon or Flipkart.
So when there were a few Hape and Melissa & Doug toys which I was hoping for T to have, I added them to my gift registry on Scift via Amazon.
Once my wish list was done, I simply shared this on my social media, with my friends and family. They were then able to view and buy the products that they liked. The registry got updated automatically with items that were bought. Thus new viewers of this list could see that an item was already purchased. Freedom from multiple sets of the same toys.
I loved my experience of managing a birthday party without having to worry about the kind of gifts we will receive. It helped me introduce educational toys for babyT at the right age and stage. Saved me the space of storing unwanted toys and worry about disposing of them.
But more than that I think it also introduced my friends and family to the concept of gift registries. It showed them how convenient and easy it was to shop for the right gifts for someone. Egged on by experience my mommy friends, Shubhreet and Mahak, also have used gift registries to plan their kid’s birthday gifting.
This is what I got for Shubhreet’s daughter’s birthday – a Trunki suitcase for kids. I got this from Scift too. So perfect for a travelling family.
I am sold on the concept of gift registries and how it made birthday gifting easy for me. What do you think of this concept and would you consider giving it a shot?