Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Remove the awkwardness out of asking for gifts with registries

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!)

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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.

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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.

The verdict

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?

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  1. Priya

    Its awesome to see more organised ways of getting gifts are already here. Thanks for writing about this. Now I wish I could get married again 😛

  2. Deepika

    I love gift registries. Having just moved to the US an year ago, we were so alien to the concept though we always knew about it. But it was a great hit with our son’s 1st Birthday. I really wish this takes off in India.

  3. Sapna Krishnan

    This is absolutely brilliant. Saves us on a lot of things – time and money included. Should try it out for my kid’s next birthday. 🙂

  4. Stefanie

    I love gift registries. I use them for all events requiring gifts, and I appreciate when other people use them. It makes the buying process so much easier

  5. Marcie

    I’m glad you found something that worked for your family. We always say no gifts, but people always bring them. And often they are the gifts my kids cherish the most because they didn’t know they existed!

  6. Clair

    What a fantastic post!! We have had many parties where my kids have gotten the same gift at the party or even gotten something they already. Gift registry would solve all of that for sure ?

  7. Afra

    I LOVE this idea. In fact many years ago I sent this to a friend of mine so that she would have the ease of not telling people what NOT to buy. I personally got offended when someone told me “don’t buy this” because I felt under pressure to buy a gift but I think there’s still a good side to birthday gift registries too!

  8. Sarah

    I’ve never thought of gift registries for birthdays but what a great idea. I usually just live under the assumption that clothes is great and I always try to stress that we don’t need gifts. But there are times where people buy my kids gifts that are just outlandish.

  9. Khushboo

    So glad that gift registries have finally made it to India. I remember when I was pregnant and then later when we were hosting the naming ceremony party, I had the same fears as yours about the mass market toys and gifts that would make way into our homes. And they did! Even after we had “No gifts please” printed twice on our invitation cards

    I am going to explore this site and start creating my list for Miss C’s 2nd birthday right away. Better have an early start 🙂

  10. Kinshoo

    Oh wow. Is this for real? Would really save both host and guests a lot of hassle and wastage of money too. Waiting to try it out

  11. Akshaya

    We went through the exact same dilemma with G’s birthday recently, right down to the pros and cons you listed of a registry. I saw a lot about Scift but didn’t feel comfortable experimenting this time around. After looking at your awesome gift suggestions though, I’m experiencing major regret! Some fantastic ideas there for gifting. I’ll have to go take a look.

  12. priyadarshani Panda

    nothing better than a wish list for friends and family on what gift we are expecting or we love…i dread those toys too noisy and of no use and N is the same he doesn’t play with those noisy toys …this looks like a perfect solution

  13. anupriya

    Wow I am already in love with this concept. It would be great if we could have a similar concept everywhere in our country too. I am sure everyone will love it. And then the passing the gift trend will also subside

  14. mavneen

    Gift registries really need a shout out! They are practical and so much better than having piles of gifts lying to toss around. I’ve seen their website and it’s pretty fascinating.

  15. Hema

    brilliant idea. Will try this out for my kid’s birthday.Thanks for sharing the post.

  16. anjana

    my son’s birthday is around the corner, looking forward to try this soon

  17. Deepa

    We were in the US for few years and as you said, it is very convenient there and the idea of gift registry made it really easy. But as you said, in India there is still time for people to understand this concept but hope to see it more in the future.

  18. Rashmi

    Thats so great to know that gift registeries are finally here.. My son’s bday is approaching.. what a timely read..

    • mommyingbabyt

      Do use this. you’ll love it. we didnt receive a single gift we didn’t want

  19. Mahak @babyandbeyondin

    I used a gift registry for my son’s 2nd birthday. It’s so practical and convenient. I’m really happy to see this concept getting popular in India and sites like Scift making the whole process quick and easy.

  20. Charu Sareen Gujjal

    It’s indeed an innovative concept and I could relate to your concerns on how to introduce this to family and friends around, given that it sounds rude stating what you want as a gift. But most of the time we end up getting repetitive gifts or the ones that we don’t use! This is such a convenient and practical solution to the same.

  21. Amitoj Kaur

    This is just awesome.. I had never heard about this earlier.. We have so many unwanted gifts still lying unused in our store.. I think this would be a rescue.. Thank so much for sharing.. Will give it a try next time..

  22. Surbhi

    I have always found gift registry as a great idea. The person who gifts anything from the list ca be assured of their gift not being passed on (you know what I mean?). And a gift that receiver will cherish. Thanks for sharing about scift. I will check them out as my kids’ birthdays are approaching.

  23. Amrita

    Gift registries are perfect .It avoides wasteful expenses too.But my hubby doesnt let me sign up for some weird reason

  24. Rohini James

    Gift registries are slowly catching on in India but among certain crowd. I intend to try these out as a trial for smaller parties which have the necessity of gifting.

  25. Kavita Singh

    This is a new concept for me and I totally loved it. I never knew such a thing existed, it would make our life so much easier by not receiving unnecessary gifts that are eventually regifted.

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